Today is my last day of undergrad classes, and I’m feeling… lots of things. I’m so happy have made it to the end, so sad to be leaving Columbia, and so excited and nervous for what’s to come. I know this post isn’t bookish, but I thought I would share some of the things I learned as a college senior with you. I’m just going to go ahead and pull out the tissues.
There’s such a big difference between graduating high school and college. Like, graduating from high school I felt on top of the world, ready to go to college, start learning things and feeling adult-ish. But now… I actually am an adult and independent and it’s scary!! I’ll be the first to admit that.
Looking back, though, has me realizing what a long way I’ve come. I’ve learned so many things since I started as a freshman, and I’ve become so much more confident and sure of myself. So, maybe these are things you already know or they’re things you want to try to start in college. But they’re the most important lessons I’ve learned, and they are useful even after leaving college.
1️⃣ Own your differences
College is very different from high school, especially on the social level. Your freshman year, you meet so many different types of people, who all have different lifestyles and goals. And they’ll definitely make different decisions than you, and they might even question yours. But you should own your differences, and your decisions. If you do something, you don’t have to defend it to someone else or apologize for it (unless it was something mean). You made that choice for a reason. When I was a freshman, I always felt like I had to defend my major because I was surrounded by pre-med or business majors. As a senior, I tell people heck, yeah I’m an English major and art minor because I love both those things and I don’t need to explain my reasons for it.
2️⃣ TRY NEW THINGS!
The most important part of this: don’t be afraid to do things by yourself. I learned so much about being independent in my freshman and sophomore years. When I started school, I was scared to eat alone, but now I do it all the time AND discovered it was the perfect way to fit in reading time between classes. I can’t stress how important this is for campus events too. Sometimes your friends won’t be interested in the same events as you, and that’s OKAY. Go to a movie alone, or try out that international night by yourself. I met so many people by not being afraid to just try something out on my own. And it’s led me to some awesome opportunities.
3️⃣ Never compare yourself to others
Everyone is unique, You know that, I know that. But it’s so, so hard not to compare other people to yourself. Whether it’s their test scores, their extracurriculars, their lives, their college experiences. Everyone wants something different out of college and out of their lives. Some people are more academic and others have to work hard for it. And all you get out of comparing yourself to others is sadness. So DON’T DO IT! I was so much happier after I realized it was okay to not be into what other freshmen were doing or to want to read instead of going out. We are different people and we want different things and that is totally okay.
4️⃣ The experience is important, but school is too
I get that some people are like college is about the experience, not just the classes. Which to be fair, is somewhat true, but your classes are also important!! Being in college is the only opportunity you get to learn new things. My biggest piece of advice: take classes you are uncomfortable with and try things from outside of your major. I learned SO MANY cool things about landforms when I took a geography class. I also took ASL this semester and it was hard but I loved it. And now I know some sign language, which is awesome. And overall, skipping class may seem cool, but it isn’t. Go to class and pay attention. It’s cool to like school!!
5️⃣ Time flies!
So have fun, follow my advice above and don’t stress about the little things. College taught be to be fearless, especially when it comes to enjoying things. So while finals are stressful and do take a lot of studying (oh my goodness, I’m feeling that now), spend the rest of your semesters going to free events. Join some clubs, and find your favorite hobbies. You don’t get to do it over again, so take it in.
That being over, I’m so glad I brought out those tissues.
Okay, now that my heart is officially in pieces, I hope you’ve at least enjoyed everything I included! I’ve learned so much as a college senior. It was really fun to reflect back on who I was then and who I am now, and I can’t wait to look back at this post in a few years. Whether you were reading it and reflecting about your own college years, or looking forward to years ahead, I think these are things that are always good to remember.
What have you learned as a college senior? Or what are you hoping to learn? I’d love to hear some of your ideas!