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10 Things I wish I had known before college.

April 13th, 2008 at 06:11 am

Highschool graduation day. Rows of folding chairs and people that I had hoped never to meet again. Especially the backstabber sitting next to me whose last name happens to follow mine alphabetically. What was I thinking as I mindlessly waited for them to call out to me, hand me a peice of paper, and give me a pat on the back? "I cant wait to get the h*** out of here." What should have I been thinking?

Well, here's a list:

10. "I'm a wishy-washy teenage girl and will change my mind six million times before deciding on a major." As a naive 18 yr-old, I always thought I knew exactly what I wanted. I never gave myself enough room to explore, and I lost quite a bit of time because of it. I wish I would have known to stay tentative with my area of study. But of course, I got quite a bit of scholarship money from my department.

9. "Education is not spelled d-r-u-n-k." I was lucky to have gotten all of this out of my system in my first couple semesters (well before I turned 21, but that's beside the point). I never failed anything, but I certainly didn't do as well as I should have. That had more to do with my attitude, which brings us to...

8. "Because I will change your mind, and dont know what major I will end up with, I MAY GO TO GRADUATE SCHOOL." This is an important one because I had not thought twice about my GPA, or how many activities I was involved in outside of my classes. I worked, and I went to class, and pulled off decent grades without trying. I wish I had maintained the passion and effort I put into school now throughout my entire college career.

7. "There is no class on dating the male--or female--variety. So I should quit studying it so hard!" I have to say that I let myself get a bit distracted... haha. Well, that may be an understatement, but it made my life incredibly complicated. My grades suffered for this about as much as the constant drinking did, but I think it also taught me a few things about relationships. I think had I focused on school more than boys, I would have been better off.

6. "Following boys out of state is not an easy way to get out of mom's house... if we break up. And we will." I will preface this by saying that moving to PA is easily the best thing I've ever done for myself, but not for the reasons intended. I think had I just looked for a change, and followed my own dreams somewhere I would have been better off. Instead, I became dependent of someone who was ultimately NOT to be my future husband. Independence is a wonderful thing, but I didn't really accomplish it when I followed the ex. When we broke up, I was left more or less incapable of taking care of myself. There were things I should have definitely thought through a bit more.

5. "Education is an investment. And an expensive one." I was no stranger to the idea that college was expensive. What I had brainwashed into me, though, was that loans are evil, evil entities that suck the life right out of you and should be avoided at all costs (thanks mom). Now, I agree. haha. But I've found they are a necessary evil. The smartest thing I ever did in my college career was quit my job. I've been in financial hardship ever since, but it has allowed me to do so more-- like starting/joining clubs, going to outside lectures, and in essence allowing my to pump up my resume and CV like a woman on a mission. Getting into a good grad school will be invaluable, well, it'll pay off eventually. haha. 7 years down the road when I get that other fancy peice of paper that reads PhD.

4. "I have no idea who I am, and will change more every year." I was a pretty mature girl when I graduated high school. Now when I look back, I laugh. I had no clue what I wanted. I think it took me a while to adjust to the change. My first year of college I wore oscar meyer weiner men's PJ pants (this is why I'm called Pajama Mama) and a power rangers track jacket to class every day. And I did NOT live on campus. I can look at myself now and see a major difference. Not just because I get dressed in the morning, but my attitude about life, school, the world is drastically different. I'm not that silly girl anymore. I'm someone completely different.

3. "Letting a boy get in the way of me doing what I really want is unacceptable. And because he would, he is not worth being with." I almost made this number one. As I have regretted letting my ex tell me not to study abroad for a good portion of my college years. I listened. And I still have yet to leave the country. Because I was too afraid he would be right-- that we would break up. But I didn't realize then that if he is telling me not to do something that I really want to do because he's afraid we'll break up, we probably should. Because he was too selfish to love me.

2. "Love isn't always enough." This kind of goes along with number 3. Because boys were such an integral part of my life throughout college, I would have saved myself many hours of grief (that could have been used productively... say... for studying) had I known this little bit of information. It took me a few messy breakups to realize that you cant make things work just because you love someone. There are some people that are just incompatible. There are some that are just too selfish or stubborn. Also, love is not a feeling, it is an action-- that needs to be performed by BOTH parties.

1. "I will not be a child anymore one of these days." This is the one that I'm struggling with most right now. I'm not a kid anymore. I think many people even at my stage in education might still be, but I'm not. And it's strange. As a teenager, I had fantastical ideas of what it's like to be an "adult." I thought I already was one (far ahead of my years). But I'm starting to go through that transition, to really think things through, and I have enormous responsibility. I've had this blog since Feb 2006-- right before I first moved to PA. You all have seen my journey. You've been there. And I'm starting to be a grown-up now. It's scary. And it's wonderful, and beautiful. And I never would have expected it. I think I could have made much better decisions in my life, especially financial ones. Some of the mistakes I made in my teenage years are coming back to haunt me in my adult years. Lucky for me, I'm able to handle them. I guess that means I'm doing a good job as a grown-up, right?

4 Responses to “10 Things I wish I had known before college.”

  1. sillyoleme Says:

    Hi there, it looks like we had the same general idea about the whole "10 Things" post! I just saw yours when I published mine... at least I know it was a good idea now. Smile

  2. Apprentice Fun-Frugalist Says:

    Great post PJmama !!

    I find it hard to believe you are only 21 !! Your self-expression and self-awareness are impressive.

    I am a college graduate and can relate exactly to what you were saying about being sidetracked during college by drinking, partying etc. I think this is an universal experience. We all probably can recall some people in our college classes who didn't socialise as much as us, who studied much harder and who are now 10 yrs ahead of us career-wise. Honestly tho.... I wouldn't swap places with them :-)

    We only live once. We all make mistakes. The true litmus test of a successful life is how you pick yourself up when you fall (when there's no-one else looking) and not how you flaunt your successes.

    Just a quick point in relation to looking back on your teenage years... hindsight is a great thing.. wouldn't we all love to be able to relive them knowing what we know now ??? However, maturity can only be gained over time... you cannot rush the production of a fine wine or delicious whiskey. You did not intentionally go out to make bad decisions when you were 18. You made the best decisions you could with the resources and life experience available to you at that time. You did the best with what you had :-) We all do this every day.

    Please look back on that great teenage girl as a glowing work-in-progress and not a failure of some sort.

    Best Wishes

    Shane

  3. Amber Says:

    #3 happened to me causing me to fail the same class twice and paying out of state fees Frown

  4. Broken Arrow Says:

    These are wonderful insights, especially at 21. Smile

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