5 Things College Has Taught Me

SunKids / (Shutterstock.com)
SunKids / (Shutterstock.com)

1. Everything is fleeting.

This time in life is filled with highs and lows, ups and downs. There are moments when we want to roll down the windows of the car and sing at the top of our lungs until our voices go scratchy. There are also moments when we want to crawl into our big, comfy beds and stay there until we have seen every episode of everything available on Netflix.

If I have learned one thing throughout these past four years, it is this: Everything is temporary. The frustration of receiving a bad grade, the argument between you and your roommate, the happiness that accompanies running around campus like fools at 3AM with your best friend…these moments come and go. And the more we realize this, the more we are able to fully live in the present. As cliché as that sounds, it is beyond liberating. We can sing joyously at the moments where our heart could burst and we can cry heavily at the times where we just want to hide, fully knowing that in the next year, or even in the next hour, this moment and feeling will probably be gone.

2. Originality is not as cool as it seems.

There is an obsession, especially on college campuses, with trying to be the person everyone envies and looks up to because they are “original.” There is a lot of value in being your own person and letting people’s opinions of you drift on by; however, this need for originality trumps our own need for humanity. It makes us seek ways to be original rather than rejoicing over who we really are. We need to stop searching for ways to up our “cool” factor and instead embrace our own faults and quirks—the things that make us human. We can find relief in not having to take up new hobbies that are cool at the moment or wearing clothes that are trendy, but instead doing what we love simply because it is what makes us happy. We should celebrate being original in the sense that we are celebrating the parts of our self that are woven into our DNA. Originality is great, but you shouldn’t have to force it; it should come naturally from within.

3. It’s OK for your heart to be in multiple places or with multiple people.

College, for some people, can be defined as a combination of a multitude of different experiences with different groups of people. For some, this is a great joy of life, but it can also be somewhat of a burden. It’s hard to be present if pieces of your heart are in other places—whether that be another town, state, or even country. This simple fact of my own life used to weigh me down heavily, and some days it still does. However, it has taken me a while to see this as a great fortune. As cliché as it sounds, love isn’t confined to the border of a house or the boundaries of a state. And being able to feel the lengths that our love spans is a great privilege.

4. Being a mess isn’t always cute.

We are not supposed to have it all figured out. Heck, some days I can’t even decide what to eat for lunch, let alone what I am going to do with the rest of my life. Yet this year I have discovered that there is a difference between not having it all figured out and being a “mess.” I used to be the latter—never owned a planner, never texted anyone back, constantly late, forgot about homework…the list went on and on. I chalked it up to being spontaneous and not caring about routine and schedule. However, I am stating to realize that I labeled myself as a “mess” and thought that it was an endearing quality, and I think society does the same. Girls who are carefree, adventurous, and spontaneous—those who go against the status quo and don’t fit into any routine—are idolized. There is such danger in that because then it makes it OK to not be considered a reliable and responsible person. It’s beyond OK to not have everything (or anything) figured out at this point of life, but society needs to stop telling girls that it is OK to be the one who runs around with her head chopped off.

5. These are the good years, but there is so much more goodness to come.

Before the first day of my freshman year of school, I didn’t know what to expect in college. But I did know that the next four years were supposed to be the “best years of my life.” And although there have been days in the past four years where I genuinely thought I couldn’t be any happier, I am fully confident that life is filled with so much more. If we put these four years into a box and label it “OUR BEST DAYS,” we set ourselves up for disappointment. We are hardwired for hope; our bodies crave it. So why do we extinguish some of that hope by saying these are the prime moments of our lives? The best is yet to come. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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