A College Kid’s Retrospect: Guiding Words From a Graduating Senior

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Our most serious education occurs during these short, yet precious 4 years—and shockingly, most of it isn’t academic. The rollercoaster ride known as “college” is really more an ongoing social experiment: our patience tested, identities challenged, and capacity for struggle (and occasional letdown) stretched. From our freshman “lab rat” days of running through a thorny maze of quirky professors, nutty roommates, and unrequited love–to reaching superior-senior status, the changes undergone by our minds and hearts are innumerable. Considering this, here are some lessons I feel obliged to pass on—ones meant for application in any year of your life. Some on the list may seem obvious, but all are worthy of a reminder.

1) Not everyone will like you.

This is possibly the hardest lesson we learn in life, simply because it’s not a college problem; rather, it is an “everyday” problem. It’s the way of the world, and you won’t like everyone either. Be yourself, always—and the right people will naturally be drawn to you. (Really). If a relationship requires forcing, it’s seldom meant to be.

2) Count your own blessings, not your friends’

However better off your peers seem—academically, socially, physically—only you can make the best out of your life. Comparison to others is a hazard for your wellbeing and progress. Embrace the cards you are dealt, and soon you’ll probably realize you have more than you thought. We’ve all been given some kind of talent. Start owning it.

3) Focus on your OWN path

A supplement to #2, I can’t stress enough the importance of staying positive when your situation isn’t ideal, the scenery isn’t quite right, etc. Complaining has never done me any good, nor enabled the change I was looking for. Everyone is at their own “stop” in life; don’t bash theirs or yours. Everyone has stress and struggles, just with different perspectives. And as much as we might pretend like it on social media–no one’s got it completely together.

4) Procrastination is ok sometimes

I’ve actually found that my best work is produced under pressure. Maybe that’s just the deadline-loving journalist in me talking, but try it. Try something new and put music, Netflix, or snacking before that essay; you might just end up killin’ it. Often, it’s more useful to wait until you truly want to accomplish the task at hand before you force it.

5) Don’t let those standards waver

Whether seeking a job, girl, guy, or even house or car…keep in mind your values and preferences. Pickiness can be good. Your mom, nor your friend, or professor can choose for you. Settle only for YOUR best. Shooting high doesn’t mean you’re selfish, nor shallow.

6) Stay spiritual

Whether you achieve comfort in meditation, attending a church, frequenting a temple, or sitting outdoors, having a single spiritual connection to something bigger than yourself can maximize positive thinking and internal peace when everything around you is chaos.

7). Treat yourself and others

Giving is a magical thing. When spending our time and energy on those around us, somehow these things are replenished within us—and our own happiness is doubled. The love we have for ourselves is inextricably tied to our output of love for others. Everyone wants to be acknowledged, so pass it on.

Senioritis. (or: “College: Ain’t Nobody Got Time 4 Dat”)

As Fall semester comes to a close, and our college student brains are put to rest for a solid, two-month period of laze and gluttony, a time otherwise known as “Winter Break”, I realize that my ability to absorb information, nor care about it, is steadily dwindling. Although I think this affliction started in…let’s see…September, I know that it’s something more serious than usual. It is more than laziness…and it’s not simply “boredom”. No. It is a deeply rooted, raging monster of contempt and aversion to anything “school”. This monster manifests itself in my behavior, thinking, and academic performance. It is uncontrollable and it stomps any remaining motivation I have.

I realize that this advanced, rapid decline in brain capacity and motivation is not simply “demotivated old me”, but none other than Senioritis. This is a very real disease that has both mental and psychological effects and occurs in the bodies of 90-95% of graduating seniors. It doesn’t matter which college or university, what kind of GPA or academic background; we all feel it…and let me tell you: it’s agonizing.

The onset of symptoms is quick. The mind gets hazy, your focus transforms into that of a 5-year-old’s, and trips to campus bars become more frequent.Textbooks get dusty (if they weren’t already), Wikipedia becomes the first stop for research papers, and exams become a matter of convenience…(i.e. How many more episodes of ______ on Netflix can I watch before the task of studying becomes inescapable?).

As for a solution….well, there is no solution. Only steps we can take to warp our academic psyche. All we can do in this final year is maintain some fun, keep a stiff drink by our sides, and stay positive–constantly keeping the end in sight. (That sparkling diploma). Music while studying may help or hurt, depending on your methods, but it’s proven that we NEED to take breaks. Buy some new pens and pencils, flashcards, or other little office supplies to make cramming a little more exciting. Between study sessions, DO watch a movie on Netflix. (Just don’t start a seven-season TV show). Buy a Keurig if you don’t have one already; and if coffee makes you gag, they make chai K-Cups that are the absolute bomb. If in search of a good lounge spot, hit Starbucks. Stay social, but keep tests, assignments, and office hours in check. Finding the little ways to make yourself happy is KEY in dealing with mid-year bouts of graduation-lusting.

Keeping these techniques in mind, the struggle can be lessened, at least a little.

Things I Don’t Understand/Enjoy: A List

1. Stick Figure Families on Cars, Vans, SUVs, etc.

Despite popular opinion, I am no less inclined to hit you in the rear if I am informed of your three stick-figure husbands and twelve children, or even if it’s just you and your eight cats.

2. The EDM/House Music Craze

How anyone can find the “art” in this mind-numbing, repetitive junk is simply beyond me. I have tried and tried, but to no avail, to recognize that musicality exists in the nation-sweeping phenomenon of EDM/House/Dubstep. (I might as well lump in dubstep with the two). To me it’s pointless. And as I’ve witnessed in college, the genre maintains a huge presence in frat culture…(figures). Devoid of any real instrumental or vocal variety, house music is made for the musical simpleton. If lyrics cause you mental overload, the use of dynamics stumps you, or tonal variation busts your brains, then look no further–your ears won’t be challenged. I’ll also add, though, that perhaps the accompaniment of hallucinogenics improves the listener’s experience; I’ll have to try it that way.

3. Not using turn signals

4. Stick Pens

[Experience life without the caps]

5. “The Big Bang Theory”

My dog induces more laughter than this show can.

6. Country Music Radio Stations

(See also: country music, country music awards, country boots, hats, shirts, accents, etc)

7. The music industry’s acknowledgement of Miley Cyrus as an artist

Why, God, why.

8. Males with homeless-looking facial hair

[females OK]

9. Decaffeinated Coffee

10. Male attempts at picking up women via honking

I don’t know one single lady who, upon hearing a deafening honk from a sketchy male in a mysterious vehicle, would drop all her things and run to the buffoon.

Ok I’m done for now.