College. It’s a place where you learn. It’s also a place where you live. (Or survive on chocolate and minimal hours of sleep…but that’s the same thing.) In my first year of college, I have learned many things. However, most of them don’t relate to academics. Sure, I know more words than when I started sessions in the honors institute and I can play more difficult piano pieces than before I came to the conservatory, but honestly the biggest things that I have learned were not explicitly taught in my classes. And so, according to my enduring love of lists, here you go:
My Top Ten Lessons Learned in College (So Far):
- People are important. As an introvert, I tend to isolate myself when I am stressed or busy, but I’ve grown to realize that these are the times in which I need people most of all.
- Family is more important. I have always been close with my parents, but in moving to a new state all by my lonesome, I have grown to appreciate them even more. A simple phone call from my dad can make my day and a visit from my mom is a much-anticipated holiday. I even love texting my little brother who, as it turns out, is becoming not-so-little in my absence. And messages from my adorable cousins and care packages from my grandparents never fail to lift my spirits.
- Life is hard. Just when it seems I am balancing my huge to-do list, someone adds one more thing to it and I feel it beginning to topple. It’s hard. And it stinks. But keep on moving and keep reading this list because…
- You can handle more than you think. Last year, I thought I knew stress, with AP exams and graduation and prom and auditions… NOPE. In hindsight, that was nothing compared to juries, concerts every weekend, term papers that pop up out of nowhere, real-life-actual-paying jobs, etc., etc…. But somehow I am growing better able to handle it the longer I persevere. Weird, right?
- A meal of cafeteria ice cream, stir fry, and pizza eaten with friends is better than a meal of salad eaten alone. Seriously, it isn’t the most nutritious, but you’ll never remember the times you were sensible and ate healthy while working alone. Sometimes you won’t be able to run every day or eat a balanced diet, but there are more important things, although fitness is certainly not something to forget.
- Alone time must still be a priority. Yeah, I’ve been rambling about people time being good and all, but I do my best work alone and it is necessary to make that retreat from time to time to catch up on work or simply recharge with Netflix and an embarrassing amount of chocolate.
- Coffee. That is all. A friend of mine once confessed that he knew the cafeteria to put decaf coffee in the regular coffee dispenser sometimes and I just about strangled him. Coffee.
- Do not procrastinate. Ever. I honestly can’t say I know this from experience, but from watching friends pull all-nighters when I submitted my paper a week in advance, I can say procrastinating is a major bummer.
- Sleep is important. I tried to go without sleep just last week and caught the plague. So unless you want to sacrifice time to illness, you’d better make time for sleep.
- Things never go as planned. You might have to change your major or spend six hours on what should have been a short read or practice when you wanted to socialize or socialize when you’d planned to do homework. Make a plan, but don’t freak out when it does’t go right. Because it probably won’t.
- BONUS: You’re braver than you think. A year ago, I would never have driven on LA freeways alone, played organ for a university choir and symphony, entered a composition competition, etc. Take these reasonable risks and see what great things happen!
Sorry, I know that was incredibly cheesy, but I hadn’t posted in so long I figured I should write something to assure you all that I am still surviving. I’ll probably not write again until the semester ends and I go on another blogging rampage in my sudden wealth of free time.
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