Taking advantage of the college experience

Published 8:45 pm Saturday, July 25, 2015

As a general rule, I try not to be envious of other people. I know that though there are amazing aspects of my friends’ lives, there are also some not so amazing parts.

One of my friends in particular travels a lot for work. She gets to visit the beautiful state of Florida and eat scrumptious food all the time. It sounds perfect on the surface right? Well it also means she’s not at home a lot, and she may not be able to spend as much time with her fiancé as she’d like.

The fact is everyone’s life is like that, full of positives and negatives, and when I start to feel a little jealous about something, I try to put it in perspective.

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But it was very hard Tuesday night at the Lincoln County chapter of the Mississippi State Alumni Association’s send-off party. The truth was I was very jealous of all these soon to be freshmen and the exciting four (or more) years ahead of them.

It was certainly nostalgia that triggered it. I didn’t want to have their lives, but I wanted to rewind the clock on my own.

But since I can’t do that, here’s my unsolicited advice for college freshmen.

1. Become comfortable with yourself. I hate the phrase you don’t know who are because that phase of life is less about not knowing and more of not being comfortable with who you are. By then you have your own sense of humor, your own thought process, but you’re looking for acceptance from your peers and from yourself.

In the words of the beloved Dr. Suess, “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.” The sooner you learn to love your self, your sense of humor, your style, the quicker you’ll figure out life’s too short to be anything but yourself. And don’t forget it’s a process, and it’s a process that will constantly be evolving as you grow.

2. Learn to appreciate different types of intelligence. This was a difficult concept for me to grasp. Although I knew from my second semester at State that I hated biological engineering, I delayed changing my major to English because for some reason I had in my head that it would somehow prove that I’m not a smart as I thought I was.

In high school, you get categorized as either smart or not. In college, it’s what kind of smart you are that categorizes you. Some are numbers smart, some are science smart, some are philosophically smart, and some are languages smart. College is about finding your own niche and broadening your mind.

There are two ways to ensure you accomplish this: take classes that are outside your comfort zone and make friends that have different beliefs. You learn just as much from something you don’t agree with as you do from something you do. And always remember in a debate to remain calm and disagree in cordial way.

3. Finally, build a giant fort in your living room and watch movies with your friends all night. That is a little specific, but what I really mean is revisit your childhood. Act silly and stay up to late. Spend time with your friends and really get to know them.

Rewatch your favorite movies over and over again until you and your roommate start laughing before the funny part even starts. Go for walks, go out, stay in. Do whatever you feel like doing just because you can.

Sure college can be hard, but it’s so much harder if you’re doing it alone. Education doesn’t just come in the classroom, so look for your lessons every where.

Julia V. Pendley is the lifestyles editor of The Daily Leader.