I’ve only been here a semester, and I’m not saying that I’ve been around this block as many times as another college student, but college has taught me some pretty cool and important lessons so far. There have been way more than three pieces of advice that Hope has loaned me, but these are the top three and/or the ones that I thought of first.
First: It’s all about balance.
College is so many things. It is academics, friends, social life, faith, sports, etc. One of the most important things you can do is find a balance between all of these things. Not to scare you, but if you don’t reality is going to knock you upside the head (pretty quickly, I might add).
it doesn’t happen overnight, or the semester.
I just assumed that since I was going to Hope that we’d all click instantaneously and have immediate friendships that were effortless, beautiful, and life-changing. ERGHH (That’s a buzzer noise), I was wrong. It turns out that creating meaningful relationships with people is actually something that you have to work on (oops, my bad), and it doesn’t just come naturally. Also, it’s not going to happen in the time span of one semester, and I’ve accepted that now; you don’t get to know someone that fast.
Another important thing I learned is that it’s awkward. All of it is awkward, and I am awkward, because life is just a little bit awkward sometimes. Embrace this, love it, because that means we’re in places where growth can occur; we’re in a new beginning, and beginnings are always awkward but oh-so-promising of a better future. Besides, it’ll be fun to look back and laugh on all of the awkward conversations in the end.
Third: The power in someone’s story.
Before you call me cliché, I just want you to know that I don’t care; this is important. The thing is, everyone comes from a different background. Everyone has experienced different situations and events that have helped bring them to the place they’re at today. After one semester, it’s pretty clear to me how dire it is to learn someone’s story before thinking that I know who they are.
While you may know that someone enjoys knitting, do you know why? Perhaps you were really bothered by their knitting habit. What if you found out that their grandma taught them to knit, and she passed away last year and it’s all that they have left of her. Knitting. Meanwhile, you love your grandparents to death, and suddenly you understand why she loves to knit so much; it all makes so much more sense to you and you can finally understand her, really get her.
That’s a weird, made up example, but it shows the process of it all. I encourage everyone to listen to others’ stories before making up your mind on them. It’s life changing to the point where hearing other peoples’ stories has become an insane piece of my own story.
So that’s it. That’s what one semester of college has gotten me. I’ve also learned a lot of academic things, but those aren’t often the first things that come to mind when I reflect back on the semester. It’s these changes in mentality that I reflect on and try to come to terms with.
If you have any questions for me you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, through Facebook, or my twitter @hopebrooke18! I’d love to answer them!