Sunday, November 24, 2013

Dear 18 Year Old Me

Hi, my name is Mary Beth and I am really not good at keeping up a blog.  School has been crazy busy and I will have thoughts about blog posts I should write and then they never happen.  I really am going to try to be better about writing posts because I want to get into the habit before I leave for France! (which, btw, is in less than 2 months!)

I graduate in less than one month (24 days to be exact) and the other day I was reflecting on how much I have learned over the past 4 1/2 years.  Of course I have learned a lot academically, but I have learned a lot about myself and life during college as well.  I have decided to write this post as a list of advice to 18 year old me who is about to graduate from high school based on experiences/lessons that either I've gone through or seen my friends go through.

Can't believe this was 4 1/2 years ago. Honors graduate ceremony spring 2009

  • Cherish these moments you have with your high school friends before you go off to school.  Yes, you will stay friends with some but it will never be the same with most. 
  • On that note, branch out and make friends with people who aren't from your home town.  The point of college is to make new friends.
  • It's really scary going into a class for the first time and knowing no one but you will make friends. You might only be friends for that one semester (I call these temporary class acquaintances) but these people might be the key to you understanding the material and passing the class
  • Pick a good seat the first day of class.  Don't sit on the very back row, go ahead and be the nerd who sits on the front row.   You will pay more attention that way, trust me.
  • Pay attention in that intro to college class when your professor tells you how to drop a class and how course repeat works.  Stop thinking that "that will never apply to me" because it will.  High school might have been easy for you but college is a whole other ball park. 
  • It's okay to drop or repeat a class.  People may not talk about it often but you are not the only one to get overwhelmed by a class or your schedule. 
  • Go to your professors office hours, even if you understand all the material.  Making relationships with professors is crucial, especially when it comes to getting letters of recommendation.
  • It's okay to change your major.  You might even change it more than once.
  • Stop judging people because they are in greek life.  You never know, you might be in a sorority yourself some day.
  • It's okay to order pizza with your roommate at 2 am, just don't order pizza at 2 am every day.
  • Start taking care of your body, it's the only one you have.  Plus, gym sessions are great stress relievers and study breaks.
  •  It's okay to be by yourself.  Spend a Friday night alone in your bed with Netflix, eat lunch by yourself, if you can't be comfortable alone you'll never be comfortable with someone else.
  • Never dumb yourself down for a guy.  Ever.
  • Don't let a guy get in between you and a friend.  It can take best friends to enemies quickly and it can take a long time to get over.
  • It's okay to say no to things but don't be afraid of trying something new, even if it scares you a little.
  • Don't be afraid to stand up for what you believe in.
  • Pay attention to what is going on in the world around you, including politics.  You don't want to be that person in class who has no idea what everyone else is referring to.  It is a skill to be able to share your opinion without coming across as ignorant/ill informed. 
  • Get involved in a bible study immediately.  These girls will become some wonderful friends who will always be there with Godly advice & support
  • You will make all sorts of friendships in college.  Some will be temporary semester friends, some will be friends you only know because of your same major, some will be roommates.  Some will fade after one year and some will still be going strong 4 years later.  Friendships take work and are a 2 way street.  There are some people who will be your best friend one year and you won't talk to one year later except for the occasional run in. It's a sad reality but it's life, and it's okay. 
  • All-nighters aren't worth it - it's much better for you to get at least 4 hours of sleep. 
  • Don't subtweet about people. Also, twitter/fb/social media are not your diary. never treat them as such
  • Be kind to people - a little bit of kindness goes a long way
  • It's perfectly fine not to graduate in 4 years
  • It's also okay to have no idea what you want to do once you graduate.  Don't worry, you aren't alone
  • You don't have to put your GPA on your resume so don't let it stress you out too much. 
  • You are beautiful no matter your size - stop letting other people's judgments bring you down.
  • There are going to be times when you feel completely lost & alone but never forget that God & your parents are always on your side.
  • College is its own reality, it is not the real world.  Appreciate it for what it is.  If you want to skip class and sleep/watch Netflix all day, that's perfectly acceptable.  Your boss won't feel the same way about skipping work.
  • As you're getting older, so is everyone else.  Call your parents & family regularly. 
  • College is a time when you have the ability to learn about any subject you want to.  Take advantage of that.  Learn about other religions, cultures, science and philosophy.  While general ed classes seem ridiculous and pointless they will make you a more well rounded person.

I'm pretty sure I could list 100000 more pieces of advice but 30 seems like a good place to stop.  I can't believe finals start in 2 weeks and I'll be done with my undergraduate career in 17 days!  As ready as I am to move on to the next chapter in my life, I must say this has been a pretty great chapter.


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