With my roommate out of town and the dorms surprisingly quiet, I’ve been able to finally get a good chunk of my to-do list done this evening. After finishing my homework and deep cleaning my entire dorm–you just think I’m kidding–it seems like for the first time in weeks I’ve been able to just sit down, and think.
The semester is coming to a close actually faster than I’d like, and recently I’ve been thinking back on the couple of months. Thinking back on how much of a mess I made. Thinking back to how it seemed like one of the worst times of my life and how it turned out to be one of the best.
I was pushed out of my comfort zone, made some of the best friends I have ever had, lived in one of the most amazing cities in the country, and learned more about who I am and what I do (and do not) want. With that in mind, I want to share some of the things that I wish people had told me (or that I should have listened to) before I went off to college this past year, and maybe save someone a little grief in the long run. College is hard, and sometimes life just sucks.
Don’t go into college chasing a fancy name or high paycheck.
Choosing a major and university in general can be tricky. We don’t always know what we want to do, and sometimes we just end up choosing security. Whether that security is through a name like Harvard or Yale, or through the knowing that at the end of our four years we will be able to make a salary with lots of zeros at the end–we choose that comfort.
I thought I was making a wonderful decision choosing the top art school in the country to pursue what I really thought was my “dream” while I was really choosing my own form of security. The comfort of being able to hold up a diploma with the name of the 3rd largest museum in the world on it–which in turn helped rid me of the idea that I was making a mistake.
This mistake was not SAIC because it is an amazing place to be full of truly wonderful people, and I wish I loved it enough to stay. But the actual mistake was me forgetting who I was as a person and what I really loved and needed to be happy. Happiness for me is not making buckets of money or jetting off to fancy places to work with even fancier people. Happiness is being close to home with the people I love most. While I love visiting fun places, I don’t need to do extraordinary things to be happy–I am okay with just being me. All this traveling and studying at a school 1000 miles from home has left me lonely and really deflated. Heck, my roommate has been out of town for like three days and I already miss her! Being with the people I care about is what makes my world go round, and with that in mind…
Do what makes you happy.
At the end of the day I made the decision to transfer because I was tired of being lonely, tired of the cold and tired of feeling inadequate. I know what I need to be happy and while to some people it looks like I’m throwing away an amazing opportunity, the price I was paying just did not fit the prize. It was either a diploma I would have no idea what to do with, or my happiness, and I’m good with the decision I made. I’m now in between majors which is hard because I have enough credits to be a junior next year, but I know that everything is going to be okay.
Life is too short to be a people pleaser, so go and do what makes you happy. It’s your life and at the end of the day you are the only one who has to be happy and live with your decisions. Take time to figure out your dreams and ambitions, and…
Get used to feeling lost.
On my flight back to school in January I sat next to a pretty amazing woman who chatted with through the entire flight. After a little small talk and background info, I told her how lost I felt because I didn’t know what I was doing in college and just with my life in general. I felt like my circumstances were completely out of my control in what I thought I should be doing and accomplishing–which is quite silly for someone in their first year of college… She surprised me by saying that if she had had her entire life figured out during her early college years–and even late into her twenties–that she would have missed out on so many wonderful opportunities and adventures because they weren’t initially in her “life map” she created for herself.
Her advice for me was to get used to feeling lost because that feeling isn’t going to go away overnight. You aren’t going to wake up and have your entire future completely figured out. Life is a messy endeavor that we should embrace to make it all worthwhile. Be open to what comes your way and don’t forget to live because you were too caught up in some master “plan” of how your life is supposed to turn out.
In reality no one knows what exactly the future has in store for us, but that shouldn’t affect how we choose to live. This brings me to my final point…
Failure is not a dirty word.
At my freshman orientation we had a speaker who told us, no encouraged us to fail. I thought this was ridiculous to tell us to reach for failure and dismissed her speech entirely after I had walked out the door for lunch. It wasn’t up until recently that her message finally hit me. Many of us are so terrified of becoming a failure that we let it control our lives. We let it control how we act, what we do, and what we say until we are so crippled by this fear that we don’t do much at all.
It seems like an exaggeration, but let me ask you: what would you do if you could not fail? If you had nothing to lose? It’s something we’ve always wanted to do; something that would make us happy. Something, something, something.
So go fail. Fail hard, fail fast, fail strong. But only if you are failing up and failing forward. Just don’t let failure push you back.
Because while college is hard, and sometimes life just sucks: make the best of it! These could be some of the best years of your life if you let them 🙂 it’s all up to you!
Sorry to not introduce my new blog, but here it is! “Drew Anne” is going to be a melting pot of my thoughts, musings and anything that makes my world go round. There will be more posts like this on my college experience and such, but also stay tuned for recipes and more as I get into the swing of things. I hope you enjoyed this post, even if it is slightly lengthy, and have a wonderful weekend 🙂