College: What I Wish I Did Differently

Four things I wish I did differently during my college years.

I never thought I would see the day that I wasn’t returning to school in the fall, but at last I made it!

I’m looking forward to enjoying pumpkin spice lattes and sweater weather (I know, I’m super basic) without the pressure of homework and exams. As a fresh college graduate, I’ve done a lot of reflecting on my college experience, and I want to share what I’ve come to realize now that my mind isn’t clouded by deadlines and overly-caffeinated stress.

For those starting college, continuing the journey, or just a curious college graduate wondering what others experience, I have a few lessons to share with you:

#1: I Wish I Took a Gap Year.

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A photo of me wearing the hoodie my parents got me after I officially enrolled at DePaul in 2014 — heavy Instagram filter and all.

We’re taught that once you graduate from high school, college in the next step. We’re told “It’s so hard to go back to school when you take a break.” It’s expected that we attend four continuous years of college right off the bat, but I’m here to tell you that I don’t agree with this.

When I enrolled at DePaul, I chose secondary education as my major because I thought that was what I was supposed to do. My family, friends and high school teachers assumed that I would go to college to become a teacher, which made me think I was supposed to do that. When I was applying to colleges, I didn’t know you could pick “undecided” as a major, and I never took the time to figure out what I actually wanted to study. After a year of avoiding secondary education classes (because my gut knew I didn’t want to be a teacher), I finally switched to ‘undecided’.

I used my first two years of college to complete my ‘gen ed’ requirements, and along the way, I discovered my love for fashion, makeup and all things lifestyle. After being a journalism major for three months and disliking it, I declared my major in public relations and advertising and it stuck. Although I eventually found a major I loved, I only spent two years studying it. If I had taken time off to figure out what I truly wanted to study, I would have had the opportunity to spend more time with my major.

#2: I Wish I Joined an Organization Sooner.

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The day I ran home to Alpha Omicron Pi – Fall 2016.

As a commuter, college life can get a little lonely. For two years, I drove to school, went to class, and drove back home. Wanting to find a sense of community on campus, I decided to join a sorority my junior year, and I am so happy I did. I met some of my best friends through my organization, and I am proud to be a part of something bigger than myself. I don’t regret joining my sorority as a junior; I only wish I did it earlier.

#3: I Wish I Paid Attention to My Creativity Side.

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Photo via Instagram.

Don’t get me wrong – school, working and doing internships are really important parts of the college experience. However, I wish I spent more time doing the things I love. It took me until my senior year to pursue my creative dreams – blogging, social media and music – alongside my education and work life. I must say, doing so has been the best choice I have made thus far, and I plan to continue making time for the things I love.

#4: I Wish I Wasn’t So Hard On Myself.

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Senior year spring break in Dallas.

Some would call my magic act of balancing overtime in classes, a job, multiple internships, and sorority simply “overachieving”. I called it “doing what I need to do.” Now I believe it was neither.

After nights without sleep, canker sore breakouts (stress will do that to you!), multiple mental breakdowns, gallons of coffee and struggling to keep up with everything I put on my plate, I must say it wasn’t worth it. I accomplished a lot in the past few years, and I’m proud of myself for that. But because of the schedule I created for myself, I spent more time counting down the days until it was over rather than enjoying my time as a college student. College is hard, yes, but it’s also supposed to be enjoyable. My advice is to avoid pushing yourself to an unhealthy extent and slow down. Balancing a million things isn’t worth dreading every moment, and two months later, I’m still recovering from the stress overload.

2017, You Taught Me Some Things

2017 was crazy.

It was a tough year, full of life tests and confusion. But when I look back on 2017, I must say I’ve accomplished a lot. I raised my GPA to where I wanted it to be. I took on extra classes in order to graduate on time. I traveled to another country for the first time in my life. I had my first internship. I decided to learn to love myself, which is something I never thought I would be capable of even trying to do.

The best thing that came out of 2017 for me was growth. I feel like I am a better person because of this year. I’ve taken the initiative to improve my quality of life, and these are a few tips that have helped me grow throughout this year:

#1: If something doesn’t make you happy, leave it.

It’s simple: life is too short to waste time on things that don’t make you happy.

You dread working the job you hate? Quit it. A friend treats you poorly? Leave them. Something you used to love doesn’t give you the same joy as it used to? Find something new.

I’ve realized that I stick with the familiar, even if it makes me feel bad. I’m afraid of the unknown, so much so that I’ll put up with negative circumstances to avoid feeling uncomfortable or lost. But it’s not worth it. This year, I have only improved my life by leaving the negative behind. Holding on to lost causes are pointless, and it stunts personal growth.

#2: Some people will never change, and you don’t have to waste time trying to change them.

This is something I’ve reflected on for the majority of 2017. I think of relationships between people, internal qualities and the moves and mistakes we all make in our lives.

The hard truth is people won’t change unless they want to. The desire for change has to come from within. I think at some point in our lives, we all wish we could fix broken people, but we can’t. It isn’t our responsibility to change someone. Of course we can encourage it and express our concerns, but we are not responsible for anyone other than ourselves.

Realizing and accepting that this is out of my control allowed me to move on with my life. It isn’t that I don’t care; it’s that I can’t allow myself to sacrifice my sanity.

#3: It’s okay to be lost.

There is so much pressure on early 20-somethings to have our life together. We need to have a superb GPA, 8 internships on our resumes, 12 extra curricular activities, and 100 friends. We’re supposed to graduate from college and immediately start at a great new job, move into a place of our own, buy a car, get engaged, so on and so forth.

We’ve all heard it, and we all believe it at some point.

But the truth is everyone moves at their own pace. Just because one person has a $100,000 paying job, 10 travel plans for the next year, and engagement ring on their finger right after college doesn’t mean you have to. Life has a funny way of making things happen right when things are supposed to happen. Setting goals and working towards accomplishing them is more important (and more effective!) than competing with other people.

#4: Knowing what you don’t want is just as important as knowing what you do want.

I can even argue that knowing what you don’t want is more important than knowing what you do want.

This year, I’ve realized that I don’t actually know what I want. I feel like a lot of “my” standards are built off of what I’ve been told to expect. I have used this year to challenge those expectations and figure out what I don’t want in order to figure out what I need.

#5: It’s going to be okay.

There have been many times throughout the year that I have said to myself, “This is the end of me. It’s never going to get better. I will never move on from this moment.” (I’m not even trying to be dramatic. This is actual dialogue from my head.)

Plot twist! It’s not true. There is always a solution, and a new day will always come. Making mistakes and experiencing bad times is a part of life, but these moments don’t mark the end of your world. I promise you – and myself – that it will always be okay.

 

 

Welcome to the Journey

Hi! Welcome! I’m so glad you are here.

This is my first post on my new blog. I am beyond excited to begin the adventure of documenting my style, my thoughts, and my experiences. However, this is not my first rodeo. I had a blog during the spring of 2016, but I didn’t keep up with it.

I know the reason my former blog didn’t live for long. It was a compilation of what I thought was an acceptable fashion/lifestyle blog: cookie-cutter, aesthetically designed, and limited. I felt trapped by the self-titled “fashion/lifestyle” blog positioning. I struggled to create content that fit this mold because it wasn’t organic. While fashion is a big part of my life, it doesn’t make up my entire self. Inspiration sprouts in many places, and limiting your voice only leads to the demise of your success.

I envision this blog to be a well-rounded representation of my life, including (but not limited to!) fashion, beauty, travel, music, and reflection. Through this blog, I want to be everything that I am and learn to be even more than that.

It’s a journey. Join me?