Important Life Lessons I Learned From College
The day I have been waiting for, for many years, has finally come and gone.
Saturday I graduated from The College of William and Mary. I honestly can’t believe that this long time dream of mine, has become a reality. From a young age, I always knew that I wanted to attend William and Mary. For many years, I thought this dream of mine would never happen for me. I thought that there was no way in a million years I would ever get accepted to William & Mary, let alone graduate from William & Mary. None the less, today I am extremely proud to say that I have met a goal, lived my dream and realized (many things, but especially) that not all things are what they appear to be.
I could not be more thankful for my college experience and the opportunities I have had. If I could back, there are a few things I would change, but who wouldn’t change a few things? I might study a little harder, explore different majors and definitely be more active on campus. In all honesty, at this point in my life I think that I really didn’t “do” college well. Yeah I made decent grades, I didn’t skip class often, and I am proud of myself, but it just never felt right to me. However, I am so proud of myself that I stuck it out through the ups and the downs. I have learned so much about myself over the past few years of my life and I couldn’t be more thankful for my college experience. I believe that it has truly made me a much better person. College has helped me understand myself, my values and my capabilities so much more than I could have ever imagined it would. While I didn’t experience college like most do, I’m so thankful for my own experience and for the opportunity to give it what I had.
Although I’m sure my thoughts on my experience will change as the next few months, and years, pass by. I wanted to share with you a few Important Life Lessons I Learned From College.
1. Failure is only failure if you don’t learn from it. After trial, error and a few let downs, college has taught me not to fear failure. Failure is inevitable and can be such a great learning tool. Throughout my college experience, I have had many failures, that I have had to let go of. Sometimes it’s really tough to admit that we have done something wrong, or incorrect. But the truth is, the only way to learn is to fail every now and then. I have found a strange acceptance of failure and a respect for it. The only way to truly learn and expand your knowledge and experience, is to risk failing at whatever you are doing. We shouldn’t fear failure, rather we should embrace it and learn from it.
2. Your experience doesn’t have to be identical to everyone else’s to be authentic. Over the past few years, I have beat myself up because my college experience didn’t look like every other W&M students. I didn’t live on campus, I commuted to school from about an hour away, and I transferred to W&M at the end of sophomore year. Up until my last semester I was so hard on myself about being different and not having many friends at school to hang out with. Everyone is different. My life looks different than your life, and the next persons life. The same goes for college. Maybe you aren’t in a sorority, or don’t go to sports games, but you are still a student and will one day be an Alumni! So don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t just like the next person. Being different is amazing, and it’s much more fun than twisting yourself into something else, just to “fit in”.
3. The climb to your goal should never be over. Throughout the entirety of my college years, and well most of my years on life so far, I have spent my time set goals, stressing about them, planning for them, and praying continuous to help myself reach those I had set. I kept thinking to my self, “If I can just do xyz, I will be continent with my success in life” or “ If I don’t do _______, I will be a failure.” The truth is, neither one of those are true. Being successful, and happy, should not be reliant on our situations. Yes, if you don’t study for your exam you aren’t going do well. But let me tell you, this past semester I studied for many hours for an Econ exam and scored the worst grade I have ever gotten on anything in the many years I have been attending school. You have to put forth your best effort, if you do want to be successful, but be comfortable enough to know that was your best even if you don’t do so well- this directly ties in with #1. When you reach graduation, or you get that job you have been after for years, or maybe you have finally become a business owner and left that job you hate for many years, either way, now that you have finally hit that mark of “I have made it if…” you have to start over. Thats the interesting part to me. You push, and push, to accomplish your goal, only to turn around and set another one. I think that is truly a significant part of being successful. We must strive to continuously set goals for ourselves and work hard to accomplish them. I’m not saying you have to killing yourself over it, I’m just saying working towards a goal is important in keeping ourselves inspired. If you are thinking of giving up, please don’t! It’s in you and I know you can do it.
Also, I would really recommend you read this post, about how I have struggle with stress and how I have had to learn how to love myself during those struggles.
4. Knowing your weaknesses is just about as good as knowing your strengths. If you’re anything like me, you could spend hours talking about things you aren’t so great at and it may take you just as much to think of one thing you are great at. That’s ok. In my opinion, knowing the thing you aren’t good at is just as good as knowing things you are good at. If you know what you aren’t good at, you can work better at narrowing down what you are good at. It’s ok to not be great at everything. There are plenty of things I’m not good at and through my route of discovering them, I found what I am good at. By staying clear of things I’m not good at, I somehow seemed to land right where I felt comfortable. Weakness is similar to failure, in a roundabout way. I always think that some of my best learning experiences came from the most uncomfortable situations. Either I had failed at something, or I was extremely vulnerable and felt weak and helpless in that situation. These feelings and experiences often force people to stand up and work harder than they had ever imagined they could. Thus resulting in deep learning of a subject or one’s self. If you are better at naming your weakness, than your strengths, don’t worry you aren’t alone. Use those weaknesses to help you find your strengths!
5. College has helped to show me my true self and test my beliefs like nothing else has before. College is such a strangely wonderful experience- and I can say wonderful because I don’t have to go back, ti’s funny how you get anew perspective once you’re not actually in that situation anymore. Growing up in a pretty small town [often small in size and small in mind] I feel that I had a very limited few on life before. College introduced me to people of all races, religions, preferences and political views. You name a topic, we believed in it differently. At first, I had so much anxiety and felt so uncomfortable. I didn’t know anything about the places my new friends were from, nor did I know how to spell their last name, haha! But the one thing I did know is that they were more kind and generous then what I could have ever imagined. You have to open to meeting new people, learning new things and experiencing new cultures. I am so thankful for every friend I made at W&M, every experience I had and every life chaining step I took along the way!
I just want to take a minute to thank everyone that has been so supportive along this journey. Thank you to each of you who read my blog daily, weekly, monthly, yearly and if this is the first post you have read, thank you for taking the time to stop by! I hope you stay. Thank you all for reading and supporting me. Thank you for reaching out on social media with encouraging words!