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. [Read]
Know who to hold onto and who to keep open-handed.
Because college is a revolving door, you have to know who to hold onto and who to keep open-handed. I do not like the phrase “let go,” because it carries the connotation of dislike, disregard, and regret–at least in my mind. An open-handed relationship or friendship says, “I am going to value the time our paths cross now, but I am not going to suffocate you by holding onto what was in the future.” It is this fine line I had to learn to walk the hard way in college. I would meet people Freshmen year I connected with and shared great memories with, but, because life just happened, we no longer hung out as much or took the same classes or lived in the same area. It is not because I hated them or despised their friendship. It is because they were in my life for a time period and for a purpose. I still value the time and memories we share, but I understand not every person I ever met will be my best friend forever; it is impossible. But, there are people who you connect with that you have to hold onto with two white-knuckled hands. These are the people where there is a deeper connection that transcends time, location, and schedule. These are the people you want to keep close, and they want to keep you close. The relationship is on a different level; it is worth fighting for. You cannot make every relationship this way. It has to be mutually beneficial and understood. It is unhealthy to cling to every person you have ever met and never let them go. Learning how to live with open-handed relationships, appreciating and valuing the time in the present while knowing it might not last forever, is difficult, and balancing closed- and open-handed is even more difficult. But, I have found, if you can identify relationships for what they are it allows you fully enjoy and appreciate the relationship as a whole. Who knows, you might be surprised when one of those open-handed relationships comes back around and becomes someone you hold onto this time around.