Some things I learned in college.
First of all, shout out to Rachel Putman for snapping this sweet picture of me laughing with the Chancellor. What a charmer.
Going into college, you have a lot of expectations. I did at least. I expected it to be pretty hard, I expected to graduate four years later with the first degree I picked and I expected to have the exact same little group of people waiting for me when I finished as when I started.
Literally none of this is true.
College wasn't pretty hard, it was freaking hard, we all know what happened about my degree (spoiler for those who haven't read, I changed it 7 times), and very few of the people that I started my freshman year with were still around by the time I walked across the stage to get my diploma.
And all of that is okay.
Now that I've been graduated for almost a month (wow) I've been reflecting a little over the last four and a half years, and I am happy to report that I've learned a lot. Here are some things I figured out through an overly drawn out process of getting hurt and making a lot of mistakes. Maybe this will help you skip a few mistakes of your own.
1. You don't have time for people who tell you what you can't do. I spent a lot of time being told, "You couldn't do that." and "I could do that better than you." and even, "You aren't really good at anything." Ridiculous, right? Just seeing what I have accomplished in the last three years makes me want to go back in time and punch some people in the nose- including myself because I accepted these statements. Crazy what you'll believe.
After a few heartbroken nights and a period of identity crisis, I finally pulled myself together and removed the negativity and the people pouring curses on me + my life. I started surrounding myself with people who poured encouragement into my life, and I allowed transparency of my desires and allowed myself to try the things I had been told I wouldn't be good at. Things as simple as making new friends, writing, and wearing lipstick- (YEAH) turned into challenges that I allowed to boost my confidence and prove my ability to succeed. It turned out that I was really good at making new friends, that my poetry was good enough to be published, and that I look damn good in even the darkest lipstick. When you start cutting the people out who are placing any self doubt or negativity into your life, you will be amazed at how your confidence will be boosted and you'll start getting things done.
2. In 2 weeks, it probably won't matter. Or "it" at least won't be as big of a deal. Or you'll be hurting a little less. Or you'll have made it two more weeks-- and sometimes that is a miracle in itself. I remember my junior year I was sitting in Sweet Bay with my dear friend Tulsa. It was in the full swing of midterms, quarter life crises were a flowing, and it felt like she and I were taking turns every day having meltdowns into the coffees we couldn't afford. This day in particular it was my turn to be crying in public. I remember Tulsa looked at me and said, "In two weeks this won't matter. You'll be done with it, and you'll never have to think about it again. I promise." And she was completely right. It became our mantra, "In two weeks this will be over." The paper will have been turned in, the sleep will have been gotten (maybe), but most importantly, you will have survived it.
3. Your first love should be yourself. It's easy to blow off passion, interests, or feelings, especially if you're blowing them off to give more of yourself to another person. If you find yourself replacing parts of your identity with another person, or basing your identity off of what someone else thinks, wants, or asks of you then you need to start setting some boundaries. Sometimes people sacrifice their own needs out of a desire to compensate for a lack of fulfillment in a relationship. I don't care if it's with a friend, parent or a significant other, boundaries are important to any relationship. If you get excited about something, follow it. If something hurts you, don't ignore it. Don't live life to try and make things work comfortably for someone else. Don't allow boxes to be built around you or you passions. Most importantly: Other people's approval doesn't matter. Personal success can only be achieved by you. No one else's permission is needed for you to be happy or for you to follow God's will for your life. Keep your expectations high, and don't be afraid to keep negative people at an arms distance.
What are some of the most important lessons you've learned over the last three years of your life?