The experience of going to college is like no other – we not only earn an education that lets us make something of our lives, we also gain a host of other advantages, like making new friends and learning lessons that hold us good stead for the rest of our lives. I wouldn’t call my four years at university the best of my life, although I do admit they helped make the rest of the years that followed be the best they could. And so here they are, the lessons I took with me from my days at college:
• Balance is everything: Some people consider college as a party that lasts for four years, while others walk through the same time span with their head buried in their books. There’s no need to go to such extreme ends of the scale when the middle is perfectly fine. I learned the hard way (after an almost disastrous freshman year) that if you want to succeed, both in college and in life, you must learn to do the perfect balancing act between work and pleasure. Sure, the party may look like fun, but there’ll always be other parties while you’ll never get your exams back. Make wise decisions at the right times, and you’ll have no cause for regret.
• It’s a small world: College is where most of us get to meet people from other cultures and countries; while some of us have no trouble accepting them with open arms, others do the shunning and ignoring act really well around them. The worst kinds are those that abuse and insult them. If you learn in college the valuable lesson of getting along with the people around you, no matter how different they seem to be, then you should have no problem in adopting the same attitude all through your life.
• Time is money: If you have a trouble with getting out of bed every morning, then it’s best to avoid those early classes. The same lesson applies to life as well – if you can’t get to work on time, it’s time to find a new job that suits your best working hours.
• Work pays: Holding a job during college helps you earn pocket money and pay for your books and tuition. It also teaches you to manage your time more efficiently. This comes in handy later in life when you’ll be juggling a family, kids, a full-time job, and your own needs at the same time.
• Independence from dependence: College was my first time away from home, mom and pop, and the life I knew for 17 years. Cutting those apron strings took a while, but I managed to fend for myself pretty well from my sophomore year. Life is similar; we’re forced to make changes at every stage, some pleasant, and others not. That first year at school taught me more than any book could, about adjusting to new situations and coping with them.
And so you see, the lessons you learn from college are not always found in books.
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