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. [Read]
- Get involved in a local church. [Read]
- Live with people who will challenge you. [Read]
- You never know who will become a close friend. [Read]
- Take classes you enjoy, not just GPA boosters. [Read]
- Make new friends, but do not forget old ones. [Read]
- Keep family in the loop on a regular basis. [Read]
- Prioritize urgent, important, and fun. [Read]
- Serve somewhere. [Read]
- Learn from someone older, inside and outside your field of study. [Read]
- Have a general plan that is open to change. [Read]
- Rest! [Read]
I hope you have enjoyed reading my thoughts as much as I have enjoyed writing them. Looking back on the last four years has reminded me of how special of a time college is in life. It is an opportunity unlike anything else anyone will experience. Learning how to juggle independence and responsibility on one hand while cultivating relationships with a revolving door of people on the other hand is one of the most exhilarating times in life. It is such a formative part of the journey of life and shaping the person you will become as an adult. While the formulas, facts, techniques, and strategies you learn in the classroom are the reason you go to college in the first place, you end up learning more about how to live life. While knowing what books teach is valuable for your future, learning how to interact with people is invaluable. While you can put a price tag on tuition, you cannot put a price tag on the relationships you form. While education is the reason you go to college, you learn so much more in so many other areas. If you look at the list above, you will see only one focused on school itself. While learning is extremely important, what college offers really is a holistic experience—from relationships to learning how to live on your own—that, at the end of the day, changes you. Invest your time in people, opportunities, and things that matter. Because, after all the dust settles, life is about the relationships you have, not just the head-knowledge you accumulate. Make the most of college by making the most of people. It ends up leading to a richer, fuller life once you are finished.