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.