What I Wish I Would've Known in College
With everyone going back to school, I thought it might be kind of fun to lay out all the things I wish I would have known in college. That time in your life can be such a transition with lots of decisions, so here I’ve listed what I’ve learned as a recent college grad:
1. You don’t have to have it all figured out.
I put a lot of pressure on myself in college, thinking I had to have everything mapped out. I needed an answer when people asked what I was going to be majoring in. I needed at least a picture with some new friends I met. I needed to have my classes and schedules all put together.
As time went on, I realized how much plans can change. I switched around my major/minors a ton, friends came and went, and a lot of those schedules were scratched out and replaced by new ones.
Let me be the one to tell you that it is perfectly okay to not know exactly what it is you want to do. Learn about yourself. Learn about what you like. Learn about what you don’t like. Try new things. Explore the world. Get to know people. But don’t feel like you need an answer for all things, because news flash… no one does.
2. Not being the best doesn’t mean you aren’t special.
You will not be the prettiest and brightest and funniest person in the room at all times. But not being the best in the metrics you lay out in your head does not mean you can’t make a difference exactly where you are.
I struggled with comparison when I started college. There were some people who seemed to be making friends like no other. There were others who got a better test score. But not being the best does not mean God can’t use you right where your feet are planted.
3. You can’t dwell on things that are in the past.
Oh man, I am a dweller. I was the one after a quiz who would sit there and stew about an answer I knew but got wrong. You’re going to make silly mistakes. You’re going to be wrong sometimes. You’re going to maybe not make the best decisions.
Don’t let the small stuff get to you. Don’t let it take away from the moment that you’re in. The past is the past. Learn from it. Grow. And move on.
4. Quitting something does not make you a quitter.
I got involved in a lot of different things in college. I started out a golfer. I was in band for a year. I did the dance team for a little bit. I was a wrestling manager. I led service trips across the country. I gave tours around campus. I raised money for the kiddos at the hospital.
I tried a lot of different things. And guess what? I didn’t stick with them all. I tried. I learned. I grew. And sometimes… I didn’t go back. I struggled hard with feeling like a quitter when deciding not to go back out for some things, but trying new things and finding out they’re not your true passions doesn’t make you a quitter or failure.
Explore. Try. Don’t put yourself in a box.
5. Your plans will change.
I came into college thinking I was going to graduate in 3 years. I had a boyfriend going into my freshman year, and it didn’t take long before I felt a tug on my heart from God telling me that he wasn’t the one. I then changed my major, and without looking or searching for a second, met my now husband.
You can’t always plan for what God has in store. Listen to your heart and what He’s calling you to. Plans change. So do people. Don’t be discouraged by this. Be excited.
6. Finding community is important.
It took me awhile to find a church I called home in college. But when I finally did, it made all the difference - in my relationship, in my attitude, in my faith. Community is important, and finding people who can support you and cheer you on and believe in the same things you believe is powerful.
Community is necessary.
7. You can’t be everyone’s cup of tea.
You might have a weird roommate. You might sit alone in the cafeteria a time or twelve. You might say something in class that really makes someone mad. The truth is that not everyone is going to like you. You are a wonderful cup of tea, but you’re not everyone’s cup of tea. Some like it hot. Some like it cold. You just be you. Genuine, authentic, and bold. :)
8. Your worth does not come from what you do.
Your worth is not rooted in your performance on the court or in the classroom. Your worth is rooted in not what you do, but in who you are. Work on that.
9. Make time for God.
Set aside intentional time to lean into Him. Talk to Him. Tell Him about your day. Tell Him about your struggles. Write to Him. Sing. Dance. Run. Whatever you have to do to feel connected. God is the one with the answers, not the boy across the hall. God will lead you to your purpose if you seek Him out and take His hand.
10. Set more than one alarm.
Haha there may have been a couple of times where I woke up 2 minutes before class… always set more than one alarm, friend. You’ll have some late nights and early mornings, so take care of yourself and be equipped.
Set those alarms. Be open to adventure. Make the most of the chaos. It truly is a time you’ll never forget.
I pray that you make the absolute most of it.