Six years later, I finally walked that stage we’ve all been dreaming about for so long. I finally graduated college and am done with my education. Sort of. Law school to go!
I came. I saw. I conquered.
What does that mean? To be honest, I’ve been in college for six years and I still don’t know and I may never know. Did I conquer the school? The world? Myself? I don’t know. But I will share with you a few things I picked up on my journey to the stage.
- College isn’t for everyone and that is ok
- You may struggle because you cannot find your place in school and there is nothing wrong with that. Believe me. It took me six years to make it. I clearly bounced around a few times while trying to find my niche.
- It is okay to graduate with a different major you started with
- I started my college career as a pre-med student. Soon enough, I found hatred in every class I was taking. I then switched to Anthropology, and then to Engineering and then to Sociology. This is part of the reason my college life took as long as it did but that is okay. I finally graduated with a B.S. in Political Science and a minor in Anthropology.
- You are enough
- There were tiers of entitlement at my university. If you were in the business college, you were considered to be the best in school because of the amount of funding and opportunities that the business school has. If you were a dance major, you were nothing. That’s not true. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. Tell a business student to be a dance major and they wouldn’t survive. The arts would then be dead. Tell a dance major to be an engineer? It would never work. This world needs all types of people from engineers to chef, and teachers to researchers. Your major is a definition of who you are and that is enough for you and the world. You are no greater or lesser than any other student on campus because they cannot do what you can do and vice versa. Who you are is exactly what the University needs. They accepted you for a reason.
- Get Involved
- This was a huge problem for me in the beginning. I don’t like people. I know that sounds terrible but I’m not a social person. I have five close friends and that is all I need. But as I struggled through college, I was encouraged to get more involved. And I did. It made a world of a difference. When you begin to meet people like you that have the same goals in life, you begin to identify with them. Everyone works together to encourage one another to keep going and achieving those dreams. Everyone also learns from one another and opportunities arise you never thought would be possible. You feel encouraged to keep going and not give up when you are surrounded by people that also have the same career path as you.
- Now I don’t mean around the world because let’s face it, we’re broke college students. This goes back to getting involved. My senior year, I had the opportunity to travel all around the United States. I went to D.C., Waco, Dallas, and Memphis. I’m headed back to Dallas in about a month. Getting involved builds opportunities for you to capitalize on and make into something greater. You travel with people you have a bond with for the rest of your life. 18 hours in a car with four people will do that with you. Get involved. Travel. You won’t regret it.
- Minimizing Your Friend Circle
- When I think about this concept, I think about that old Girl Scouts song that goes “Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver and the other is gold.” So what do I mean by this? In college, you learn that you really do not need a large group of friends. In the past, the more friends you had, the cooler you were but this all changes in college. I started college with a group of 14 girls. Are we all still friends? Yes. Are we all best friends like we started? No. That is okay. One thing college taught me is that you need five good friends and one best friend and you will be fine. Because let’s be honest, you cannot keep up with your 50 best friends from high school while you’re busy in college. The more that you get involved, the more you find more people with the same mindset as you and get closer to them. These friendships that you make in college are ones that will last you a lifetime. Your closest friends will always be there supporting you no matter what the circumstances. Believe me.
- Take Time Off
- In other countries around the world, taking a gap year between high school and college is very normal but in the United States, it’s not. Do not be scared to take time off though. Sometimes you need to. It is okay to take a semester off in the middle of your college career. It is okay to step away from the crazy college life and take care of yourself. Please take care of yourself. I did. And you should too.
- Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
- Yes, I know, I keep saying get involved but I will keep saying it. Get involved with organizations that will help your future but take some risks as well. Try something new. Go and be part of something you never thought you would ever want to do. Join habitat for humanity even though you are an art major. Join the Student Government Association even though you are a bio major. You never what great things will come out of risks like these.
- Take Pictures
- I know this seems dumb seeing as how everyone has a camera phone these days but I’m serious. You never know when you will capture something amazing. You will look back at these memories years from now and have smile on your face and the memories are something you should never have to let go of.
- College will be the best however many years of your life. Don’t hole yourself up in the library and study all day and night. I understand that grades are important, especially those going to grad school but grades are not everything in college. Sometimes, the experiences that you have will enrich your life more than you could ever imagine. Go to party. Skip that class and go bowling. Hell, my school had a funeral for a squirrel that roamed campus. It’s amazing what happens when you are not only thinking about school.
You may say getting involved makes no difference in your life but I promise that it does. I would not have graduated if I was not around the people that I graduated with. And I would never have met those people if I had not gotten out of my comfort zone and gotten involved. Remember, every interaction, every experience you have ever had with someone, even as small as a smile while passing by, shapes who you are even in the tiniest way. So I did come. I did see. And I did conquer. How? Well I’ll leave that interpretation up to you.