The Stages of College

Looking back on my past four years it seems that every year has brought something different to my life. It may not seem it in your day to day life, but honestly everyone changes and grows up more than they have even noticed. I hadn’t really hit me how far I have come in life until I became a senior. The end of senior year calls for a time for reflection. Here, I will explain what each year of college has taught me.

FRESHMAN YEAR: This is the first time you need to figure out your own schedule. What works better for you, morning or night classes. I began to realize what it meant to be financially smart, because it felt awful calling my parents weekly for money. Freshman year taught me to end the high school judgmental crap, because in college (especially at Plymouth State) you need to have an open mind, or no one will like you. It teaches you to build trust in people, as you are just meeting the people who will be your family for the next four years. I also learned it is okay to ask for help when you need it, but when you really learn is when you are stuck learning to figure something out by yourself.

SOPHOMORE YEAR: Sophomore year I realized you will undoubtedly think some of the wrong people are the people you want to be friends with during your freshman year. You will get a stronger sense of what is really important to you, and you actually start thinking about what you might want to do after college, and how you will reach those goals. You begin looking to your teaches for advice, on all different levels. They are not your high school teachers, they sort of become friends to you. And surprisingly, these relationships make a bigger impact on your life than you expected. Some gen-eds, actually open your eyes up to other aspects of the world your major does not pay attention to. You begin to realize who your REAL friends from high school are.

JUNIOR YEAR: Over anything else, Junior year showed me what my strengths and weaknesses are (especially in my major). It opened my eyes to what I should stay away from in a career path, and what I should work towards more. You realize this is the year you need to work harder than you ever have, because it is the make it or break it year. You start to look at your resume, and you realize you need to work harder because other people are surpassing you. For me personally however, it was the time I realized that everything will work out the way it is supposed to. If I keep working hard enough, I will get what I deserve. It is the time you realize the impact you have made on some of your friends, and the impact they’ve made on you. This is the first time I had my own apartment, and I had to take more responsibility than I ever had. I learned to cook, and realized what my cleaning patterns really were and how it will effect me in the long run.

SENIOR YEAR: You realize how much you’ve changed. You realize how much you learned about yourself, and you become the best person you can truly be. You learn who your REAL friends are, and where you belong because this is who you want to spend the most time with before you part ways. You realize you don’t need to drink everyday, instead of trying to impress people with going out; you impress people with your school work. You learn the time flies, and you should never take anything for granted. Take everything as an experience. I realized that even with a job offer, your not sure exactly what we are going to do with the rest of our lives, but now we are getting thrown in the world to figure it out. I realized I am prepared. I realize how thankful I am for my education, my friends, and all the opportunities presented to me.

College has changed my life completely. If I hadn’t gone to college, there is no doubt in my mind I would be a completely different person than I am right now. Not only was it the best time of my life, but offered me the most valuable life lessons on such an individual basis. Each year of college brought new experiences that I will cherish and carry with me forever.

What Scares Me Most…

What scares me most? Failure. Entering the real world and living on your own means it is now up to you to figure everything out. It is time to take full responsibility for myself. It is these few things I am most nervous about.

  1. Finances. I will now be taking on my own bills, and my own student loans. However, I am only 21, I still will be spending my money on experiences I want.
  2. Working for a company that will not be made my career
  3. Moving to the wrong place
  4. Losing friends (from both college and home)
  5. No real summer vacation!
  6. No more “ultimate freedom”
  7. No more time to “date” for fun, this is the time in life to start getting serious.

Life is coming at me quick, and it is time to see this reality. Growing up came way to quick, can we rewind a few years?

The Monster In Our Heads

Fear is the monster in all of our heads. It is the reason that we question so many things. “What if I made the wrong job choice?” “What if I don’t make new friends here?” “What if I end up hating it and let myself and so many others around me down?” We spend our whole lives asking questions, and worrying. But if we are constantly doing that, how are we ever supposed to grow as humans, and expand our cultural knowledge?

At some point the self doubt has to stop. It is true, we are our own worst enemies. The only thing stopping us is ourselves. We have to trust in the way of the universe.

I had always thought college was the biggest decision of my life. I was wrong. Figuring out what I want to do with my career for the rest of my life was definitely the biggest choice. It is something that is constantly hanging over me, especially with the fact that I am moving so far away. I keep thinking about how much will change when I come back in two years, how much I will miss out on.

However, I know for me I need to go out and experience something for myself. I need to experience something real, without the help of my family and friends. The monster in my head has to be tackled, self doubt has to disappear, and I need to believe in  the path layed out ahead of me.

After Getting A Job

So, there is no going around the fact that senior year of college is definitely the most stressful one.  On top of all the work you already have to do for your classes, you are also stuck with the overwhelming feeling that if you don’t get a job you have failed as being a college student. You try to come up with excuses at family parties as to what you will be doing after graduation, and even with your friends you will tend to set too high of aspirations for yourself.

Not only are you trying to keep up with your last semester of school work, but you are also trying to keep up with the social life you have known for the past four years.

After getting a job, your spirits completely change. Your days start to feel a little less stressful, and honestly if you miss a homework assignment it is no longer the end of the world. Instead of cringing every time the question, “what are your plans for after graduation?” is asked, you now look forward to the question. Today I got the question “what is new with you?” and it had never felt so good to be able to tell someone the most crucial thing that has happened in my life.

To all incoming seniors, I honestly suggest starting to look for jobs earlier rather than later. With the last semester of college, no one wants to sit inside and job search. The earlier, the better. Now I get to spend all my free time socializing, instead of spending hours on indeed.com.

What It Feels Like Entering Your Last Month (&1/2) of School….. EVER.

Well now that there is only a month of school left, the realization that it is the last time that I will see a lot of my closest friends is tearing me apart. I recently accepted a job across the country, so no I am not just saying this because we are leaving school, and we are all moving to places only a couple hours away from each other. People would have to pay thousands of dollars in order to come see me.

With this being said, you can only guess that school work is the last thing on my mind. I am constantly wishing I had more time with my friends, and even though I need the money all I can think about is how working a part time job is the last thing I want to be doing right now.

Every time I’m in the library, and I see other students hanging out with each other having a good time- I just want to get up and leave. I want to watch movies with my roommates every night we stay in, because I know I won’t be able to after these six weeks are over.

I stopped caring as much about the way the house is presented, or if no-one has been buying supplies we need for the house. It just doesn’t seem to matter to me as much anymore, all I want are smiles and laughs between my roommates. I don’t want any bad vibes for the rest of the year

Now that I am only six weeks away from leaving some of the best friends I have ever had, I am embracing all of the things I would usually get annoyed, or mad with. Knowing I have been lucky enough to live with people that have made me laugh harder than anyone else ever could, knowing they have seen the most disturbing parts of my life.. and they still accept me, it’s hard not to feel a form ecstasy when I walk into my dirty house.

These people have made me who I am, have changed my life forever. I will accept there dirty little habits for the next six weeks, knowing damn well I’ll miss them when I’m gone.

Why all seniors should move away from home after graduation

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When you enter College, you start to feel the first real step of independence. However, being broke and living only  a couple hours away from home gives you a pretty good excuse to visit your parents as much as possible. Your friends are dying to check out the party scene at your school, and you have been seeking their approval of your new friends.

College seems to be this thing we build up in our head… we will never see our friends at home again, everyone is going to change and drift away, my parents won’t be there for me to cook dinners and keep me on track with homework… blah blah blah.

However, when you get to college you realize its not like that at all. During the first two months of school, there is two long weekends most people go home for. You have a week long vacation in November. All the sudden it is December, and you have six weeks off from school in the winter that you spend at home. Then we are back for the short month of February, and before you know it, it is Spring Break. Then don’t forget Easter. After that, you only have a few weeks and it’s summer. In between that time, you have a lot of friends from  home coming to visit, and many of the other weekends you are leaving to visit them.

Therefore, we are not TRULY leaving home. We are distancing ourselves for a while, however bringing pieces of home to a new location, and often bring new friends, beliefs, and belongings back to a new place.

Moving FAR away after college, will sure cause you fear and anxiety. However, it’s a good kind of fear, a good kind kind of anxiety. You realize that now there is no running home to mom and dad when you get stressed out (or sick.. cough cough guilty). You realize that you are now a real adult. Living out completely on your own, and this gives you the true foundation for the rest of your life.  How you will provide for yourself, you realize what is important to you and what isn’t, and mostly you will get a sense of where you belong  in life.

Staying close to home after school, you will always meet people that know others from your past. If you would, you are always sort of living stuck in the sense of who you know, who you were, and the things you’ve done. When you move away, you start new. You meet people that have the ability to change you, because there’s no one  around to hold you back from becoming what you want to be. Plus, you’ll always be living with the thought of what could have been if you did decide to move away.

By taking the initiative to move far away, you are only bettering yourself. You are showing the world how independent and fearless you can be. It shows you are open to any new adventure, and in the long run will help you pursue career motives. People will admire you, and because of all the different views you have gotten you will become more innovative as well. I am a strong believer that there are people out in the world that we are destined to meet, and how can we be so sure that those people are in our hometowns?

Take the first step to the rest of your adventurous life, see what else the world has to offer you. See who else the world has to offer you. Most importantly, learn all the lessons and gain all the experience the world has to offer you. You only live one life, make it the best one it can be.

The Feeling of Accomplishment

So, March rolled around. I still haven’t had a successful interview, I was still unsure about what exactly I wanted to do.. meaning what type of position I wanted to be working in, where I wanted to be living, when I wanted to start, or how I would even pay for an apartment at the same time as paying back loans.

For as long as I can remember I have had a dream that I will move away after college. Both my parents are one of eight, and most of my family lives in New England. My cousins, more or less, are siblings of mine. Therefore, I knew that I would be back here later in life. I would miss them to much not to be. So I figured, instead of spending my whole life in New England I would get out for five or six years, and come back after I’ve experienced life somewhere else.

Dreams crushed. Every job I have looked at for an entry level position still requires two to three years of experience. My student loan statements came back, six months after graduation I will be paying nearly $900 dollars a month in loans. The jobs I was into did not offer relocation assistance. How would it be possible for me at all to be paying for an apartment AND $900 in loans a month? I started applying to jobs I wasn’t excited about, the feeling of doing something great with my life after college disappeared and all that I had left was the grief of never being able to do what I have so long dreamed of.

All of the sudden, it happened. I went to an interview I had been referred to from a friend. Upon entering the interview, something just felt right. I didn’t have any nerves, but instead I felt like I was right where I was supposed to be. The interviewer and I started out laughing, making jokes, and believe it or not discussing nail polish… not sure how that really ended up happening. While I was in the interview, I realized how intense and amazing this opportunity really was. The job was more than I had ever expected, and I went from it being at the bottom of my “list of jobs I want” all the way to the top. I got an offer to get flown out to Arizona to see if I like it there, because that is where I will spend two months training for this specific supply chain and sales position.

My dream felt alive again, I have not stopped smiling and making scenarios up in my head. The feeling of accomplishment, and growing up hit me. All my work has finally paid off, and my parents couldn’t be happier that someone else saw how much of an asset I could be to them. Though I have not accepted the job offer, I have never felt so proud of myself.

A few days ago I was considering myself a failure because everyone else seemed to be getting it together. But no time is too late to get a job. When it happens it just happens because you have to wait for something that is meant for you. Arizona is somewhere I never really imagined myself living, but now that I have an offer from a company I could definitely see myself working for.. I feel like this is what was meant to happen the entire time.
Another thing that goes to show… whats meant to be WILL BE. Stop worrying about everything, believe in yourself, and go with the flow. We will all accomplish everything we have ever dreamed of.. if it doesn’t come out of the blue like it did for me it will come from perseverance and confidence.