Friday, May 22, 2015

10 Things I've Learned Since Graduating

A year ago I graduated from high school. Holy cow! How is that possible? It doesn't seem possible that it's been that long since I walked the stage, trying to not trip on the way down. On the other hand, I look back at the person I was a year ago, and barely recognize that girl. Since graduating, lots of things have happened that will shape me for the rest of my life. I moved away from home, made new friends, experienced heart breaking loss of loved ones, fell head over heels for a wonderful boy, tried new things, and really started to figure out who I am when I'm not confined to labels I was stuck with at 14. I can gladly and proudly say that I am most definitely not the person I was when I graduated high school. 

I've learned a lot, so today I'm going to share the top 10 things I've learned since graduating high school.

1. Who you were in high school does not matter.

In high school, I was the cheerleader, the quiet girl, I wasn't into partying, I made decently good grades. I got to college and none of that mattered. Of course, I also had the benefit of moving 1000+ miles away and not knowing a single soul at college. But that's beside the point. Your grades, your reputation, your SAT score, none of that matters. I doubt if someone asked you to talk about yourself those are things you would use to describe your amazing, vivacious personality. College frees you from who you were in high school, and trust me, you are so much more than anything anyone said about you in high school. 

2. A lot of people will give you advice about college, but in the end, you're the one who decides what is best for you.

Like I said yesterday, everyone told me not to date anyone my first year of college, and dating my boyfriend was the best decision I made all year. Now I'm not saying to disregard everything anyone tells you about college and what it's like, but everyone's experience is different, and just because things worked out a certain way for your mom, cousin, or best friend's brother does not mean your college experience will be the same. 

3. Friendships you have to force are rarely friendships worth keeping.

I can count on one hand the number of people I've talked to since graduation. I keep up with one person from my graduating class regularly. I should also mention that my two best friends in high school didn't go to school with me and I still talk to them all the time (one of them has a blog too, follow it here). However, the girls who I considered my best friends at school I haven't talked to probably since September. I tried to keep up with them, but it was obvious that they weren't interested, so I lost interest too. I also started to develop much more real, genuine friendships when I started college, and it was immediately evident that my high school friends were not true friends.

4. Join SOMETHING and it doesn't have to be anything you did in high school.

A Greek organization, a religious group, a club or intramural team, anything. I'll be the first to say that you are most likely not going to make your best friends by sitting in your dorm room. I can pretty much guarantee that your school will have some sort of activities fair. Go to it. Put your name down for two or three things that sound interesting to you. Maybe get your roommate or a friend you've made in class to go to the first meeting with you so you feel more comfortable. If you put in the effort to join in and meet people, you'll make friends, I promise. 

5. When you share a tiny room with someone, it's best to find common ground.

You might get lucky and have your roommate become your best friend. You might not. Either way, you're sharing a small space and you need to find some way to get along or it's going to be a long year. My roommate and I watched a trashy MTV reality show together on Monday nights. It was our thing. We may have had our bumps along the way, but all in all she was a good roommate. At the very least, try to talk to your roommate even if it's just about the weather or complimenting her outfit.

6. Mistakes happen. Learn from them and move on.

Everybody makes mistakes, everybody has those days (Hannah Montana, anybody?) All joking aside, you will most likely regret a decision or two you make. That's life. But learn from them. Don't go out on Thursday night when you have an 8am on Friday. Laundry should be done regularly, don't wait until you're out of underwear. That older boy is not cool, he's just a creep. Once you learn your lesson, put it behind you. Don't dwell on the bad things. Just keep looking forward and be happy. 

7. You define organizations you're a part of. They do not define you. 

Join things because you're interested in or passionate about them, not because of the reputation they have on campus. Some organizations will be seen in higher esteem than others on campus, that does not make them better. Remember that your wonderful self decided that this organization was worth investing time and energy into. Don't let anyone tell you that you are any less smart, talented, beautiful, etc., because of the group you joined. You make that organization that much better because of what you bring to it. Never let anyone make you think differently. 

8. Make an effort to get out of your dorm room.

Dorm rooms are small, cramped, and can be very lonely places - even if your roommate is in there. Go study outside. Try to go to the gym with a friend (not that I ever actually did this). Grab dinner off campus to get a little break. It's easy to settle into a mundane routine. I was very guilty of this at the beginning of school. I'm pretty shy so I didn't have a million friends right off the bat and it seemed easier to just hang out in my dorm room because I didn't know what else to do. I'm not going to lie, it kind of sucked. I was sad and lonely and questioned my decision about my school. This kind of goes back to joining something. If you meet some cool people in the club meeting you went to, go back. Try to hang out with them other times. It's going to take effort and it's not easy, but it's so worth it.

9. Have tons of fun, but make sure you're keeping up with school (goes both ways).

Had to fit this little mom like reminder in there. Have fun while you're at college, but remember you're there for your education. This also goes the other way. Don't be so caught up in trying to make perfect grades that you forget that these are some of the best years of your life and you should be enjoying them. I'm a major perfectionist, so I always stress myself out about school, but you will need to blow off steam and take a break from time to time.

10. Never apologize for being your authentic self.

Like I've said, in college you really learn a lot about yourself, what you value and believe. You should never feel inferior for being the genuine you. You are a spectacular person, who was designed with a specific plan in mind for you and your gifts. Embrace everything about your personality and OWN IT! 

Sometimes I don't take my own advice, but I'm working on it.

I'll leave you with the best advice I've gotten since being at college:
"Anything worth it is hard, and it's hard because it's worth it."

No comments :

Post a Comment