As I've gotten home from school and decompressed and de-stressed over the past six weeks or so, I've come to realize how much college changes you and how much even one year can change you.
This past year has been a challenging one for sure, but it's been so incredibly rewarding. I think this past year, sophomore year, has been my favorite of the past two years, as freshman year was filled with a lot of adjustments to new college life and was really a huge year of change. Sophomore year has also been my most difficult year academically, although I'm positive junior year is coming right up to be even harder. I've enjoyed being able to take difficult courses and take on new roles that allow me to experience challenges and to learn so much about myself and the people around me.
My freshman year left me confused about Barnard, something that I've realized is so, so, so normal for college students finishing their first year, but I decided to try it again for another year, and I couldn't be happier that I did. Sure, I get frustrated with some things at Barnard, but for the most part, I know it's a perfect fit for me.
This past year, I've made an effort to work harder on my class/academic work, and my GPA is finally beginning to reflect that, which seems silly to be happy about, but after coming from a competitive high school to an even more competitive college, it becomes difficult to not compare yourself with the students around you.
I've also made an effort to socialize more and meet more people. Yes, college is for learning and getting a degree, but college is also the perfect time to fully explore yourself and the environment around you. I'm generally extroverted and loud, but making new friends is always difficult as you navigate through the first awkward weeks of friendship. This year, I've been so lucky to make so many more friends who I know I can seriously count on.
There are so many things I've learned this year; both about myself and others, but as I've come home and sunk back into my "old" habits and life, two lessons have continually come back up in my head:
1. You can't please everyone.
2. You can do anything, but not everything.
I've always been a bit of a people pleaser, I know this about myself and I fully admit it. I don't like seeing others fight and I really don't like disappointing others, something that I've let go of more recently, but has definitely resurfaced this year. This year in particular, I learned that you definitely can't please everyone and that it is more important to be confident in who you are and what you do that makes you happy instead. This isn't to say, ignore everyone around you, but you are wholly allowed to focus on yourself at times. You can still be a giving and caring and generous person who puts yourself first.
I've also learned, by many times biting off way more than I can chew, that it's impossible to do everything- it's insanely difficult to be a full-time student, do well in all your classes, rest enough everyday, eat healthfully every meal, exercise, spend time with your friends, work, and be a part of organizations on campus. Some people can do it and make it look effortless, and I just know I'm not one of those people. I have to pick what I want to focus on each and every day, and each day might be different. Some days, I might be willing to focus more on my position in my sorority, some days I'll focus on my homework, some days I'll focus on spending time with my friends, and sometimes I'll take time for myself, but it's impossible to do everything perfectly and with the same amount of passion everyday.
I won't ever deny that most growth has been hard- it's been so many long nights, a few tear-filled frustrations, and a lot of running on a little bit of empty. However, I wouldn't ever change the way I've spent this year, even if I was given the chance. The lessons I've learned this year have been so rewarding and the ways I've learned them have been so valuable.
Some other lessons I've learned this year:
If you have a good relationship with family, don't let that go.
Make the effort, because often others won't.
You are more important to take care of than anyone around you.
Making another friend never hurts.
Get off campus- your time is valuable and the new space will make you feel better.
Don't let anyone try to define the person you are - if they do, prove them wrong.
You will always seen more professional and confident if you seem like you have your act together.
Don't be afraid to ask for help- you will have a friend who will offer a shoulder to cry on.
You're allowed to be vulnerable, (it's really okay to have feelings and show them!!) and people will respect you for being honest about your feelings.
Alone time is crucial. You can turn down plans to just spend some time alone.
Get some sleep- coffee may be wonderful, but it can only help you so much.
Let yourself learn new things.
That's all today, folks! Hope you learned a little something about me and hope you got a little something out of this post.