Now doing my 6th year of College – I haven’t redone any year, I’ll explain later – I have realized that each year has taught me something different, whether it’s about of course what I studied, but also life lessons and myself. It might not seem obvious when you are living it, and these might apply to other situations that College of course, but I thought by sharing them with you, it might help some of you realize how much you’ve grown thanks to your experiences – good and bad.
1. Don’t try to be friends with everybody / please everybody and lose yourself in it –
Making friends and socializing is a big part of the whole “college experience”. You are supposed to go to parties, nights out, have a lot of friends etc… I am one of these people who used to think I was weird for not wanting to do so and should be more open. Wrong. Because of that I befriended the wrong people who used me and threw me like a dirty tissue when they didn’t need me anymore, and who made me lose sight of who I was and of my self-worth. Now, I way prefer to have a handful of friends, knowing we actually have things in common and that I can be who I am – not liking parties and going out not very often.
2. You know what you love so keep doing it –
College means you have to find something you like to do and could be your job after graduation. Sometimes it results in having to take classes you don’t enjoy very much but need to stick doing to get your degree. I know that for me, I didn’t know what I wanted to do as a job (it is still not cristal clear but I have a better idea) so I just decided to choose depending on what I liked.
I did a 2-year post-A level course in International Trade, then entered directly in the 2nd year of college studying applied foreign languages, spent the 3rd year as an Erasmus student at the University of Birmingham studying equivalent classes, did a Master 1 in Marketing and now doing the Master 2 International Manager in a international master. I sticked to what I liked as it came and feel like I have a broader knowledge.
3. You will meet people who influence you –
People you meet in life influence who you are, that’s a known fact. I have had the chance to work alongside an amazing team whilst doing an internship in Miami for the 1st year of my post-A level course. They were eager to teach me and learn from me, they were so nice and open-minded and always made sure I could learn something from the experience or from them. To this day I am so grateful for this experience with them. They made me a more confident person, gave me a lot of knowledge about their work and lives, and enabled me to get a truly incredible experience work-wise and life-wise.
4. Life is Tough but So Are You –
During most of my college-years, I’ve suffered quite a lot with anxiety. I’ve always been an anxious person, and had my first panic attack at 14. But it all started getting way worse when I entered college. I would get very intense anxiety daily and 3-4 panic attacks per weeks if not every day. It was a daily struggle as anxiety sufferers know, to even get out of bed and even more to get out of my student room.
It was a very hard, long inner work to get where I am today – better, not totally cured but way better than 3 years ago. It taught me that I am tougher than I thought I was. That I could actually work on myself and get better. It is still difficult at times, I have to be careful with my mental and physical health to make sure to stay on top of it. But hey, life is tough but so am I, right?
5. Though it Might Be Great, it Might Not Be For You –
I don’t like the fact that a lot of people think that if you are not going to college or don’t have a degree, you are not intelligent. I do think College is not for everybody and it should be okay to not want to go or to drop out if you think it’s not for you. Better to drop out and get a job than to spend years waisting money and being unhappy everyday.
6. It Takes Time To Grow –
You won’t become an adult overnight. Just because you are no longer living at your parents, doing your grocery shopping and having a rent to pay doesn’t mean you will get the hang of things like that. It took me a while to feel comfortable being “an adult” (I still don’t consider myself that, though) and feel more confident. It’s okay and normal if you feel like your struggling and don’t know what you are doing, it’s part of the process of growing up. Fake it ’till you make it, right?
7. It’s Okay Not To Know What You Want To Do Next –
Heck, I still don’t know exactly what I want to do for a living for pretty much the rest of my life! I think it is quite normal because as you grow, you get to know who you are better, what you like to do and what you are good at, what are your passions and what you are interested in. It will all become a bit clearer as the time pass.
8. You Need Lows to Appreciate The Highs –
Who doesn’t hate feeling uninspired, having low self-esteem, feeling like they are in a rut, like everything is going wrong, struggling… ?Well, I’ve come to notice that as horrible as they are, they make feeling great a whole lot better. Because you know what it’s like to feel bad, feeling good is oh so enjoyable and enables you to grow. You know it won’t last, you may learn what can trigger you feeling bad and prevent it from happening too often, or you can learn to accept the bad moments for they make the ups feel precious.
9. Change Can Be Good –
I am not crazy about change. I mean, it’s not that I don’t like experiencing new things, it’s just that not being in control triggers my anxiety. But I am now better at it. How? Because I’ve changed cities every year except one during my college years. And as much as the first few weeks can be challenging for me, it is quite enjoyable as well. You discover new places, people, means of transports, etc. and all of that challenges you and helps you to grow.
10. Appreciate the present and don’t worry too much about the future –
I am a huge planner. I always have at least five lists during the week. It makes me feel like I have more control over my life and that I am staying on top of things. But because of that, I am the type of person who plans ahead for everything. I want to know what we are doing precisely for each minute per day, what we’ll do during the week, what next month looks like and what I’ll do next year, what my five-year plan is, when I’ll get married, have kids etc…
And it used to be a problem. It used to be an anxiety trigger and would prevent me from sleeping at night because I didn’t know where I’d be doing my internship, where I’d live, etc… But I’ve learned, thanks to my boyfriend I have to say that I need to let go and “me laisser vivre’ as he says it (‘just live’). No matter how well you plan something, something unexpected will always come up.
11. It’s okay to just be you –
I would say the biggest thing I’ve learned is that being yourself is okay. You will discover who you are and what you like and dislike and it’s okay if it’s not what other people enjoy. It doesn’t mean you are worth less, that there is something wrong with you or that you need to change. It means that you are your own self and should be comfortable with who you are and wanting to improve yourself.
What have you learned from College or from your first few years of being an “adult”?