By Monica Patel

Do more things to grow as an individual as opposed to focusing only on school

It gets exhausting waking up every morning to only do the exact same thing as yesterday. It is so easy to get caught up in a mundane college routine: class, eat, homework, sleep and repeat. Every. Single. Day. For me, this led to pure exhaustion. It was difficult to be motivated when all you wanted to do was sit on the couch and be bored for once. It took 3.5 semesters of doing the same things every day to realize that this isn’t the kind of life I want to live. It was time to add a little spice to my days!

Yes, school is important. Yes, a “good” GPA is important. However, contrary to popular belief, it is not the only thing that is important. Just because you are an excellent test taker doesn’t mean you will be an excellent professional. There is absolutely no point in having a 4.0 or aiming towards one if you neglect yourself and the things about yourself that may need some love and growth. Instead, let’s focus on skills, qualities, relationship-building, and living in the now. Your future employer will want to hire someone that can connect, problem-solve, think outside the box, and add sunshine into those difficult days to name a few. Sorry to be a bubble buster, but those skills can’t be taught in Wehr Chem or at 4 am at Raynor.

My point is, do your school work and enjoy the process of learning but don’t forget to be human, too. It is okay to “not feel it” one day and skip the reading assignment. It is okay to go out for tacos on a Tuesday despite your exam on Thursday. It is okay to sit in your room with friends laughing until your stomach hurts even though you have an 8 am the next day. Most importantly, it is okay to put yourself and your sanity before your GPA.

Don’t be sad when that group of friends you started college with falls apart.

It is sad and sometimes difficult to deal with in the moment. Here you are with a group that seemed so perfect and everything you dreamed of. You thought those girls/guys were going to be your bridesmaids/groomsmen. Then, what seems like is out of the blue, that group falls apart. It makes me laugh at the fact that I thought I was the only one that experienced this my freshman year. IT HAPPENS TO EVERYONE. It is normal part of college and life. People grow and things change. All this “hardship” does is open room for new people and exciting opportunities. So, don’t worry so much. People will always come and go. The only thing to remember is never forget what they taught you. I always live by the idea that everyone has something to teach you and that is what you should carry from those relationships.

So, that being said, love your own company!! Go on dates with yourself. Get dinner with yourself. Go to a coffee shop alone. Watch a movie alone. It is hard and not something that happens overnight. We’re all still working on this.

Learn to love spending time with yourself!

GET COMFORTALE BEING UNCOMFORTABLE: “Do hard things to make your life easy and easy things to make your life hard.”

I wouldn’t trade my initially uncomfortable experiences for the world. I met some of my best friends through these opportunities. I laughed the most, felt the most, and learned the most when I did those things that made me triple check with myself if I really wanted to do it.

Remember, life will make you feel uncomfortable. Life will throw opportunities your way that you don’t think you’re ready for. Remember, feeling uncomfortable is OKAY, and frankly, necessary to grow and explore new territory. Those opportunities that made me feel like my stomach was exploding with butterflies allowed to me to grow and develop skill sets I wouldn’t have imagined! So, say yes. Try things that aren’t normally characteristic of you. Try things that you may not feel 100% confident in. Do things that make you say, “I’ve never done this before” or “I’m not really sure what I’m doing here.” It is scary and not the easiest thing in the world. But, I can promise you one thing. When it’s all over and done with, I can guarantee you will be able to say “hey, that wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought” or even “wow, that was life changing.”

Just remember, “doubt kills more dreams that fear.” Half the battle is taking the first step. A trick I always use is to somehow commit to whatever event or opportunity I am uncomfortable with so that I can’t back down. Sign up for it when you have that ounce of courage. Say yes to your friend when you’re even remotely feeling it. That way, when it comes time for it and you feel like you want to back down, you can’t because you told someone you would do it. That sounds a litttttle absurd, but I promise you it works. We are less likely to want to disappoint others than ourselves.

It’s OKAY to feel overwhelmed

For the longest time, I thought I had to feel on top of school, work, friends, and life at all times. There is going to be days where you feel so buried in your emotions and responsibilities that you don’t even know where to start. It is okay to feel that way. Don’t try to push those feelings away. Accept them as they come and remind yourself that you’re not the only one that feels that way. Everyone, and yes I mean EVERYONE, have days that may feel impossible to get through. Just remember, it is a bad day, not a bad life.

Don’t be afraid to get help. Be so incredibly proud of yourself when you realize there is something that you need help with. That is not an easy thing to admit. There are so many resources on campus that can help with this. The Counseling Center, located in Holthusen Hall, second floor, is an amazing resource you can utilize. Just call (414) 288–7172 to make an appointment with a counselor. Some of the strongest people I know have used the counseling center. The Student Wellness Center, located in the 707 building across form Carpenter, offers wellness coaching. You can meet with a Peer Educator that can help you form goals and help guide you in the right direction to achieve those goals!

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