This article contains opinion.
College wasn’t easy for me.
To be honest, I’ll be disappointed if I come to find these were the best years of my life. These years were challenging, and they taught me a lot.
One of the biggest mental challenges I overcame was realizing my path does not have to look like everyone else’s. I laid to rest some of the nerves I had over not having it all figured out.
Throughout these last four years, I’ve found many pieces of myself that create this palette of interests I have today.
My college career has taught me an abundance of skills outside the classroom as well:
Independence is a good thing
Your parents are going to support you throughout your young adult years, but learning not to rely on that as time goes by can be the challenge.
“My dad taught me a lot and I’m grateful for that,” Autumn Berquist-Cherwaty (fashion merchandising) said.
Enjoy your alone time
Solitude provides many benefits such as improving concentration, productivity and deep thinking, it helps your brain unwind and reboot. Alone time helps build a better relationship with yourself. A better understanding of self can aid in personal relationships as well.
Find your most productive hours
Everyone has a different schedule and biological clock. Dedicate your most productive hours to your responsibilities, and enjoy down time when it works for you.
Being a full-time student means less time for work, but being an adult means more bills and responsibility. Be smart with your money. Overspending is easy when the perks of college lie at your fingertips.
“College taught me that $20 can go a long way if I need it to,” Berquist-Cherwaty said.
Ask for help
It’s OK to get help, not only in your classes, but if you’re struggling mentally as well. You’re not alone, and trust that professors will understand if you just explain. The Counseling Center is a fantastic resource, so don’t be afraid to use it.
“Professors are one of the best resources you have as a student,” Rania Rashid (biology) said. “Just talk to your professors about whatever; I found that they almost compulsively give advice.”
Try something new and figure out who you are
Now is the time. It’s the youngest you’ll ever be. Weird isn’t really a thing. If you like it, pursue it. Say yes more often, and step out of your comfort zone. Find your niche.
“College is a great place to express yourself or experiment on yourself, and everyone around might be doing the same thing or don’t care enough to make fun of you,” Sasha Rubert (graphic design) said.
Life is what you make it.
More often than not, opportunities will not fall into your lap. You must work hard for the things you want out of life and do so with a smile, a please and a thank you, a light heart and gratitude for the chances life has granted you.