College surprised me.I didn't graduate early like I expected to, but I learned a lot from my four and half years. Here are some highlights.
College Taught Me…
- The Best is Yet to Come:
Ever since my junior year of high school I was told college would be great, these will be the best four years of your life, you'll make lifelong friends, you'll finally date, etc. While college had some great moments and some not so great ones, I'm ready for the years afterward, now that I'm a graduate. Let's be real, college is a glorified version of high school, only you're surrounded by hundreds of strangers. Between job hunting and relocating to a new city, I'd say the next few years are going to be better and full of challenges. I'm ready though.
- Friendships Change:
Of course as you and your friends from high school go your separate ways and often attend different universities, not all of those friendships will last or stay the same. Fortunately, I managed to stay close with my friends from high school and my hometown. Moving away from home really shows you who your true friends are and how to manage friendships in a new way. Friendships are two-way streets and making the time and effort to stay in touch is tricker than you think.
- You Change:
I was afraid college would change me into someone I wouldn't want to be. I was afraid to let go of who I was in high school, the quiet girl who floated through the halls. I was afraid I'd be forever pigeon holed into the stereotypical Asian role. College helped me embrace my heritage and grow as a young adult. I've changed, but for the better. I'm more sensitive in some regards, but I've always been empathetic to others. I'm less afraid to try new things and travel. I'm excited about changing over the next few years.
- To Leave My Comfort Zone:
College was all about putting myself out there and being open to new experiences and being more open-minded. I'm a straight-edge person, and while I never had the desire to try drugs or anything remotely reckless; I pushed myself to live. I rushed and went Greek, which was an experience that introduced me to some of my most important friends and confidants. It was also an experience that tested my self worth. Ultimately I dropped due to personal reasons at the time. I joined Mock Trial, which I loved and participated in for three years in high school. The experience was quite different from high school, much more laid-back, which was far from what I was used to. I had my fair share of unpleasant interactions with peers and people I thought were my friends. I lived with family and traveled states away to complete my senior internship. I grew so much in those two weeks away from college. All these experiences made my college experience what it was.
- You Don't Have to Have it Figured Out:
I began my freshman year as a Nutrition & Dietetics major and quickly switched to Accounting the second semester. Turns out, me and accounting were not simpatico. I then found myself drawn to English because my heart belongs to books and writing. Eventually the fear of being a struggling writer moved me to pursue a Psychology degree. Again, I love psychology and all, but I knew unless I attended medical school and became a psychiatrist, I would not be happy. The thought of another eight years in school was agonizing. Flash forward to how I thought I would be a genetic counselor. Well, biology II turned that against me. Finally, I found communication and managed to create two minors out of my writing and psychology courses. Yeah, I took longer than I would've liked. I certainly jumped around far more than I ever imagined I would. All the courses I took made me a more well-rounded and intelligent person, but it wasn't easy. Often I felt like I had failed myself because I couldn't decide on my future. But who's to say we have to know what we want to do in just two years (declaring a major). I'm going on two months post graduating and I still don't know 100 percent what I want to do with my life and my degree. And I'm okay with that. I'm okay with not knowing because I know I'll find my way. Everyone I've talked to about the future found their path eventually and I'll find mine one day.
- Dating is Overrated:
I didn't date in high school. Not necessarily by choice, but also it wasn't a big deal to me. Everyone told me dating in college would be easier. Eh, sure I went on a couple of dates my freshman year, but as it turns out, I wasn't missing much in high school. I ended up meeting my first and current boyfriend online. And besides, dating in today's age is more digital.
- Life Goes On:
A lot of life happens in your late teens and into your early 20s. My family dynamic changed significantly throughout college, but that didn't mean I dropped out of school or stopped being a student. The world doesn't stop just because you're not home. And while I wish I could change what happened, I know I wouldn't be who I am without having lived through everything that happened over the last few years. I've learned to focus on this thought: You can't have good without the bad.
All things considered: I enjoyed college and wouldn't change my experience.