Perspective is one of the most valuable insights I have gained in the last four years as an undergraduate student at Utah State University. I received my share of embarrassing exam grades, worked lousy jobs, lived with roommates who never did their dishes, and experienced really rough break-ups but as I think back to it, these have all been opportunities for my benefit. My years as an Aggie have been the most influential of my life and I would like to share my 7 insights for anyone seeking to make college (and life) a valuable experience:
- What you do matters. There are always consequences for what we do and the choices we makes each day but what I mean is in the way of long term consequences. During my first year of college, my classes were much more difficult than I anticipated them to be but I often skipped them to hang out on the quad with my friends instead. I stayed up past 2 a.m. almost every school night with my roommates and the boys across the hall rather than studying for my human anatomy exam, and I went to basketball games instead of my 7:30 p.m. study groups. If you ask for Aaron’s advice, he will tell you: “C’s get degrees, but C’s don’t get jobs!” I regretfully earned my share of C’s but even though I didn’t apply myself the way I knew I should have or could have my first year of college, these other adventuresome things I did mattered to me because I was having the time of my life. They are memories and friendships I will never forget.
- If I could do it over again, there’s a lot I would change or do differently in college. But at the same time, I have no regrets. I would have gone to class more often during my first and second years of school because even though it’s fun and easy to skip class, I recognized early on that I was skipping opportunities. I would have involved myself more in the LDS Institute program or danced for USU’s dance company another year. Having the desire to have done these few things differently but graduating with no regrets shows that I have grown. I am wiser in the sense that I can look back on my young adult years with perspective but be happy with who I am and what I have become.
- You can do hard things. I registered for the same math class four times throughout my college career before I could pass it. Humiliated and upset, I would convince myself semester after semester that “I’m not good at math,” or “I’m an English major; I don’t do math!” I passed math because I put my mind to it. I passed math because I wouldn’t allow it to be the reason I couldn’t graduate. It takes courage and immeasurable amounts of work but when things are hard, you can do them.
- I went to college to better myself. Betterment for one person may mean education. For another it may mean becoming a parent or a handful of other accomplishments. But, if we are stagnant or complacent, we rob ourselves of obtainable potential. My four years as a college student certainly bettered me as a human being. It bettered me as a daughter, a wife, as a future mother. I find peace and humble pride in knowing that my children can look up to me during their difficult times in life and think that because I accomplished something hard (college was hard at times for me), they can too. No matter what we choose to do, there are ways we can always better ourselves and those around us.
- Becoming an adult has taught me the value of time. If you were to ask Aaron again, he’d say: “If you wait until the last minute to do something, it only takes a minute!” A five page paper can easily require a week’s worth of attention but why do that when you can wait until the last minute so it literally only takes a minute?! I think it’s bad advice, so don’t take it too seriously 😉 Within the small amount of time between my high school graduation to my college graduation, so much has happened and changed. I gained and lost the best friendships, ate way too many bowls of Reese’s Puffs cereal, served in various church callings, had my heart broken, served a mission, became an aunt, met and married my husband, danced on two collegiate teams, started this blog, traveled to different cities and states, and earned a college degree. It is sad how fast time goes but in ten years from now, there is only one thing I know for sure: I will be ten years older. I’ve been pondering lately what is it I want to be in that ten year time period and I want to be a mother, a published author, a marathon runner, and a world traveler. Whether we work towards our goals for long term or not, everything we do has an affect on our life. It breaks my heart to know that this chapter of my life is over but it’s also exciting because there’s only more accomplishments to be made and life to be lived.
- Have FUN…and BE CONFIDENT! I never had a moment where I wasn’t having fun in college. Many times my friends and I went rope swinging at midnight, flew in helicopters, spent our weekends camping and hiking, I dated a plethora of different guys, and went on several Spring Break vacations. I’m grateful I never held back in my confidence during college because putting myself in new groups of people provided me with these incredible experiences.
- Rely on your Father in Heaven (and your patriarchal blessing). Our Father in Heaven is a creator. He has created everything we see and everything we do. As his children, we have the ability to create. We create our lives, our realities, and our heritage through choices and actions. Often times during college I needed God. I needed His strength and the understanding that He had faith in me to continue on and finish what I started at Utah State so I turned to my patriarchal blessing. As I faithfully and prayerfully studied it, pondered it, and strove to live worthy of His promises, every little detail of my life that felt so askew gently fell into its rightful place. I was able to choose a career path because of my blessing, and know who was to be my eternal companion. I was promised a deep understanding of the scriptures and that I gained during my service as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. There are other sacred promises that I know will one day be fulfilled as I continue to follow Him because I’ve already witnessed the miracles of His timing. God’s blessings are so real. He has a plan for us, but it is our choice whether to create that plan or not. I am grateful that God never allowed me to give up my goal to graduate college because what I’ve learned about relying on Him during these years will bless my life, the life of my husband, and one day my children.
Once an Aggie, always an Aggie.