By: Lauren Gray
Take a look around you. Really, take a look. You are in college, you are attending an awesome university pursuing an education that will eventually further you in all of your future endeavors no matter what they may be. This an opportunity to earn something that roughly 70 percent of Americans have not had the opportunity nor ability to attain in an environment that could not be more perfectly suited for you to do so. The time you spend here is invaluable and the potential for self improvement is immeasurable. My advice is to all of you is this: take full advantage of being here and absolutely live the eff out of your life! Here are a few tips to help you do just that.
As university students, we are so fortunate to have programs on campus that facilitate our opportunities to travel while learning. This is hands down one of the best ways to expand your horizons and do something that is absolutely spectacular. Become more culturally diverse, learn a new language and understand just how great our world is. You can see some amazing sights and have some amazing experiences that will last you a lifetime. Traveling and living in a foreign country is indescribable and even though I have yet to embark on this venture myself, I am absolutely planning on going trans-atlantic because of how incredible an opportunity it is.
Break hearts, and have yours broken too.
For most of us, this is the first time we are able to decide for ourselves how to navigate relationships (at least without the threat of mom looming over our cell phones). This is the time to experience the wide range of emotions and lessons that come with adult romantic relationships. Let yourself be vulnerable and have a truly intimate moment with someone. Fall in love ridiculously hard, and to be less cliche about the whole experience, learn your limits. Start figuring out what you actually want in a partner. Learn just how much your own heart can hurt or how much you can give. Learn how to walk away from situations that are unhealthy and successfully communicate through conflicts. Experience what it’s like to hurt someone, and learn how to avoid doing that. Learn what it is like to truly, honestly, be alone. Value that time. All of the heartache and heart throbs that come with these experiences are a part of the joys of living, so do that, enjoy every awful, beautiful second of it.
Do something a 1,003 percent out of your comfort zone.
Are you an awful singer? Awesome, go to a Saturday night karaoke contest and sing a really awful Madonna song in front of a bunch of strangers. Want to get into shape but afraid of everyone watching you at Lombardi? Screw them, go to the Crossfit classes and be the loudest Crossfitter ever. If you’re really bad at math, take an intermediate math class and strengthen your skills. This life isn’t always about being comfortable, so don’t be! Take chances and force yourself to do things you never thought you would ever do, because you might find it was absolutely worth it in the end. Whether the outcome be that you acquired a new skill while gaining new-found confidence in your abilities, or you proved to everyone (but most importantly yourself) that you aren’t afraid to fail at something, I promise that you will look back and smile at your own bravery.
Get help when you need it.
You, me, us … we are all adults now and that means it’s time to put the big kid pants on and acknowledge when we aren’t doing well. The university has a number of resources for students covering everything from tutoring to mental health services. If you need help in a class go to the tutoring center. If you have time management issues, relationship issues, if you’re just stressed, or have problems much more significant than that, please, take care of yourself. Go to the counseling center or reach out to services or individuals who can get you the help you need, no matter how big or small. You deserve it. Part of living life to the fullest is taking care of yourself and you have all of the means to do so here.
Football games, basketball games, carnivals, clubs, movies at the Joe, pancake night (and D-Hop), running of the wolves, etcetera — go do all of those things! Once you graduate, these events stop happening so don’t be “too cool” for the giant bouncy castles on Duck Day. Try not to sleep in next year like I did when everyone goes to paint the “N.” Have an absolute blast with your friends cheering in the stands at one of our many sporting events. This is the last super fun and easy stop before the real world begins. Don’t miss out on being young and enjoying your time here at the university. Seriously. Have ALL OF the fun and create memories that will last you a lifetime.
I hope all of you have or will do at least MOST of the things on my list. Like I said, we are all here to better ourselves so take risks, take advantage of opportunity, and become the wonderful, beautiful people you are all meant to be.
Lauren gray studies Journalism. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.