With only 25 days left in college, I am realizing how much time I spent working on papers, studying for exams and working on group projects - okay, maybe not as much time as I should have! - but most of the lessons I learned came from outside of the classroom.
Photo: Jackie Garcia
When I reflect on the last four years, I don’t think about copyright laws or Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: here are some things that stand out in my mind:
Put things into perspective
So maybe that Finance exam didn’t go so well, but don’t beat yourself up about it, because grades aren’t everything. The best thing to do is continue to move forward. Don’t just move forward and forget about it, but try to see where you went wrong, learn from it and move on. But take the time to wallow in some Halo Top if you need it first!
Learn how to be confident
When I came to college, I was excited to meet new people, but I was too nervous to do so! I had to learn how to be confident enough to go over to someone I didn’t know, introduce myself and start a conversation. By doing this, I gained confidence in myself. It didn’t happen overnight, but every time I did it, it got easier - and I made a ton of new friends. As a senior now, I am so glad that I made the first move in friendships because I have met so many incredible, driven people on my campus.
Photo: Jackie Garcia
Make your college town your home
Get out of the bubble! Go off campus and explore what your college town has to offer. I go to James Madison University, which is in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. It offers a great downtown area with a wide variety of restaurants and hiking trails for all levels. I have so many memories with my best friends of going to the puppy farm or to the top of a mountain to see the sunrise. It’s worth it to drive and get off campus for a bit to make your college town your home.
Never say no to an opportunity
You’re only in college once, so now is the time to try new things and say yes! Do you want to sing? Try out for acapella! Always wanted to feel like Cristiano Ronaldo? Try out for soccer! It doesn’t hurt to try and see what you like - you will figure out what it is you are the most passionate about. Another great thing about finding your niche is that you will meet people that have the same interests as you and form great friendships.
Step up for what you believe in
Own it! Being in college means you are on your own, and it is time to speak up for yourself and what you want. If you think you deserve a better grade on a paper than what you received, go to your professor’s office hours and tell them why. If you run into a conflict with someone, communicate with that person how you are feeling and find a solution that both of you can be happy with.
The most important lessons I have learned throughout these past four year has been to let go. We all make mistakes and wish we could go back and change certain things, but let the burden roll off your shoulders. Once you do that, you can live life with no regrets, and you will be so much happier.
My name is Jackie Garcia and I am 21 years old, majoring in Media Arts and Design. When I'm not busy with school or writing, I love to travel, dance and watch reruns of New Girl.