For many people, college is a time of exploration. It’s a time of finding oneself, learning to understand yourself, and discovering the real world. Now having one quarter of college under my belt, I fully understand the world, how it works, my place within it, and what I need to do with my life.
In truth, I learned a lot from my first quarter of college, and not just about Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud. (If you’re reading this Ben, shout out to you for helping me survive that class) Here’s a little list of a few things I found especially enlightening.
1. Your past does not define your present.
This was a big relief for me. In the past, I was never the student I wanted to be. I did alright, but I never reached my potential because I was stuck in a rut of self-doubt and apathy. This quarter, I worked harder in my academic and professional life than I ever have before. It was completely exhausting, and also completely worth it. It turns out that with determination and confidence, you can develop your work ethic and accomplish things you never thought you could.
2. Let little things go.
Ever since I started using my cane, I’ve dealt with things from people approaching me asking what happened to me to people asking if I’m actually blind. I’ve learned that most of the time, people are just curious or uninformed and the most productive thing you can do is either try to educate or simply let it go.
3. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
In this case, I felt like our lovable silly old bear friend got it right. Life will throw things at you that you never expected, things that you may not think you can survive. The truth is, we can handle a lot. Often, you’ll surprise yourself by not only surviving, but thriving, in dark or challenging circumstances. When going through the most difficult times, you’ll also discover who will be there for you when it matters.
4. Pay attention to those with more experience, because you don’t know everything.
This one seems a little ironic given this list, but it’s perhaps the most important item. There will always be someone more experienced, especially when you’re in college and you most likely lived in a much smaller environment 1-4 years ago. There’s a lot to learn about the world, and although you shouldn’t take everyone’s opinion for gospel, it’s important to recognize those who are worth listening to.
5. You can always be working on yourself, so you don’t have time to work on others.
This one is pretty simple. Everyone has things they can work on within themselves, so we really don’t have time to be “fixing” other people.
6. I don’t have time to blog.
I apologize to those of you who read my writing for my long, long hiatus, but alas, due dates wait for no one. I’m working on time-management and making blink updates part of my schedule.
Going into college, I was a mixture of excitement and terror. I was worried about how I would perform having a challenge that most other students didn’t, and how well I would deal with being so far away from everything familiar to me. The darkness I experienced in the past made me anxious for the future. When it came down to it, I found that my biggest obstacle was my own doubt. Perhaps the most important thing I have come to learn is that I am more capable than the world or I myself ever expected me to be.