What I Learned From Fall 2018

I was going to title this “What I Learned From One Of The Worst Semesters Of My Life (so far),” but that seemed pretty long.

The first semester of my second year of college was absolutely horrible, especially academically. This is coming from a girl who had a crappy English teacher during her junior year of high school, and her English teacher got fired and went to jail two weeks later (it was a whole thing). The girl (me) had to adjust to a new teacher in the middle of the first semester of her junior year in high school.

Anyway, I could write about literally every horrible thing that occurred last semester, but I decided to share what I learned from those horrible things. Without the adversity of last semester, whether it be school related or not, I would not have these life lessons to share.

It doesn’t matter how hard you work; sometimes, if you’re not favored, you won’t get a good grade. I have absolutely no problem not being liked by a teacher; there are several people who do not like me for reasons I’m unaware of and don’t care to find out about. However, not liking a student should not affect how the teacher teaches and grades a student. I think all students, whether favored or not, should have equal treatment in how they are treated when they have a question and how their work is graded. Just like the nation, I am in classes that are divided. There are students who are favored and get better treatment than us students who are not favored and barely pass each semester every time. It should all be equal.

When you are grieving, talk; sometimes people are going through the same thing. I experienced loss of someone very special this past semester. Then I visited the cemetery for a family member who passed away two years ago. On the day she went with the Lord, I passed by the hospital my wonderful great-grandmother passed away at last year. All three of the previously stated events happened in the course of two months last semester, and I was not doing well during that time. I was grieving and hurting in silence. There were days when I would cry all the time; there were days when I was angry and hurt and would be mean, and there were days when I would sound happy but not look happy. For a while, everyone knew something was wrong, but no one knew what was going on because I didn’t want everyone knowing (I have a hard time trusting people). Once it started affecting my education and sleep and diet, I finally talked to someone, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. You never stop grieving, but there are people who can help you through the worst of it.

Eat and drink. This seems ridiculous, but it’s legit. Food and beverages provide energy, and as the semester progressed, I stopped eating and drinking, which meant I started losing energy. Losing energy didn’t necessarily affect my work, but it affected my work ethic. I didn’t feel like myself because of the energy loss, and as this progressed, I started to lose myself. It was kind of weird, and I never wanted to experience it again.

We all have our individual strengths. This is something I had to learn early in the semester and relearned at the end of the semester thanks to my major. Some people are great at creating plans in Revit while others are great at making models. Some people are great at creating concepts while others excel at simply writing about what their design/project/idea is. We all have our strengths and weaknesses when it comes to any sort of job or career or anything like that, and that was made very clear to me this past semester.

Go on more adventures. I only went on one adventure last semester, and it gave me the perfect amount of adrenaline I needed. During my first year of college, life was more enjoyable and nothing felt super draining because I went on more adventures, whether it was driving thirty minutes for cheesecake or running to Walmart at almost midnight for a video game thing. Time went by faster, and life felt more fulfilling if that makes any kind of sense. I would have survived last semester a little better if I went on more adventures and did more spontaneous things.

Smile at everyone you pass. Most of the time people either don’t respond, give you a dirty look, or try to figure out if they unknowingly slept with you. It doesn’t matter how they respond; smile for yourself, not them. Smiling makes you feel better, even when things feel like they are the crappiest they’ve ever been. When you smile, you are putting more positivity into the atmosphere, whether you know it or not. It puts you in a better mood and has the potential to put someone else in a better mood. I recommend smiling as much as your face can handle it (without forcing it).

Nothing is worth sacrificing your sleep. All-nighters ain’t it… chief. Missing a night of sleep to stress about a project or essay or speech, etc. is not worth it. Whatever you’re working on, you won’t be giving your best effort because you’re pretty much dead inside, whether you feel it or not. Sleep is vital for your health, and missing it for the stresses of school is not worth it — I promise. It’s already bad enough that most college students (or anyone who isn’t less than five) don’t get the recommended minimum of eight hours of sleep. People think I sleep too much because I take naps and go to bed at a reasonable hour most of the time, but it’s just me trying to take care of myself.

There is no such thing as the perfect friendship. I learned this during my winter break when I was reflecting on my semester and the few people I met in college who actually responded to my “Merry Christmas!” and “Happy New Year!” texts. In my mind, I painted a picture of the perfect college friend for me (no one can replace your childhood friend). She would always give me hugs and wouldn’t be scared to ask strangers to take our picture as I climb on her back and make a ridiculous face. Different scenarios like that flood my mind when I think about the friendships I crave in college. The key to having a memorable college experience is to have memorable college friends. I put a lot of pressure on myself to find those perfect people to create those memories, but I realized no friendship is perfect. Friendships are just like romantic relationships in the sense that they both will never be perfect and take work.

These are the life lessons I learned last semester. If you’re currently in college or were in college, are there any life lessons you learned and cherish?

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