thirty days from this moment…

I will be a college graduate. That statement blows my mind – it felt like I’d never get to this day. Even though all I’ve talked about since the end of freshman year was graduation and leaving Vermillion for good, I’m sad now that it’s quickly approaching. My four years in Vermillion haven’t been all that great to me, in fact, this place gave me some of the worst memories and experiences that I’ve had in my entire life.

But at the same time, it’s given me so wonderful things. It’s given me an irreplaceable education. It’s given me friendships that I wouldn’t trade for a single thing in the world. It’s given me lessons upon lessons, allowing myself to grow and mature with each one. So for that, I am so grateful. When people tell you that your college years will fly by, believe them. I heard that time and time again when I graduated high school and was about to move off to college, and there wasn’t a single ounce of my body that believed that. I had the mindset that four years was going to last for what felt like a lifetime. Newsflash: It definitely doesn’t. Every semester goes by faster and faster.

Here’s my advice to those of you who are currently, or soon will be, in college
1. Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way
This is something that I didn’t do, and insanely regret it. My mindset was just getting through my classes and getting as many A’s as I could. Looking back, I wish that I had participated in research, studied abroad, volunteered somewhere locally, or participated in groups on campus. It’s an amazing way to jazz up your resume, and also lets you meet so many people you may not have met otherwise. Don’t be afraid to branch out and join a group that might be a little out of your comfort zone. You might just find something you’re passionate about that surprises you.
2. Don’t sweat the small stuff
So, maybe you failed a test. It could very well feel like the end of world. Let me tell you, it isn’t. I’m a perfectionist and have always worked hard and pushed myself to be the best student I can be, which usually paid off. Except for the one time it didn’t, and I failed a test. I will embarrassingly admit that I cried for an excessive amount of time over this one failed exam. Except guess what? It really wasn’t the end of the world, and that one test definitely didn’t make even a small dent in my G.P.A. I still made the dean’s list that semester, and all turned out fine and dandy. So, in other words, don’t sweat the small(ish) stuff. Now, don’t get me wrong, if you’re continually not doing as well as you want to on homework and exams, go talk to your professor or other resources on campus.Β  That brings me to my next point.
3. Use every resource on campus that you can
The resources on each campus really can vary, but I strongly urge you to use every resource, advisor, professor and student(s) that would help you in any way, shape, or form. PLEASE.DO.IT. These sources can set you apart from other students academically, socially, and in probably any other way you can think of. My favorite resource that I used at USD was our writing center. There was seriously a huge difference in my writing skill after I started going regularly. I could go on about this, but what I have no will probably suffice.
4. Take time to relax and have fun
This is another thing that I wish I would have done, but didn’t start doing until my senior year. I had nervous breakdown after nervous break down my freshman through junior years, and it was terrible. Why? That’s a good question, but I can tell you now that what I was worried about doesn’t matter at all come graduation. It’s obviously normal and totally okay to stress over a big test or a 25 page paper you have to write, but don’t sit and stew over it for four and a half hours until you get so worked up that you cry a a picture of a baby piglet (I’ve never had this happen to me personally or anything… never.. nope, ha). Seriously though, take study breaks and watch a 20 minute show on Netflix (or two, if you’ve got the time), find your favorite playlist on Spotify and listen to whatever music will let you ‘escape’ the world for a while, read a book, go for a walk, hit the gym. Also, TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR SCHOOL’S FREE GYM IF THEY PROVIDE ONE TO YOU. I think I went to USD’s gym a total of maybe 4 times in my whole college career. Why, you ask?
Another good question, because they have an insanely cool rock-climbing wall that I told myself I’d go climb all the time, but never did. Anyway, back to the point. Make sure you take time to relax and enjoy your time in college.
5. Be yourself, no matter what
This is probably the biggest piece of advice that I could have for anyone, at any phase in life. I went to a university where I knew one singular person, whom I wasn’t really friends with. I wasn’t assigned a roommate at first, but found one through a Facebook page for incoming freshman. Going to a place where I knew absolutely no one allowed me to be myself, and find people who accepted me for that. Thankfully, I was blessed with the greatest roommate I could have had freshman year (heyyy Morgan!), who didn’t judge me when I came back up to our dorm on move-in day after my parents left, red-faced and sweaty with mascara running down my cheeks because I couldn’t handle leaving my parents for who knows how long (it only turned out to be a few weeks, I was just a big baby). We immediately hit it off and honestly, the fun never stopped. We were probably the ‘annoying’ girls on the floor, and I’m so sorry to whoever lived below us, but we had the most fun I’ve ever had in all four years of college. So anyway, let college be a time to find yourself, and don’t allow people to remain in your life who don’t accept you for who you are.
That’s all, folks. Until next time
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