I was flying to Dallas to put on an event for my new job and I pulled out my Moleskine mid-flight. While I felt cliché writing the words, I forced myself to write the words “What I learned in 4 years of college:” on one of the pages. As I stared out the window as we soared above the clouds, I tried to look back over four years of college and boil down the most important lessons I learned so I could share with others who were about to enter college, are in my same shoes, or need to be reminded. I jotted down a list of 13 on the flight. In no way is the even close to an exhaustive list, but, as I look over them, they define some of the most important moments of my college experience. While it is all to easy to write endless posts about each statement, I do not want to get lost in the meticulous explanations of rationale that led me to think why I do. I want to offer just enough structure and guidance for you to find yourself in my experiences, in hopes that something I have learned may resonate with you and offer a new perspective to view this season of life. Enjoy.
People will walk in and out of your life.
College is a revolving door of people. Freshman year is blur of introductions, names, and faces. Some you will see again next semester; some you will never see again on campus. I remember thinking every day I walked to class, there are people here I have never seen before even though I take the same route to class every day, and I will never see them ever again. At some level it can be a depressing thought, but it is also exhilarating. It is two sides of the same coin; it all depends on how you look at it. But the revolving door does not stop after Freshman year, it continues. Group projects come and go. Assigned seats change at the end of the semester. Sure, some of the faces stay the same if you are in a cohort, but that was not the case for me. People walked in and out of my life all the time. Some I wanted to stay longer and develop relationships; others I wanted to leave quicker and cut ties even faster. But what I learned in college is that you have to be okay with revolving faces and names. For someone who likes routine and stability, change is not a friend. College taught me not all change is bad. In fact, it is this change that makes college exciting. You never know who you are going to sit next to for the semester. You never know who you are going to be put in a group with to work. You never know what teacher might walk into that classroom. But, you only have a fixed amount of time before cycle starts again. I learned that I had to leave my best impression for however long I crossed paths with another person, because people are here one minute and gone the next. I did not have time to allow someone the time to discover who I was; I had to intentionally show them–hardworking, caring, peaceable, excellent, creative, etc. With such a short time to leave a mark on someone in the grand scheme of life, you have to be intentional with the people who walk in and out of your life. Because this might be the only interaction you might ever have with them. And that is okay.