By Patricia Gras
Your four years in high school are over. A new life begins in college soon and you may feel relief along with some anxiety and excitement. College can be challenging at times but very much like life itself, it is what you make it. Here are some thoughts and wisdom I wish I had known before I went to college.
Making good grades is important, but it will not define the kind of person you become or the sort of success you will have. Don’t get caught up like I did on grades and cease to enjoy the experience just to get a 4.0. When you finally join the working world, people will remember how you made them feel, how effectively you did your job, if you are making the world a better place, or if you are creating value, not if you were summa cum laude!
There are many types of people in college. Hang with those who share your values, live in integrity, study hard, care for others, know how to laugh real loud and dance as if no one is watching. You will know if those you choose as friends fill you with energy or drain it. Don’t waste time with those who do.
Beware of those who drink too much or do drugs. They are most likely numbing some sort of pain or hiding insecurities. Feel compassion but don’t engage in their behavior. If you too feel unbearable pain, learn to embrace it, learn from it, and know… it too will pass. You can learn from joy and you can learn from suffering and pain. In my experience I have grown and learned more from the latter.
At your age, falling in love is almost inevitable, but don’t try to complete yourself with a magical other. No one can make you happy but yourself. There will be time for great relationships in the future as well. If you decide to have one, make sure he/she supports you, respects you, studies just as hard as you do or more and is truly one of your best friends. College is a journey and you will have to climb hills, valleys and mountains, having someone accompany you can be wonderful. Having someone become your heavy backpack will only hurt you.
When you don’t do well in class, GET HELP, get a tutor, a friend, a classmate to help. Don’t wait until it is too late. Many times, it has nothing to do with you, but it is your responsibility to learn. No matter how successful some students appear to be (4.0) or perfect scores, they too will fail some day. It is a part of life, but only those who are persistent and consistent succeed. Many times, to do that you need to get help.
Study hard, but also find time to enjoy yourself. Study under the sun, be in nature as much as possible, excercise or move at least a half hour a day, and get enough sleep! Find one day of the week to have a good time or party, but don’t forget why you are in college. Remember having fun and partying is not something you should ONLY DO IN COLLEGE so don’t act like you only have four years to go wild.
Always look for the people who do well in class and befriend them. People generally want to help. To be the best, you have to hang out with the best. That is just common sense, the least common of the senses.
When things don’t go your way, in school, a relationship, a friendship… use your knees. Prayer helps. Believe in miracles. Your thoughts matter and the more positive they are, the better you will do.
Talk to your parents; communicate with them. If they are not around, find an adult you feel comfortable with. We adults may seem out of touch, but we have been there where you are now. Go to therapy if necessary but get help. Remember happiness may not last forever, but neither do your problems.
I love you and I am here for you. These are words that will come from SOMEONE in your life. If it is not a person, it may be your higher power. You are here on this planet for a reason, a purpose, a mission. Find out what it is and go for it. Have no fear. Be bold. Be strong. Don’t give up and when you think everything has failed, remember Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.”
NOW, DEAR GRADUATE CELEBRATE! For a new wonderful life is just ahead of you. Congratulations Nicole!
Question: What is the biggest mistake you made in college? And what did you learn from it?