Life lessons I learned in college


Editor’s Note: Views expressed in guest columns and letters to the editor reflect the views of the author, not the views of The State News.

Never think you know someone based on a first impression. Within five minutes of meeting my best friend, I decided she was judgmental and that we were going to constantly butt heads. Five years later, I don’t know anyone else on the planet more like myself.

Burn no bridges. Own up to your shortcomings and mistakes and acknowledge when you’ve dropped the ball. It’s never as big of a deal as it is in your mind, and the perspective you demonstrate might end up being more important.

The countless inconveniences of not driving home or having to get my car the next day and every single penny of the near thousands of dollars I’ve spent on parking and cabs have been completely worth it to graduate without a DUI.

Take it easy on the energy drinks and stimulants. We’re still not sure what’s going to happen to people who’ve drunk Red Bull for 20 years.

Get out of your own head. You’ll never know the semantic meaning behind each text message, so stop trying to figure it out.

Sometimes you’re going to be the roommate doing dishes and paying the bills on time. Sometimes you’re going to be the one who parks everyone into the driveway for hours. Don’t let these things become bigger than they are, and try your best not to be a jerk.

Always shake someone’s hand when you meet him or her.

Drunk is not a mandatory state of being. As much as it can be a legitimate reason for your behavior, it’s not something you don’t have control over.

I doubted I should go into journalism. There are moments I hate writing so freaking much. Sometimes it’s horribly painful and I just want to slam my head against a wall. Passion is a loaded emotion; the stuff you love is always going to come with stuff that drives you crazy. Don’t let the negative aspects keep you from doing it.

You don’t have to convince the person in the wrong that you’re right. But listen to the reasons people give for disagreeing with you. It gives you perspective and always challenges your inherent beliefs.

If you’re debating between going and not going because of laziness or feeling awkward, always go. Those aren’t good reasons.

In everything you do in life, before any title, responsibility or belief set, you are first and foremost a human being, and so is everyone else. Act accordingly.

I have a deep admiration for those whose time management skills are so fine-tuned they get stuff done ahead of things such as game days and St. Patrick’s Day. While not how I operate, I certainly aspire to it. I’ll always be a last-minute, high-stress individual.

No matter how together I am, my socks likely won’t match and I’ll always have at least one outstanding parking ticket. And that’s OK. Don’t let the loose ends dominate how you think of yourself.
Be original. Let this environment deepen your desire to be different and grow your respect and curiosity for those who are different from you.

Every time I’ve been in a situation in which I’m the only person I know, I’ve learned a whole heck of a lot about who I am. Do this often. Reflect critically on how the culmination of your everyday routine is shaping you. You don’t have to be who you’ve always been, but complacency won’t enable change.

You’re going to get hurt. And you’re going to hurt people. Navigate through these catastrophic emotional messes with perspective of the other side of the coin.

College is a life phase like no other. We’re all learning and growing, and sometimes we don’t do it gracefully. People screw up; you don’t have to be their best friend, but holding on to the negativity of the situation is only detrimental to yourself.

I’ve known a lot of great people throughout college. Some I’ve lost touch with, and other friendships ended on sour notes. Looking back, I don’t remember the details of what we fought about. I still love these people. Harbor your feelings about the good times and let the bad ones go. Our friendship was so much greater than the reasons it ended; choose to remember it in that light.

Don’t smoke cigarettes. A lot of people are grossed out by people who smell like smoke, and you never know whom you’ll run into when smelling like ashtray.

Take care of yourselves and each other. If the drunkest girl at Rick’s were your friend, you’d hope someone would help get her a cab.

We’re all in this crazy experience together. Cheer each other on. Smile. Don’t say mean things about someone dressed oddly. Include people shyer than you. Help a fellow drunk find his or her cell phone or way home to Stoddard. If someone says something brilliant in class, tell him or her. Throw an extra quarter in that expired meter. Congratulate the successes of everyone and offer support always.

There is no traditional college experience. Quit faulting yourself for not making the most of your years here. You transferred or were in a bad relationship for too long — so what? OK, you worked crazy hours or didn’t take the time to make new friends. The only reason those choices weren’t worthwhile is if you didn’t learn something from choosing them. Cry no tears over choices not made.

Even though this is no longer where I go to school, this forever will be where I came from. And as I Sparty on into the future, I seriously couldn’t be prouder.

Abby Wood is a guest columnist at The State News and a journalism senior. Reach her at

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