Opinion: Mistakes made and lessons learned


As the end of the year draws closer, I’ve begun thinking more about how being a student at Simpson College for the last three years has impacted my life. I don’t have to worry about going into the real world yet, but thinking back on my time spent here, there are several things I have learned about myself and others that are applicable to life after graduation.

Coming into college, I thought I was well prepared for what was coming, but I was completely wrong. There were so many new things to join, people to meet and it was great, but completely and utterly overwhelming. Looking back, there is definitely some advice I would give myself.

  • Don’t take other people’s bull. There are people who will try to push you around and make you feel like you aren’t enough. Well, push back. You are a human being who deserves respect. You have a right to what you think and to not have someone belittle you. If someone is doing something you don’t like, learn to speak up whether it’s in defense of you or another person.
  • Even if you are the calmest person in the world, you will panic and you will freak out. I knew I was a pretty emotional person, but the last three years have really shown me how much. However, that isn’t an excuse. Learn to work with it or control it. Save freak outs for breaks; that is what they’re for.
  • Everyone has always told me my friends impact my actions and reactions. I always blew that off, but as my friends have changed, grown and left, I have realized how right those people were. Your friends in college shape you. Those you hang out with have a large influence on who you are. Chances are, your friends will change throughout college and that’s fine. Just know, who you are around will change you.
  • LEARN TO SAY NO. Say it loud and say it proud. This was one of my biggest problems coming into college and I still have that problem. I’m slowing learning, but I needed to start doing it earlier in my college career. No one can do everything and you shouldn’t try to. Find your niche and do something within that area you can devote yourself to. I’m not saying don’t try new things, but don’t overload yourself. Be great at one or two things, not just okay at 5 things.

College is hard and figuring out how to organize life and get through with only a couple bumps rather than broken bones is a high priority. However, don’t put so much stress on yourself. Being here is supposed to be fun. Life is going to get so much harder; take these four years and enjoy them.

Despite what I’ve put myself through, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Sure, I regret doing some of what I have, but it’s taught me about who I am and what I can handle (which is much less than I thought I could). Going for your degree should do the same thing. Shoot for whatever your dreams in college are, but know you can’t do everything and that’s okay.

I know a lot of these are things many of you have heard before, but take it to heart. If you don’t stand up for yourself and you spread yourself too thin, you are probably going to regret it. Leave some time for yourself and your needs. That’s my plan for next year, and I know I won’t regret it. Try doing it for yourself.