I came into my undergraduate career bright-eyed, bushy tailed, and with no idea what to expect. I was full of hope and even some expectations. Even though college isn’t wilding different than what I originally imagined, I’ve learned and experienced many new things. These new things were a mixture of good moments, bad moments, and even some that fall on neither side. In this article, I will be sharing little lessons I’ve learned over the course of my undergrad years.
1. It’s okay to not have answers.
This one may seem obvious, but a little lesson I really had to learn was this. I initially thought by the time I graduated college, I’d know where I wanted to go, who I wanted to be, and where to go next. However, coming upon my senior year, I sometimes feel like I had more answers as
a freshman than I do now. College is a stepping stone to adulthood, but I think I falsely believed that adulthood meant “all-knowingness”. No one has all the answers and that’s okay; don’t expect to learn the meaning of life during college.
2. Friends come and go.
I used to believe that if I lost a friend, that means I did something wrong or that we fell out. Endings of friendships are not always terrible or negative. Actually, more times than not, my friendships ending has been a sign of maturity and growth. Everyone is doing a lot of developing and changing during undergrad. There are so many directions in which someone can grow. Sometimes that growth happens in different directions for even the closest of friends, which is natural. As you grow into yourself, you grow out of old habits and systems. Consequently, you also grow out of people too, but it’s a natural process that comes with growth.
3. Time is a resource.
It’s such a parent thing to say, but time truly does not grow on trees. When you have time, you have to utilize it properly. Time isn’t endless and life moves so fast. For example, one moment you’ll be meeting new friends at a Wash U event freshman year and the next moment, you’re going into senior year. Utilize your time at university in ways that benefit you and your personal goals the most. This can be inner growth and emotional healing, or it can be academically aiming for national scholarships. Whatever you choose to pursue, do what you believe is best for you.
4. Change is unavoidable.
Some of us view change or the shedding of old identities for new ones as a negative or painful experience. Change, however, comes along with growth. At first, change will be shocking and sneak up on you, making you realize there’s a change happening within yourself and effecting people around you. It can be scary when changing because you are unsure if you’re changing in the ways you’d hoped or wished. However, growth is progress and development regardless. While in university and beyond, it’s important to remember to embrace change as not to limit your own abilities.
Though there are many more from where that came from, these four lessons are some of the most important things I’ve learned during undergrad. I’m still learning more things every day about myself, the world, and how I play a role in my society. The older you get, the more you’ll learn–even if it’s in non-traditional or explicit ways. Take inspiration from the people around you, learn from your experiences, and enjoy your life as a student at Wash U! Four years won’t last forever, so utilize and enjoy them to the fullest.