I only graduated college 8 months ago, but the nostalgia set in quickly, along with the things that I wished I had done differently. But the only thing that I would have absolutely hands down changed during my college years would be to stop being so hard on myself about every decision I made.
There’s a lot of pressure during college. You have to pick your major, or multiple majors and minors, stay involved, build your resume, potentially find someone you want to fall in love with and the struggle of dating in general. You constantly ask yourself if you should stay in more or try to live up that college life with endless frat parties and bar hopping. Or should you really say “screw it” and skip class again, or buckle down and study twice as hard even when your friends have fun plans going on? Are you going home too much or not enough? I feel like the most prominent never-ending question of college is “what do I do?” So, I’m here to tell you, and my past undergrad self, that whatever you choose to do is absolutely fine, as long as you are choosing it for yourself.
Let yourself fall way too hard for a guy who doesn’t see your worth. Let yourself get mad at your friends for justifiably asking you what the hell you’re doing and let yourself justify this pseudo-connection. Let yourself fall apart when it inevitably ends because he was dating three other girls or was secretly into your best friend. You will hurt, you will heal, and you will learn. You will learn what you deserve, and more importantly what you don’t deserve. You will learn about yourself and your insecurities so that you are better equipped to face them head-on. You will learn that no one can make you see what a treasure you truly are and you will learn that you can’t make anyone else see what a treasure you truly are either. You’ve got to see it for yourself.
Let yourself make some questionable health decisions. Stop exercising for a lengthy period of time while you gorge yourself on fast food and booze. Learn to love yourself regardless of your physical state and when you struggle to do that, learn that taking care of yourself is actually a lot more fun than neglecting your health.
Let yourself quit the extracurricular that you don’t enjoy. Let yourself fall in love with something that you do enjoy. Let yourself pick an area of study that you are actually interested in so that when you make those large tuition payments, you actually feel like you are buying something of worth. Care about what you are learning about. Appreciate that you might not have another chance where learning is your main job.
Let yourself befriend people who are completely different than you. Hear their political views, their religious views, their values and their upbringing. Appreciate who you are while exposing yourself to those who may help shape you into who you could become.
Let yourself hang out with the “wrong crowd.” Learn that these people have as much power as you give them. Understand that the habits they make and the views they hold are completely separate from you. Appreciate them for the lessons they’ve taught you.
Let yourself get it all wrong in college. Let yourself have nights where you feel on top of the world only to come crashing down the very next morning. Let yourself break your own heart, and let other people break your heart too. Let yourself have fun and let yourself stress out. The only way you are doing any of this incorrectly is if you are doing it in a way that you feel you are “supposed to”. You’re not supposed to do anything in college besides learn. Honestly, the best way to learn, is to let yourself get it all wrong.
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