One of the greatest things about college is the amount of opportunities that present themselves to you. As an incoming freshman, there will be hundreds of new things to get involved with, jobs to apply to, and fun activities you will want to attend. You will never run out of choices, and never get bored. However, sometimes all of these opportunities can swallow you up and before you know it you are at the end of your junior year and planning out your schedule for your last year of your undergraduate career, like I am.
This year I have learned several important things to keep in mind while flying through the four years of college and through the rest of our lives.
- First: it is perfectly OK to let go of things that once mattered to you, but seem to have taken the back-burner in the present.
- Second: It is OK to tell people “no”… especially if they are asking for help with something you don’t fully understand or genuinely don’t have time to help with.
- Third: Do what matters to you, not what matters to anyone else. In the end, all we have is ourselves so we might as well be focused on ourselves from the beginning.
All of these can be really difficult to do, especially when working with peers and friends in class work, organizations and jobs. To me, it is almost like learning to ride a bike; you have to put in the practice. If someone asks you to help with a project you have no interest in or do not have time to commit to, be honest with them. Even if their response isn’t ideal, they will understand in the end that you needed to do what was best for yourself.
I have had some firsthand experience with this in the past month or two as I am looking forward to my final year of being an Alma Scot.
I have felt myself stretched very thin this year between working several jobs, being a part of many organizations (with leadership positions) and trying to do well in my academics (all 18 credits of them!). I have let myself down this year, as I have not been able to give 100% in all that I do, and have seen a slight slip in my grades as well. However, I have learned so much in terms of practical life skills through being so involved and putting myself into so many different types of positions. In the end, I realized that one of my major time commitments had to go before next year—so that I had time for myself, time to focus on my future and time to enjoy my senior year.
Making the decision as to what had to go was probably the hardest decision I have made in my entire college career. I decided not to return as an RA in the fall. It took weeks to come to the decision, and I don’t think it will fully sink in until I am back on campus in September, not having to do the routine things I did as an RA.
Will I miss it? Of course! It has been such a great experience and I have learned so much and met so many people. I will miss my staff and the true friendships I have made with many of them, but I know that we will still remain close. I will miss being a part of many of the things RAs get to take part in and will even miss coming back to campus two weeks early for RA training – well, kinda.
Looking forward to next year, I will be making one major change in the sense of my living arrangement. I will no longer have my own room (which will be greatly missed!) but will instead be sharing a room with two others, and a house with 10 people total. I am moving into the Phi Sigma Sigma house! I figured that there will never be a chance in my life for me to live in a house with 9 other girls, all of whom I enjoy spending time with and will be happy to share space with. I might as well take advantage of it while I can because after next year who knows where I will be living or where my career will take me.
While it is easy to become too involved and overwhelmed with all of the great things going on around you all the time, I also will encourage you to take every chance to seize moments.
When you look back on parts of your life, what do you want to remember? Are you making memories that will come back to you quickly or is your time here blending into a blur of homework and classes and a liberal arts contortion of subjects? What do you want to remember? Think of those things each and every day as you making choices about what to do and where to go with your life. And most importantly, have some fun!