5 Big Lessons I Learned In My Junior YearBy Stephanie Selby
May 19 2017, Published 3:00 a.m. ET
College is a series of learning and experiences, even if not every experience is a pretty one. Nonetheless, you’ve learned more about yourself, the world, and the other people in it.
You may have set goals and didn’t reach them quite yet, you and your roomie may have had a falling out, and you may have even conjured up a theory that your anthropology professor intentionally failed you because of some reason unknown to the universe. On the bright side though you joined a club on campus, started going to the gym like you promised you would, and made memories that will last a lifetime.
While the lessons you’ve learned may not have exposed themselves at the time of teaching, it is important to remember that everything in life happens for a reason. With that being said, here are some lessons I’ve learned during my junior year of college.
1. When opportunity knocks, ANSWER!
Truthfully, I had never heard of Her Agenda before the ambassadorship program. I had previously applied to the ESSENCE Magazine ambassadorship program and was hoping to share my Black Girl Magic experience with its readers while studying at a PWI. However, I didn’t get the position and felt discouraged. I thought my answers to their application prompts weren’t written well enough, I thought it was because I didn’t go to an HBCU. There were a million reasons why I thought I wasn’t good enough.
Shortly after I stumbled across a tweet from Her Agenda announcing the introduction of the College Ambassador Program. This was the true meaning behind, “When one door closes, another one opens.” I didn’t think twice about applying; I immediately opened my laptop, scoured the website, and read at least 10 articles. I wanted to get a feel of the kind of content Her Agenda was looking for, how I could tweak my resume to get noticed, and then I finally applied. It’s safe to say that I got the opportunity and I couldn’t be happier. Her Agenda is a network of wonderful women with real life stories, motivational attitudes, and with an atmosphere that makes you want to be your best self.
2. Some relationships dwindle so others can shine.
My mother has advised countless times that people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime; and you don’t get to choose which one it is. While I’ve experienced the loss of friendship before college, it didn’t occur to me how true that statement is. Some relationships, whether it be a friendship or an intimate one are meant to only teach you a lesson.
It could be a lesson about yourself, realizing your self-worth, becoming more vulnerable with yourself, or it can even teach you about others. Who to trust and what to trust them with, working with different personalities, and realizing that you can’t treat everyone the same. Although college flies by fairly quickly, it can feel as though you’ve known these people for so much longer. However should these relationships end, always hold on to the good memories, and remember that in the cycle of life, things come to an end so others can begin. Look forward and be open to making new connections.
3. Hard work does not go out of style.
You came to college with the intention of graduating with your desired degree. There can be many unforeseen circumstances that can discourage you from reaching that goal though. You may have had to take a semester off, retake a few courses, or personal problems may have caused you to become distracted. Whatever the reason is, it should only inspire you to work harder.
Maybe your only problem is raising your B+ to an A-, which is completely doable. But that means you have motivation—something to push you into spending more time in the library and less time in bed with Netflix. Something that will get you academic accolades, or have your family beaming with joy when you call to share the good news. Sure, the one person you should really make proud is yourself, but it always feels good when your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed or unaccounted for. The harder you work, the harder you can play; which brings me right into lesson four.
4. Make time for fun.
I am a homebody in every sense of the word. I enjoy binge watching Once Upon A Time on Netflix, doing DIY face masks, and baking cookies (all of this after I’ve finished my schoolwork, of course). However I’ve realized that I’m getting ready to be a senior in college, and I don’t want all of my memories to be of me wrapped in a comforter in bed every weekend.
I’ve made some good memories with even better people, but I sometimes forget that college can’t be all work and no play. That doesn’t mean going to parties every weekend with the same people and the same music, but explore your college town and make the best of it. If the city your school is in has a downtown area, look up some fun places to go (on a college budget) and make plans with your friends to try those places. Go wherever your feet, or metrocard, will take you. College doesn’t last forever, but the memories you make do, so make them count!
5. Your plans can change and that’s OK!
Remember when you were young and you wanted to be a doctor? Then next week you discovered how to cartwheel and wanted to be a gymnast? Then the next day you saw your mom do her makeup and wanted to be a makeup artist. Your imagination was racing, and people told you that you could be whatever you want to be so your mind was constantly changing. If it’s still changing, that’s just fine.
Don’t let anyone scare you into settling on one plan because you’re graduating soon. Keep dreaming and working toward making those dreams come true. You should of course think about a way to support yourself after graduation, but that doesn’t have to be your end all be all. Just because your degree says one thing, it doesn’t mean you’re tethered to it forever. Make sure you are happy with your decisions, even if others don’t necessarily see the end goal.
I could go on and on about the things I’ve learned from this year alone, but these are the gems that stuck out most. I am honored to have been able to share these thoughts with you all through Her Agenda, and I look forward to growing with this community of women, sharing my ideas, experience and advice with you all.