Hey guess what?! I'm graduating this week! It doesn't quite feel real yet, but I've spent a lot of time thinking about all that I've learned and experienced these last 4 years. It's been a long road, but the ups have definitely outweighed the downs!
1. 90% of my education didn't take place in a classroom
I couldn't tell you one thing I remember from Greek and Roman Literature if all the happiness in the world depended on it. I don't remember a thing from Astronomy. And I don't know when I'll ever find 20th Century Art and Theory useful, but I could go on for hours about all the things I learned from sitting in a hallway outside my apartment at midnight. Or really from any seemingly small moment where I was just talking to people. Those are the experiences that taught me who I am and who I want to be. What I value and what I want to do. Don't get me wrong, I learned a lot from my classes and tried a lot of things I wouldn't have otherwise experienced, but I feel like sometimes college students place too much emphasis on success in classes and miss opportunities to learn more important things outside of a classroom.
2. Surround yourself with the best people
Every semester brought new trials that I never imagined going through. My mom getting diagnosed with cancer. Passing out several times everyday. Getting severely concussed. One of my best friends passing away. The only way I made it through is because of the people I surrounded myself with. I've heard that you become like the 5 people you spend the most time with. I sure hope that's true, because they are pretty incredible. Surrounding myself with such good examples pushed me to do more and be better because of their influence.
3. People > grades
I don't think I can stress this enough. Yes, I understand that doing well in school is important and that your grades can affect your scholarship, applying for your program, or grad school, but people will always matter more. School eventually ends, but people will always matter. I have never regretted prioritizing people over an assignment. I remember talking to my mom once last semester about how worried I was about my grades and doing well enough. In typical mom fashion, she asked me, "did you do your best to be there for the people who needed you this week?" I had, and that's when I stopped worrying because I care so much more about people than some number called my GPA.
4. You can do anything but not everything
When 22309532 things are demanding your attention at the same time, you have to figure out what matters most. You are awesome, but you can't do it all. It can be really easy to get to the end of the day and be dismayed by all the things that remain on your to-do list, but I think we all need to give ourselves more credit for the many things we do get done. I'm really good at listing all the things I could/should be doing so I started choosing 3 things a day. If I accomplish more than that, well then that's great. But if not, I can feel good about having 3 less things to do the next day.
5. You can accomplish almost anything if you have a good enough playlist
I am a firm believer in the power of a good playlist. You can seriously hit me up for a music recommendation any time. Or just go look at my Spotify playlists. (:
6. You have to do you
Most of my college experience has been impacted by the people around me. I am surrounded by so many amazing examples. But here's the thing: just because somebody awesome is doing something awesome doesn't mean I have to do that thing to be awesome. This kind of goes back to the idea of "you can do anything but not everything" but there are so many wonderful things to do and you have to do the things that are the most you. I am a big believer that you are the happiest when you are the you-est.
7. You won't love every moment
I have had so many wonderful experiences and I have mostly loved these last few years. But it is not all sunshine and rainbows. You will not love every class. You will not get along perfectly with every roommate. You will never feel like you are getting enough sleep. You will consider giving up about 20397539 times, but that's okay. There are so many good things that will happen, I just think that it's important to remember that there will be days when you don't want to do anything except for eat popsicles and watch How I Met Your Mother.
8. Nobody else knows what they're doing either
I used to think college students were so old. Surely by the time I graduated, I would know what the heck I was doing, but *News Flash* I am winging it every single day. But so is everyone else. Yes we are adults and expected to make decisions that sound entirely too grown up, but we're all just figuring it out a little at a time. It doesn't matter how well your parents prepared you to live on your own, you will still feel like you don't know what you're doing with your life. It's fine.
9. Work hard, be kind, it will all work out
Sometimes it can be really hard to get caught up in the constant stream of endless deadlines. But it will eventually end. And as long as you work hard and are kind, everything will work out.
10. Literally everything ties back to the Gospel
I have loved so many things about being a student at BYU, but probably my most favorite thing that I wouldn't have experienced anywhere else is how much the Gospel ties into every subject, not just religion classes. Persuasive Writing, Medieval Art History, Astronomy, Sculpture, Biology. They all relate to the Gospel and I've loved making those connections.