I am approaching my senior year in college. I recently went to one of my best friend's graduation ceremony (commencement). Watching her confidently walk up, shake hands with the dean, and get her diploma, made me realize how much we grow in 4 very short years.

College is prided to be the years of your life where you discover who you are, what your hobbies are, what skills you have, and meet life long friends.

While some of this is true. I think the process extends past undergrad. Why should 4 years define the rest of your life? That's a bit intimating! To think that the rest of your life is planned out with no room for error.

My perception of college strays from tradition. Rather than being guarded by parents, in a home you share, with people you see everyday. Where you are a link in a chain that holds the daily life of your family together. I find that college is where you are first exposed to what the world is like through the eyes as an individual.

You begin to realize that you have to rely on yourself. Advice my be a phone call, text, or Skype call away, but now  you own your own actions.

This is freeing for some, and terrifying for others. What I always tell first-year students is that they are not alone. There are x amount of people in your grade, that are experiencing the same exact emotions as you. Whether you're in nursing, businesses, or psychology, you're all going through this stage of your life together.

College has transformed me. Both mentally an physically. Coming from a high school with little cultural diversity, college felt like I was thrown into a melting pot. I've met and made friends with people from all over the world. People of different religion, and culture. People who have lived through war, others who have been discriminated against. They have attributed to reflecting on my own life, and staying humble. Because of them, my world view has widened.

Many people waltz out of commencement, bound on a path of their own making without question. I, on the other hand, am hoping to see that path, but am also prepared to create a new one. I don't feel obligated to figure out what I'm meant to do with my life, by the time I graduate. Nor does anyone else need to. Although some have, we are not all created to discover our destiny when we are 17-18 years old.

Looking back, I have used my time in college to unlock pieces of myself, some of which I never new existed. I discovered a love for stretching and yoga, a fondness for classical music, and the thrill of writing. You also find passions, like , photography, social awareness, ending poverty, film, and digital media. But keep in mind, that there isn't a puzzle to complete.

This is the time where you carve your voice. A spark ignites your opinions and you begin to feel strong standing by them. College spawns your individuality. It's at your door to welcome you at orientation. It becomes your shadow, unique, everlasting, and loyal.

Many people have been educated their whole life, 12 years(give or take), to be a part of a university. Many believe they know what to expect. Throw that ideology out the window. Keep an open mind, without clouds of stories you've heard. College is only the first step of your life transforming you.

Here is a quote to keep your thoughts rolling,

“I've learned one thing, and that's to quit worrying about stupid things. You have four years to be irresponsible here, relax. Work is for people with jobs. You'll never remember class time, but you'll remember the time you wasted hanging out with your friends. So stay out late. Go out with your friends on a Tuesday when you have a paper due on Wednesday. Spend money you don't have. Drink 'til sunrise. The work never ends, but college does...”
Tom Petty

How was your college experience? Not there yet? What do you think about the conceptions of of it?


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