Attending college has changed me so much. Despite the emphasis on course objectives and learning outcomes, I feel as if the life lessons I have learned outside of the classroom have impacted me most.
Family and friends always ask what classes I am taking or what I am studying. I rarely get the opportunity to discuss the lessons I have learned as a college student – those that are not explicitly taught, but learned through experience. With graduation approaching, I have been thinking a lot about my three years at Stevenson.
I have changed so much since my Mustang Day in 2013. I have grown; I have matured into the individual I am today. College is one of the most amazing, challenging and unique experiences I have encountered in my life thus far. The variety of settings and situations educated me even more than the textbooks I read and lectures I heard.
I am so grateful to have spent the last three years of my life living and learning. With all the memories I have gathered and cherished over the last year, I thought it was necessary to teach others the life lessons I have learned since my first day on campus:
YOUR GPA DOES NOT DETERMINE YOUR SUCCESS
Congrats, you made a 4.0! You are probably overjoyed and happy that your hard work paid off, and you should be… but keep in mind you are more than a number. Don’t take classes to maintain your grade point average; take courses you are interested in or that will challenge you. College is an (expensive) opportunity to explore. While you may think grades are the sole determinant of your future, they are not. If you are looking into graduate school, your test scores, extracurricular activities and experience will be considered as well. Demonstrate your knowledge in other ways and don’t worry. Haven’t you heard that C’s get degrees too? Strive to do your best, but do not let this number limit you.
LEARN TO SAY NO
Don’t overcommit yourself. Being involved in a sport or a club or a department that you enjoy goes far beyond being involved in every activity and organization on campus. Face it – you cannot do it all. You should continue to explore your passions and interests while you enjoy the ride. If you spread yourself too thin you will burn out; you may even lose the fire that ignited your passion. Learning to say no is a powerful skill; you are not compelled to complete every task, fulfill all expectations or agree with every request. Saying no can save your sanity.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH GOOD PEOPLE
Seemingly everyone tells you that your college friends will be your friends for life, but this is not always the case. The people you meet in college may serve different purposes; you may have your true friends but you also have friends from parties, friends from extracurricular activities and friends from work.
College is the time in your life where you are exposed to a variety of people with different personalities, beliefs, and interests, among other things. Find a group of people who follow the golden rule, a group you can talk about your ambitions with, and a group you can trust and confide in. Surrounding yourself with good people, people who are passionate about what you’re passionate about, people who are kind and thoughtful, people who will be there for you no matter what. Who you surround yourself with is who you will become. Follow your passion and you will find your tribe.
I am by no means an expert in the college experience or life transitioning. However, I do believe that these three items have been influential in my college experience. I hope I will continue to learn valuable lessons after commencement. Saying no, surrounding myself with amazing people, and thinking more of myself than my grade point average are just a few of the things I learned to embrace.
Since enrolling at Stevenson, I have changed. These lessons have and will continue to shape me as an individual; these experiences have piqued my curiosity. Shout out to college for teaching me more than I ever thought possible.