Halfway There // College Reflection
I'm halfway there. I'm about to enter the final two years of college and THAT is scary.
Scary because I feel like I just got here. Scary that two years have already gone by. Scary because I think I've finally found my footing. Scary because I'm supposed to know what I'm doing and I have absolutely no idea.
Scary because life is happening, times are changing and all I want is a moment to freeze it all and take it in because it's just amazing.
I was feeling a bit of nostalgia today as I watched parents move in their kids and my younger sister had her first day at UCLA. This post is for her and what I wish someone would have told me before I started college.
STUDY: This seems super obvious, but when you're thrown 1,000 different things like figuring out what you're eating for lunch, laundry, floor meetings, hanging out with friends, attending a club, it gets put on the back burner. At the end of the day you are here for an education and this should be your top priority (along with your health).
Be a friend: Talk to people you'd never talk to, make new friends from around the world, do it all! Being personable will put the other person at ease and you'll find a genuine connection much faster. I know I've made some lifelong friends in these short two years through friends of friends, class, clubs, events, and walking on campus.
Get help: Admitting you need help is not something I do easily nor do a lot of people. It's college, it's supposed to be difficult, but when you find yourself stressing and lost, seek someone who know what they're doing. Get a tutor, go to office hours. Even when you're not feeling well or need to talk to a counselor, GO! You'll be happy you went right away in the long run.
Foster your interests: No one is going to judge you if you like to ______, honestly there is probably a club for that already. This isn't high school anymore where people call you weird for liking a certain thing. If you are truly passionate about it, dive straight in.
Close the books and get out: Do not be that person on Friday nights studying. Like I said, school is important, but draw the line somewhere. Get out, go socialize, explore town, DO SOMETHING. You'll make way more memories to tell your kids.
Back up your computer: You'll be sorry when you don't.
Say yes: There are SO MANY opportunities in college. Take as many as you can (but remember to be balanced)! If it sounds remotely interesting, say YES and give it a go. Who knows, you might find a new hobby or a new direction in your career path.
and say no: When it just doesn't seem right, it probably isn't.
Get the free stuff: You'll have a stash of t-shirts and candy to last you a life time. Maybe skip the candy, but check out what's being given out. Also, lots of places have student discounts, ask when you're paying. This can be dangerous at clothing stores (*cough* Madewell and J.Crew).
No one really knows what they're doing: On the outside, it may appear like someone has their life together, but don't assume. In the American education system, we're constantly compared to one another which often has negative effects. So and so got an internship or so and so has a 4.0 GPA and is in the top research lab. Good for them. There will be people who think they have their life planned out, but when life throws them a curve ball they won't know what to do. Focus on yourself, what you want to achieve, and measure your progress.
Call home: Don't text, email, message, post or anything....pick up the phone, dial the phone number and talk to your loved ones. Sometimes you just get caught up in college and that's okay, just be sure to remind the people who got you there how much you love and appreciate them. They want to hear about the exciting stuff you're doing and to make sure you're okay. Try to do it at least once week. Pretty sure mom and dad aren't going to say "no" if you try to call more than that.
Have FUN: You're never going to have an opportunity like this ever again.
If you would have told me everything that's happened in the past two years to my eager freshman self, I would have laughed in your face. I came to college with both realistic and unrealistic expectations; excelling in all of my classes (like I had done in high school), balancing a job and/or internship, having a boyfriend, networking with doctors, exploring Seattle, studying, eating well, working out consistently, etc. etc.
There are VERY few people who can do that, even as an adult. It is humorous to attempt to do all of that but admirable to dream it.
It's been nothing like I expected but I wouldn't trade a single moment from the past two years. And I've had this discussion with multiple friends and the same things comes up, there are things we regret, but we wouldn't be where we are without those experiences. Sure I wish I would have been more studious and made myself a study schedule because I would have been able to achieve stronger grades. But I'm learning. And in my opinion, you go to college to get an education but to also learn about yourself. You're learning how to study, to live with random strangers, to deal with set backs, to cope with independence, ultimately to just live life.
It's a weird time. I think of it as the limbo between dependence and reality, before you're shoved into the real world and you hopefully won't have that deer in the head lights look.
This is a precious time and it is beautiful, so cherish it.