Almost complete with my undergraduate studies, I have learned many valuable lessons through the people and incidents I have encountered in my four years of college. As I reflect on my years, I have noticed several life lessons that I will always remember. Although this article cannot articulate all my thoughts, here are a few things I would’ve told myself when I entered as a freshman.
You Are Completely Responsible for Yourself
Yes, you still have your friends and family to support you. However, they cannot remind you when to pay your bills, assignment deadlines, or how to schedule your classes. Furthermore, you have to allocate time and money for everything — social life, work, internships, and classes. The solution? Get a planner or a calendar on your phone to keep track of your life.
Put Yourself First
It may sound cliché, but you need to love yourself before you can love others. College is a very stressful place and at some point, your mental health may take a toll. You have to do activities that help you destress such as hiking, crafting, or even just a simple Netflix session at home; you will eventually find what activities helps you the most. You cannot study for 12 consecutive hours and pull an all-nighter — it will not work. Take a break and sleep even if it’s just an hour. Utilize the school’s resources when you need to! If you are a commuter, take a nap at the Geisel Library, The Zone, or Price Center.
Life can become very hectic and busy, and unfortunately, you cannot get the best of both worlds. Consider dropping a class even if it means you need to take summer classes or stay an extra quarter. It is completely okay to quit an internship if you notice it becoming too stressful and affecting your mental health — it is not the end of the world.
As an introvert, I tend to be on the quiet side and dreaded initiating conversations. However, I have learned that small talks are one of the best ways to meet new people. A simple “What did you do over the weekend?” can break the ice and start a new potential friendship. I have met countless people through this simple question. Most UC San Diego students I have met are talkative and are very open to meeting new people.
Whether it is a letter of recommendation or homework help, the more professors and classmates you acquaint with, the more likely they will help you succeed. Go to office hours, start a conversation to the person who is sitting next to you in class, and never be afraid to ask for help. I always thought that seeking assistance would trouble others, but you will be shocked to see how others are also struggling like you and there is absolutely no shame in asking for help.
You Will Learn From Others
In college, you will meet people with vast backgrounds and cultures instead of the same group you see in high school. You will learn to see situations from various perspectives instead of what is presented to you. People will come and go in your life, and sometimes you do not have control over the situation. However, know that there are thousands of people in college; you will meet more people and eventually find your lifelong friends.
One of the most important lessons I have learned is working in group projects. Each group member has their own strengths and weaknesses, and it is part of your job to understand these differences. Usually, most people do not want to lead a project, but if no one takes charge, nothing will get done. On several occasions, I had to be the introverted leader to delegate tasks and responsibilities. Through these experiences, I truly learned not only how to be a better communicator, but also understand the harsh reality that not everyone gives the same level of attention for their grades.
Cherish the happy memories you have made in college as these were some of the best years of your life that allowed you to grow as an individual. As my limited days at UCSD approach, I cannot express enough gratitude to everyone whom I have met and helped me throughout my undergraduate college years. I will forever be proud to say I am a Triton.