In high school, I felt like the perfect student, with a perfect GPA in AP classes and involvement in numerous extracurricular activities. I felt like the world was at my feet and anticipated my first day at a big university. Today, I just completed my fourth year at the University of Georgia and have grown a lot from my high school self. In my four years of college, I was hit with the reality of becoming an adult. My experiences in college has forced me to grow up and to look at life in a new perspective. Listed are the important lessons college taught me:
1. It is okay to feel lost. When I started at the University of Georgia, I was so sure that I wanted to be a biology major and become a veterinarian. Little did I know, I was going to change my major to marketing, completely opposite from biology. I did not expect the science courses at UGA to be as difficult as they were, and I remember hating my major so much that I was losing motivation. In my second year, I decided that I needed to change my major but had no clue what I wanted to do. I felt so lost and confused, but with the help of my advisors, my parents, and my friends, I figured out my true calling.
2. Don’t compare yourself to others, and take your time. One toxic habit I had to get rid of was comparing myself to other students. It seems like everyone has the perfect grades, the perfect resume, and the perfect college experience, but in reality, these perfect students are struggling too. I learned to just do me, and do what makes me happy. I stopped worrying about what my peers are doing, because they are probably comparing themselves to me as well. Furthermore, I realized that it is 100% okay to graduate later than expected. Because I changed my major, I was pushed a year back. I felt like failure at first, but soon realized that it is completely normal. Whether you need a gap year or changed your major, being a fifth year is completely okay. At least, you can experience college one last year!
3. Failure is okay. This lesson hit me hard. Before UGA, I have never failed a class. I never even received a C in a class before! However, in my second year of college, I failed my first class ever. It was Accounting 2100, infamously known for being extremely difficult at UGA. I struggled hard in that class and had to retake it a second time for credit. At first, I felt so down about myself but realized that it is only failure if I stopped trying.
4. You will lose friends. You can’t expect to stay friends with everyone. Everyone will get busy, everyone will change, and everyone will lose touch. You learn who your true friends are. It is just a normal part of growing into an adult.
5. You don’t need to be perfect. College has made me feel so pressured to be the best of the best. I felt like I was never doing enough. I needed to get all A’s, to join as many extracurricular activities as I can, to do community service, and to have an internship/job on the side. Even while doing all of this, I still felt like I was not doing enough. However, the truth is I am only human. I learned to accept that I can’t and shouldn’t overwork myself. Instead, I delegated my time towards hobbies and extracurricular activities that I am passionate about.
6. Enjoy life. This is probably the most significant lesson I learned from college. Life is so short, and you never know what could happen. This is why I try to have as much fun as possible, no matter how much stress college has. Hang out with your friends and loved ones before life gets busier, attend music festivals/concerts, or do something adventurous!
With another school year coming to end, I just want to say congratulations to the Class of 2019 and to all of my friends who graduated this year! It is a huge accomplishment, and graduates should be proud of themselves. With that being said, what lessons have you learned as you experience growth, PULP fam?