For those of us who go to a university that has a semester calendar, graduation is upon us. If you're an underclassman, then you're probably celebrating the end of the school year, but if you're graduating like I am, then this time is full of mixed emotions. I'm feeling proud and privileged to be graduating, excited for my life in a new city and for my career to begin. However, I'm also sad to be saying goodbye (for now!) to my friends and to the city where I've spent the last four years.
So, with all these emotions, it's necessary to reflect on my college career in order to sort through my thoughts and prepare to graduate into the next phase in life. Here are four reflections of my thoughts on the last four years - I hope you find them useful and encouraging!
1. I'm glad I took my classes seriously.
I really tried hard to always pay attention during my classes, and I believe it paid off. Not only was it easier to study when a test came around, but I actually absorbed the information for the long haul. Believe it or not, the skills and information I learned during my classes are already becoming useful as I pursue other things outside of college life.
2. I'm glad I got involved.
While I wasn't as involved with campus life as some students are, I'm really glad I seized the opportunities that I did. Universities offer countless clubs and activities to be involved with that not only beef up your resume but also give you the opportunity to meet new people. For example, I wrote and worked for our student-run newspaper, I worked with the on-campus literary journal, plus I worked at one of the campus coffee shops where I met every coffee addict on campus.
In addition to these, I also tried to regularly attend lectures and events hosted in the evenings. While I was never required to go to these, I often went to support my friends or simply because I was interested in the topic - and I'm so glad I did! These events were where I was exposed to so many new things and where tons of great conversations were started.
3. I'm glad I lived both on and off campus.
There are good and bad things about both living on and off campus, and I'm so thankful that I got to experience both. Living on campus is convenient and perfect for establishing a community of friends during the awesome craziness that is freshman year. I met some of my closest friends in my freshman hall, and I'm so glad we had that time together living in cramped quarters and living off of cafeteria food.
On the flipside, I'm also thankful that I spent my final two years of college living in a house with five other girls and experiencing the incredible freedom and responsibility that comes with living away from campus. And trust me, there's a vibrant off-campus community, too!
If you have the opportunity, I would highly encourage you to live in both settings - there's so much learning and growth that happens in each place, and I would never trade my experiences or the friendships I've made along the way.
4. I'm glad I chose a major that challenged me.
College is the time to pursue what you love, not necessarily what comes easily to you. I could have chosen to major in something that I was good at, but if I didn't enjoy it, too, then it wouldn't be as rewarding to complete my degree right now.
I'm so glad I chose to major in English, which pushed me to think in challenging new ways, to interact with texts that I thought were far beyond my comprehension, and above all to experiment with different writing styles to extend the boundaries of what I believed I was capable of creating.
So, I would encourage you to study a field that you love and that will challenge you to grow. There's nothing quite as rewarding as working hard on something you truly enjoy.
What do you think?
Are you graduating? What did you learn over your last years as a student? Please tell us! Are you an underclassmen? What are you wondering about from the perspective of someone who's graduating? Ask away! I'd love to engage in a conversation with you!