So, this is it. After four long, tiring, difficult years I am finally at the end of my college education. While it may have been long, tiring and difficult, it was also very exciting and fun. And though I may have learned a lot about art and journalism, I learned even more about life.
This is the point in which I impart my “almost college graduate” wisdom to you, readers. Here it goes:
Get involved in something you think is important. For LYNAY, I was required to get 20 service hours per semester. My freshman year, I hopped around, volunteering at various organizations. While all of these organizations were doing great things, I did not feel like I was investing myself in them. Then I was invited to the Mission Church’s college program. Every Wednesday night, a group of college students go to government-funded apartments and play with the kids. It’s been an amazing experience, one of the best I’ve had throughout college. Push yourself to go out into the community and impact others’ lives.
Don’t let work/school get in the way of maintaining relationships. Whether that relationship is with your parents 2000 miles away or your boyfriend two houses down, don’t take it for granted. That relationship will help you fight through the rough times at work and/or school. Just as they will be there for you, make sure they know you will do the same.
Don’t be afraid to sound stupid trying to speak the language. When I studied abroad, I wanted to speak every language I heard. So, I learned little bits and pieces – just enough to ask for directions, help and toilet. I tried to use correct pronunciation. Heaven knows I did not want to seem like a tourist because tourists are annoying. However, others in my group did not really care about this. Instead of trying to learn the language, they’d speak in English and use emphatic hand gestures to describe what they wanted.
“Can I have a little [hand signal for little] glass of water [hand in wave motion],” they’d say. “No bubbles [flick of the fingers], just flat [flat hand moving sideways].”
Needless to say, they annoyed every waiter/waitress we had while in Europe. So, don’t be that way. Wherever you are, really jump into the culture and learn about it. Try to speak their language, even if you feel silly doing it.
Be forgiving. It is so easy to hold grudges. We are hurt by something and we cling to it desperately and let it eat us up. Give it up to God. It’s not easy, I know. But it is possible and is so freeing.
So, there you have it. Those are a few things I figured out through my college years, some of which I only realized recently.