As of this past May 20th I am a Boston College alumna. This title comes in many forms: I’m no longer a student but a full-time member of the working world, I’m moving from the city I have come to know and love (Boston) over the last four years to the city that never sleeps (New York City), I’m a veteran of college life and the college culture, and I’m an adventurer of the uncharted world past nearly two decades of schooling. This also means that if I could go back, if I could send a message in a bottle through these waters back to my freshman self, I’m not sure I would have enough paper or ambition to write something that could truly reach me. But if I could, this is what I would say.
Be your own kind of beautiful. The girl “group think” in college is one of those silent diseases that you often only discover after you’ve already worked out more than you need to in a given week, bought clothes that most likely do not reflect the message you want to put out there, and eat one too many salads at restaurants where you should be enjoying yourself and ordering that delicious salmon. Don’t let that be you. While the need to fit in in college is a need that screams at you in the back of your mind and in the thickest jungles of your nightmares do not give in. The truth is that most girls that fit in are camouflaging their natural beauty that would make them stand out. Say no, try something new, and do whatever you have to do to make yourself feel fulfilled on the inside, for that is where your true beauty lies.
You don’t have to rush. Relationships, your core classes, your entire experience. Take your time, and take it in. I’m not going to lie to you and say that these four years go by quickly – because frankly there are days that never end, and nights that pass too quickly. But they are four years of your beautiful life, and each moment is to be cherished for its lessons. Be open, always trace what you are doing or situations you find yourself in to what spiritual meaning makes itself known to you.
You don’t have to love your degree or your major, but you have to love what you do. Uncertainty is the big hairy monster that lurks in the halls around your academic counselor’s office, your dean’s building, and your academic department. It’s all a mask. Your degree can translate to be a lot of different trades, but what you do on a daily basis for a living is what’s important. At first I questioned my communications degree – I found social media to be shallow, and I found myself dancing with the uncertainty monster, wondering if I would ever find fulfillment through my impending career path. That’s when I remembered that if you write what is true, and the truth reaches people and touches their hearts, than a communications degree is just a paper ticket to happiness.
You alone are in charge of your happiness. Not your friends, not your adviser, not your professors. Say “no” if you need you time, or if there is something you would rather do that would lift your soul rather than necessarily your resume or GPA. You are the sole defender and guardian of your own happiness, and while many facets of the college culture may seduce you into leaving your post you do a disservice to yourself if you do. Join groups or clubs that interest you, even if you don’t know anyone. Explore – that’s what college is for, ultimately.
And no matter what, don’t ever, ever, under any circumstance, forget to enjoy yourself.
What do you think?
What would you tell your college self? What are your best college moments? Share your story in the comments section below.