I’m a senior!
I never realized how quickly time went by until I looked back on all my high school pictures and memories, realizing that they were 3, 4, 5 years ago. High school seems as if it were just yesterday. And now college is almost over. Wow.
Few things have changed me as much as my moving to Florida for college, leaving everything and everyone behind, and settling into an entirely different lifestyle. It has been an amazing experience, and, honestly, I’m a little sad that it’s about to be over. But not as sad as I am excited for what will come next. ;)
Since these past three years have been such a change for me, I wanted to share a few things that I’ve learned during college.
1. Everything can be a learning experience.
Just learning your roommates’ weird habits can prepare you for marriage, where your partner might not do everything the way you’re used to. Paying your school bill will teach you to be responsible with money once you’re on your own. Chances are you’ll have a few different kind of jobs, the kind you wouldn’t want to do long-term, but the kind that can teach you many lessons about character and broaden your capabilities. Who knows? Babysitting a bunch of snotty-nose kids will probably come in handy when you have children of your own. Working in food service or housekeeping will teach you about the importance of cleanliness. Even just watching the people you’re surrounded by can teach you a lot about human nature and make you a more well-rounded individual.
2. College is barely about the classes you take.
College, like I said before, is a learning experience. There’s so much you’ll learn simply from being around people. You’ll make great friends, meet important contacts for your future, and hopefully discover what you really want to do with your life. The experiences alone can make all the time and money worth it. Sure, you want to get the most out of the classes you pay for, but college is so much more than academics.
3. Sometimes it’s okay to waste some time (but only sometimes...)
College is one of those few times in life when it’s okay to stay up until 5 am, go to Taco Bell in the middle of the night, and play pool all day in the activities’ center. Sometimes you just need to put down those school books and do something memorable with your friends. After all, when you get a full-time job and have a family to provide for, you won’t be able to do a lot of things as in your free college years. But you also need to keep in mind that you’re there to get an education, so playing video games all night every night is not the best idea either. There is definitely a balance.
4. There are so many people out there.
I don’t make close friendships easily. In high school, I had built a good friend group, and I expected them to always be there for me. I didn’t want any other friends. The ones I had were enough. Going to college gave me no choice. I was forced to meet new people, and through that, I slowly realized how many really cool people there were out of my comfort zone. I still have some of those close high school friends, but I have created relationships with people I never thought I had anything in common with. Opening myself to different types of people made me a more balanced and interesting individual.
5. Paying bills is scary, but kind of invigorating too.
Everyone hates being an adult because of bills and other grownup things. But there’s nothing better than the feeling after you’ve paid all your bills and still have some leftover money to spend on food and going out with friends.
6. Being a poor college student isn’t the worst thing in the world.
It’s kind of fun, hunting for Groupon deals, waiting until there’s a sale to buy something, sharing schoolbooks, scrounging through your wallets to pull up enough cash to pay for a shake… These are memories you can share with your friends, times you’ll look back to when you’re older with a good job, wishing life were still that simple.
7. So many “coincidences” are God’s way of working things out.
You might think that it’s just luck that you were put in a certain dorm room or have to sit with the same person in all of your classes. Maybe being put in that one professor’s class was just a convenience in schedules, but it could be a door that opens up so many other opportunities.
For example, I got my job of school photographer, because I met this one girl when I visited the college during my senior year of high school, and she started following me on Instagram. It so happened that she was the school photographer, and she liked my pictures so much, she requested me to be her replacement when she graduated and started training me as soon as I came to school. That might have seemed like a coincidence, but I believe it was a blessing from God, his providence. There are countless other coincidences like that incident that brought me to the place I am now.
8. Adults are pretty cool.
You can learn a lot from older people. Sometime between your early adolescent years and graduating college, adults stop being nuisances and can become your biggest cheerleaders. They can help you through so many of your big decisions, because they were in the same place years ago, and most of them really appreciate it when you come to them for advice.
9. You barely know anything about yourself when you’re a teen.
As a teen, you might think you have your whole future planned out, knowing exactly what you want to do, but hardly anyone ends up where they thought they would. Life is complicated, and you’ll learn so much about who you are in your early twenties. Many people realize that the things they thought they loved were just a passing phase. Almost every other person I meet in college has switched his major after a few semesters… or wishes he would have.
10. Trust is vital.
At this age, it’s so hard to know what will happen after you graduate. Half the seniors I talked to last year said they had no idea what they were going to do. It’s a scary thing. But that’s why we can go to God. He will lead us where we need to go. We must let go of our stress and worry, letting him take control. He knows what’s best for us, and as long as we follow him, we’ll thrive wherever he puts us.
These are just a few lessons college has taught me. There are plenty more, I’m sure. If you’re in college or have gone to college, what did your time there teach you?