When they say college is your biggest experience, they aren’t lying. You think that its just four years of school. Most freshman dread it and others, well they look forward to the freedom. It gives you life lessons that you could never learn anywhere else. It provides you the education you need to go further in life. It allows you to gain experience in something so much more. I want to take a look back on my four years at North Carolina State University. The prestigious wolf pack. The red and white from NC State. Its been a long 4 years but then again, its been 4 very short years. I just graduated 4 days ago. Over 5000 students in the Senior Class and 300 within the College of Natural Resources. So here are the life lessons of college that I have learned and will take with me into the future.
- Freshmen year is the year for transition. And when they say “Don’t room with your best friend”, they are absolutely right. Its one in a million in where rooming with your best friend from college actually works. You don’t really know someone until you live in a 10 by 15 room with one window with them. It can be truly exhausting and I lost a 3 year best friend within a couple months of attending college. We eventually came back around 1.5 years later but in the end, always listen to the advice they give you before signing up for a roommate.
- If given the opportunity to break the rules in college, don’t attempt it. Because that one time you try it will be that one time that you will be caught and if you aren’t caught, then you eventually will be. I learned the hard way but I wasn’t caught. I allowed my boyfriend at the time to stay the night with me and I’ll just say, I broke up with him the next day. I may not have been caught but in a way, I wish I had been.
- When times are hard, dont ever give up. During my freshmen year, I wanted so bad to transfer. Things were rough that year. But I took the advice from my RA and went to the counseling center and talked to someone and it made all the difference. I got the help I needed with just one session. If ever in doubt, just talk to someone. Its better than trying to fight it on your own.
- Make friends with the people that are given to you. My freshmen year, I made some of my best friends within that dorm. I learned many things from my RA and eventually wanted to be just like her. I was offered the RA position at the start of my second semester freshmen year and it was the best decision I have ever made in my life. My RA made such an impact on me and I dont know where I would have been without her. Same goes for the girls on my hall. I couldn’t tell you how many days I spent coloring on the floor or how many times, people would come and cry on my floor. No amount of fingers could count the number of laughs I had with the girls from my freshmen year. To this day, I talk to them as much as I can and hopefully we will remain in touch as the years pass.
- Make as many connections as you can. I cant tell you how many connections I made as an RA and as an AC. Ive made so many friends that are adults, teenagers and young adults all the same. I made friends with the higher levels of my career and I couldn’t tell you how much knowledge I gained from the Resident Directors over the years. I couldn’t tell you how many times I went to them for advice and in a way, within housing and my career, everyone has your back. Everyone knows exactly what you are going through and they were there to support me in any way that they could.
- Remind yourself that you are a professional and that sometimes pleasure has to wait. Be close friends to your staff and make everlasting bonds with them. But try not to ever fall for them. Ive actually learned that the hard way…more than once. In the end, it’ll only be awkward or hurtful for you in the end. If given the opportunity, wait it out. Don’t make rash decisions and sometimes you have to choose love over work. In this job, you cant have both.
- Never have regrets about what you do. It’ll only make you realize what could have been or the what ifs that you will never find out. My senior year, I made a lot of decisions based on my heart and not so much with my head. And I have no regrets about any of the decisions that I made. I may have lost my boyfriend of 18 months. I may have lost communication with one of the more understanding people Ive met this year. And I may have lost both in the end but I don’t regret the memories that I made this year. It made me realize so much more than I could have if I had just listened to my head. Therefore, make your decisions and never regret them in the end.
- Write down the stories that you are involved in. Sometimes its hard to imagine going through the things that others have gone through but in reality, you most likely have gone through it. There are many stories that I can tell you about my career and education at NC State and they are worth a million words. Take pictures and make memories. This is the only time you will have the opportunity to experience new things. Thats what college is for.
- Never do drugs. Ive seen so many people impacted by the abuse and use of drugs. The most tragic night that I was involved in dealt with lots of broken glass and even more blood. Its not worth it in the end. Its not worth losing your education. Not worth losing your friends and roommate. Its not worth your life being ended.
- Try your best. Never give up, even when it seems like nothing will change. Ive learned this lesson the most in my senior year and Im still learning it. And I will continue to try and make an impact even after I’ve graduated. I will never give up on my job. I never burned out. I never quit even when I was close to it.
- Never change your values and morals because thats “just the way it is.” I remember sitting in my bosses office at 2 am in the morning one time because I did not believe in what my job was attempting to do. I was raised a certain way. I gained values and morals and with the ways things were being handled, I wasn’t sure I could work for them anymore. I didn’t quit, obviously you would know by now, but don’t ever let something get the best of you. Speak up if you dont agree with what is being done.
- If you have the chance, join something. Anything and everything. I had the chance of being nominated into NRHH my sophomore year and I loved every minute of it. I started off at the top unlike most cases. I wanted to make an impact. I collaborated and initiated dozens of service opportunities and it made me think so much more about how I could make an impact. I also had the chance to join the Women’s Rugby team at NC State and they were the most life learning people I have ever met. They showed me so much more on how you treat yourself. That when you are knocked down, you get your ass back up and you keep playing. No matter how hurt you feel or how much pain you may be in, you can always get back and keep fighting. When given the chance to start something new, give it your best and it’ll be worth it. Ive met some amazing people on this team and I couldn’t have asked for a better team than this one.
- Find your true friends. You never know what friends will give up on you and which ones will be there for you every step of the way. Ive met so many people throughout housing and through my major, I couldn’t begin to tell you about each one. My career has led me to some amazing people who were there for me every step of the way. My staff’s throughout the year were influential and amazing and this year was the best staff of all. And although I dreaded this year because I was a senior in a freshman dorm, this was the best year of my career. I had some of the best residents I could have asked for. I had the best staff and RD that I could possibly imagine. I had some of the best training committee members as well as other RDs who helped me along the way, whether it was with a complicated resident or that tragic incident that night, they helped me through it physically and emotionally. As for my wildlife friends, we endured dendrology together and R class together and many more pointless classes. I couldn’t begin to fathom how many latin names we learned in the 4 years we have been in wildlife. I don’t even want to think about the amount of pictures we had to caption for mammology. Summer camp was the best experience and I connected to wildlife so much more though field experience and amazing friends who were there with me along the way. I couldn’t be blessed with more amazing friends and family during my four years at NC State.
- Learn to listen. Sometimes the smallest things are the biggest things. The small things can make us happy but they can also hurt you too. Sometimes we dont want to remember the small things because they remind us of the past. But I choose to remember everything, the good, the bad and the ugly. Always support your team, no matter how bad they suck. Remember Russell Wilson….well now he’s a super bowl champion quarterback. Never give up on the people who were there and always trust your instinct, even if it means you might have feelings for your very own boss *cough cough*. Go with the flow and don’t rush because time flies by when you are in college. And you cant get that time back. Tell people how you feel and tell them the truth. Never lie because it makes things to much harder.
- Last one- Be true to yourself. Its you that you have to live with. Make your own choices. Dont choose the major that’ll get you the most money. Dont ruin your career by making supid choices. Study hard and keep the good grades. It doesn’t feel so great when you lose your financial aid because you chose not to study. Keep up in class and go to office hours. Never doubt yourself and be happy with the person that you have become. And if you aren’t happy about it, choose to do something about it and make yourself the person you have always wanted to be.
So there you go. Thats all I have for you. Those are my lessons and Im sure I could think of more. So choose to heed this advice or not. This is me and my college life lessons.