Both high school and college are times where all students attempt to figure out their lives. Getting through both is one accomplishment in and of itself, but learning meaningful lessons is a completely different story. While I have learned plenty of things in my classes, there are many other lessons that no professor or classmate could ever teach me:
1. Keeping a (color-coded) calendar is key
I’m the type of person who loves to be busy; when I’m not doing something, I go stir crazy. I’m also the type of person who gets (too) involved in extracurricular activities, whether that be student government, theatre (in high school), or being a tour guide (in college). On top of my
extracurricular commitments and meetings, I am obviously a student and have to attend class. It can be hard to keep track of everything that is going on, so I keep a color-coded calendar by which I basically live and breathe. Even when making plans with friends I’ve asked them to take a look at my Google Calendar to see if there’s a time that mutually works. Color-coding isn’t for everyone, but I highly suggest everyone keep some sort of calendar to stay on top of commitments and appointments.
2. Know your limits
This applies to a variety of contexts. In the same vein as lesson 1, I tend to over-commit myself, at which point I can’t give everything I do 100% of my energy. Throughout both high school and college I’ve had to let certain commitments go so I could focus on what was important to me and what I enjoyed the most.
Another part of this lesson applies to going to parties and drinking. Let’s face it – students in high school and college will experiment with alcohol and maybe other substances. I won’t get up on a soapbox and preach about how students shouldn’t be doing any of this, but I will say that knowing your limits with these things is incredibly important and even lifesaving.
3. Let certain things go
That one test you did poorly on? It will barely affect your GPA. That rude remark your friend made? You won’t remember it in a year. That meeting you led that could’ve been better? It won’t matter next week. There have inevitably been things in my life that didn’t go my way, as is the case with everyone. One of the hardest but most important lessons I’ve learned is that not everything matters, and if it will have a minute impact on my life, it is not important to harp on. Holding onto grudges and dwelling in the bad in life will make anyone unhappy, so what’s the point?
4. It’s okay not to have a plan
Anyone who knows me knows that I am extremely type A and love to have my life planned out. Well, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in college, it’s that it’s okay not to have a plan. Interests will change, opportunities will come out of the blue, and you will find new things to be passionate about. And that’s all okay. How am I, at 19-years-old, supposed to know what I want for the rest of my life? It’s hard to really plan out an entire life plan and realistically follow through with it (and if you can, kudos to you). Living in the moment and going with the flow – as cliché as those sayings are – will help you realize that taking things as they come might be better than trying to predict them.
5. You won’t be BFFs with everyone, but try to be civil
Again, this is another lesson that I’ve had trouble learning and I still don’t listen to from time to time. In classes, in clubs, in life I’ve come across people that, for whatever reason, I don’t mesh with. However, it’s important to try to be civil with everyone and treat everyone with some degree
of respect. This is especially important for those people you see on a day-to-day basis as to not make things awkward. Believe me, burning bridges is never good.
6. Not every dinner has to be a TV dinner.
Self-explanatory. Learning to cook might be the most important lesson on this list.
High school and college are important times in anyone’s life. That being said, not every lesson will come from an academic setting. The life lessons you learn are invaluable and can really only come with experience.
With all that said, still go to class!