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Monday, June 23, 2014

10 Things College Taught Me

Today I wanted to reflect about a few things that college taught me. This may be relatable for those of you who just graduated college, and it may be helpful for those of you about to attend or are attending currently. Either way, this is few of what college taught me in a nutshell:

1. I have people!!!

A lot of time when growing up you live in a smaller-ish town and feel like that is the world. Everyone you are surrounded by is a representation of how the world thinks, feels, acts, and exists. This is very disheartening when you don't feel like you fit in with this "world". But once I got to college I realized your town is not the world, just a small ameba attached to the world. There are actually people just like you who are interested in things you are in, passionate about what you are passionate about, and want to change what you want to change. And once you find these people, it's like heaven!

2. How to stand out

It's great having people in your life who understand you, but at the same time you don't want to conform to the little differences that do exist between you. To really make it in this world, you have to stand out. I learned in college that to stand out means to hold your ground about what you believe even if it's different than your friends. Maybe joining organizations, or creating your own regarding those beliefs. For example, I'm very passionate about women's issues, particularly in regards to body image and media's portrayal of women. Though my friends are very supportive of me, this isn't their passion (and that's okay!). Following my passion, I became an intern at the Women's Resource Center on my campus and even developed a weeklong program with events all focused toward loving your body. I was able to stand out from my friends and follow my passions, without letting my friends different interests hold me back.

3. How to stand up for what I want

Before college I would typically let things slide, things that were important to me that I really should have been fighting for. When in college I learned that if I wanted to make it any where in this world I had to stand up for what I wanted (and deserved) or else I'll be getting run over my entire life. Particular example of this is my grades. There were many times when my professors gave me one grade on paper and another in the grading book. I would recognize this when it came down to the end of the semester and the grade I calculated and they calculated didn't match up. I would speak to them during their office hours or through email and ask them to please check over my grade again because I believe there had been a mistake. I was never rude about this, or trying to get a grade higher than what I really deserved, I simply trying to get the right grade I already got placed into the grading book. A lot of the time this took extra work and more time than I care to share, but in the end I always got the grades I knew I rightfully deserved. Because of this I'm able to stand up for what I believe is right and not let anyone push me around.

4. Be kind... even to the "little people"

First off, I don't believe there are "little people", or people who have small, menial, unimportant, jobs in this world. Sincerely, every job is important and without them the "big jobs" wouldn't be possible. While at college I would notice how people would constantly be trying to network and get into the good graces of their professors, the university president, and other "big time" people on the college campus, then they would act rudely to the janitor's, the food staff, and the ground's keepers. To me, you have no idea who these people are, who they know, and why they are doing the job they are. People tend to think these are the people who have no education and are stuck in "pointless" jobs. But this is entirely not true! Everyone deserves kindness, for everyone places a certain role in life that is important, and without it, the entire picture you see before you would be different (and not in a good way).

5. How NOT to cook...

I spent my entire 4 years at college living in the dorms. My first two years I was just a regular resident and my last two years I was a Resident Assistant. I LOVED living in the dorms. My friends were always just a step down the hallway, and food was available at all hours of the day. However, this did not help me develop skills in the cooking world. Mind due, I'm not a terrible cook, but I certainly do not know how to come up with a  meal plan for a week, or put ingredients together. Most of the time I'll just cook up some frozen pizza or pasta and call that good. This is not a good way to step into life. For this reason, if you are still in college, I HIGHLY recommend living at least 1 year off so that you can build up these skills before you have to take on all the aspects of being a responsible adult.

6. Political debates do not have to foster screaming fights and severed relationships

Growing up all the adults around me, including the nightly news, was filled with political debates. Quickly I learned that both people think they are entirely correct and the other is a lunatic basket case who doesn't have a brain (not fair, but honest). This led me to hating politics and avoiding any type conversation that politics may be introduced. When I got to college however, this was a rather hard subject to avoid. Thankfully, I learned you can have a discussion about politics where you can gently agree to disagree. This I found to be such a relief. Through this experience I was able to learn much more about the world, consider new ideas, and embrace that not everyone thinks the same (and thank God for that!).

7. College is short, and so is life. Forget the assignments you have due, and enjoy the ride.

During my time at college I was very dedicated to my studies. But I learned quickly that this wasn't going to bring me any joy and isn't the complete point of college. College is an amazing time to further your education, focus on what you are interested in, meet people from around the world, and learn about who you are. The last of these you can't do hiding in away in your dorm room studying. Yes, there are times when you need to study and focus. But there are also many times when you need to forget all the assignments you have to complete, or how much sleep you are being deprived of and have a crazy experience with the amazing people around you. Moments like these will be gone before you know it, and you may never get them back.

8. You can do all your laundry in one load if you put them on cold. 

It's true! Nothing will blend and they'll still be clean. Plus, it saves you lots of money and time!

9. Differences doesn't mean bad. It simply means different.

Growing up I was taught that if anyone thought different than you, believed different things, or even walked to a different drum they were different and that was bad. How sorely mistaken I was. I'm so glad to have learned that just because someone sees the world differently, grew up in a different manner, or believes different things does not mean their difference is a bad difference. In one of my classes which discussed gender issues globally, I learned about the women of Bangladesh. I learned about all the ways they were being discriminated against and they started devising ways to seek their freedom. It was incredible what they did. So much so that global missions would come in and do news stories on them. Unfortunately, instead of focusing on the way the Bangladeshi women felt they were being discriminated against, the news interpreted their different way of living as discriminatory. This wasn't true. They loved their way of life and culture, but their was ways in which they were being treated that were not okay, under anyone's standards. It's sad to think people will hate on another person just because they didn't think, act, or believe the same things in the same way someone else would. This prevents growth, and stunts humanity. 

10. If you put your needs into the universe, the universe will bring you what you ask

This can be tricky, but from my own experience, this is 100% true. Now, if the desire is One Million Dollars, yes this might not occur. However, if you search for what you want, let other's know of your needs, and are aware of your surroundings, you would be amazed at the wonderful things the world will bring to you. 

So there you have it, 10 things I learned during college. I hope you guys could relate!

What is something you learned, or hope to learn, during college?