Some of the greatest life lessons I’ve learned during my time in college
This coming December, hundreds of UW-Milwaukee students will put on their caps and gowns and graduate from college. After what has seemed like a decade of school, this time I’ll be right up there with them. As I get closer to the end of the semester, I can’t help but feel a little bit of nostalgia. College has been a crazy ride, and while I won’t miss the studying and the parking tickets, it will be strange to say goodbye.
They say college is the supposed to be the great “coming of age,” where you make the friends you’ll have for life, meet the person you are going to marry and have experiences that you’ll tell your kids about for years to come.
While those things may or may not actually happen, college will undoubtedly be one of the greatest learning experiences of your life. For me, these last years have been a whirlwind of triumphs and failures, and I have learned just as much from life as I have in the classroom. So, you might ask, what are some of these life lessons I have learned? Here are some of the big ones:
Plans Change: There is a quote that goes, “If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans.” This is great, because I am the queen of plans. I have a Plan A, B and C for everything. I cannot function unless I’m working on some kind of plan. It’s bad, and, as I’m sure you can imagine, God laughs at me a lot.
I have had so many curveballs thrown at me, and my plans have gotten completely derailed so many times that I just had to learn to roll with it. The key is, you have to learn to adapt and just let things happen. It sucks when things don’t go the way you wanted them to, but things have a tendency to work themselves out no matter what. Don’t stop planning and dreaming. Just be aware that, if things fall apart, it’s probably because something better is going to happen instead.
Choose your Friends Wisely: Throughout college, you will make tons of new friends. Some people will be keepers, while others will come and go. The ones I keep around are people who are dependable and who I feel like I can be myself with. We’ve all had those friends who don’t treat you as well as you treat them. I have learned that people like that are a complete waste of time.
This goes for members of the opposite sex, too. If you like someone and they make it difficult for you, or they play games with you, just drop it. It’s not worth it. Your college years are the time when you need to figure yourself out and have fun. There’s a reason the saying “go to college to get your M.R.S. degree” is a stupid joke from the ’50s, because college is not the time to worry about finding “the one.” These are the years when you go on dates, meet new people and just get out there and have a blast! You will never regret having a good time and doing your own thing while you’re in college, but you might regret it if you don’t.
Work Hard, Play Hard: We all know how to play hard. I’m sure that’s not a lesson I need to teach anyone, but the “work hard” part is important. The truth is, the hardest-fought battle is the one worth winning. Always look for new ways to challenge yourself and surround yourself with people who will help to push you further.
You don’t even know how much potential you have. The sky is always the limit. If you put in the effort, you will get something in return. You never know when and where your work will pay off, but, when it does, it will be the greatest reward.