This is an old piece I found in my Facebook notes. 😊 2011 seems so long ago.
As the end of my senior year slowly creeps upon me, I’m starting to look back at the things college has taught me. So many people convinced me beforehand that college was not the real world but indeed it is. I learned this the hard way. First day of freshman year, I was certain of two things, one I could finish college and two I knew everything there was to know about college. I was wrong on so many levels. College has taught me many valuable lessons and no overpriced book was needed. Here are a few things college has taught me and I’m sure others after me will learn the same lessons.
The number one lesson I got from my college experience was how to budget money. I can stretch a twenty further than anybody I know. I kid you not. In high school my job paid me one a week and in college that moved to once a month. Boy that was hard. I had to make tough decisions every month like if I wanted to eat takeout or buy soap or the new high heels at Rue21. I don’t care what anyone says, when you have dilemmas such as these, you are in the real world.
Second on my list of valuable lessons I’ve learned would definitely be tolerance. Being cooped up in a building with estrogen flying around, I’ve learned to have a higher level of tolerance for stupidity and ignorance. I’ll never forget the year I ran for student government vice president and at the height of our campaign, this one girl took the flyer I had given her and looked at me before crumbling it up. She tossed it in the trash, looked at me standing there and slammed her door in my face. I would have been fine with an “I don’t want to vote for you,” or “I’m voting for my friend.” I smiled before walking away screaming “Have a nice day.” One time I came in around 2am because I was out all night advocating to end homelessness and I discovered my roommate was in my bed with her boyfriend. I was in shock at first but instead of reacting like a wild animal on some reality television show I walked away and counted to ten. I could’ve chosen to respond much differently but I let both situations go.
Living with new people can be so difficult. Every year I’ve had a new set of roommates and I’ve welcomed the experience with open arms. Most of the time I’m all “just give it a shot.” And when that doesn’t work it turns into four months of silence between me and a roommate or an empty bed where said roommate would sleep. From 4AM fights to Oscar the Grouch, I am well prepared to live with just about anything or anyone.
I never knew there were so many perks to being a college student. You get to sleep in on the weekends, walk around in your pajamas on a regular and you get student discounts. Student discounts on food (for late night study sessions. Most of Oakland is half off after 11pm) and on clothing. When I discovered that for being a student, I could shop at various stores and they would give me a discount, I wanted to jump for joy. “It’s only on full priced items,” I remember the clerk at Charlotte Russe informing me as I smiled at her. She had become my angel that day. I walked out with a blue jean dress and jewelry. I love to shop and I love a discount when I can find one.
Cafeteria food is not necessarily the greatest thing to eat. Especially if you’re like me and don’t eat any red meat, your selections become very limited. It is possible to live off of junk food. I’ve done it for four years and avoided the freshman fifteen. Cups of noodles, frozen eggrolls, cookies and infinite supplies of apple juice and M&Ms kept me going. Every meal I created I’m pretty sure killed a nutritionist.
“Everything on Fifth goes downtown and everything on Forbes comes from downtown.” That little piece of knowledge would’ve been helpful for my first day of school. It would’ve helped me avoid so many unnecessary trips downtown. I caught the bus downtown instead of home but thankfully it circles back around. I made it home but I caught the scenic route. Thanks to Freshman year as a commuter, I mastered the bus system. Maybe not mastered but I’m so used to getting lost that I don’t panic anymore.
Time management is simple in college, I’ve come to accept that I simply have no downtime between extracurricular activities and classes. There have been many five AM nights filled with homework or the few times I’ve been told that the library was closing and I would have to layout my newspaper the next day. It’s so hard to do everything and just want time to relax. I used to do my homework ahead of time. Every Sunday I would complete all my assignments for the week but Fridays and Saturdays soon became filled with parties.
Last but not least, college has taught me that the friends I have made here will be my friends forever. Living with a bunch of random strangers, I have encountered some of the greatest kindhearted people I know. There have been so much laughter and craziness that these four years just seemed to fly by. It’s good to meet new people especially for a new journey like college. There have been so many goofy times like getting in the moving carts and attempting to ride down the hall, getting stuck in the elevator, the numerous pranks and going out for twelve hours straight. I will never forget when I thought everyone forgot my birthday and my friends surprised me with a cake. I was so excited I almost cried.
They have all been good times that I would not and could not trade for the world. I did not expect to leave college a different person. The girl from Freshman year is gone. She has grown into a beautiful, intelligent, young woman with a support system bigger than she had arrived with. She speaks up for herself and isn’t afraid of a challenge. I started here as a follower and I leave Carlow University as a leader.