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The Best Lessons College Taught Me

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For those of you that have recently graduated from college — congratulations! You’ve just made it through some of your greatest years in life. Known for new experiences, new people, and a new way of life, college is one rite of passage that most people should not give up, if given the choice. Trust all of us college alumni when we say that there’s nothing we miss more than those years living in dorm rooms with complete strangers.

College for me was pretty eye-opening. From impromptu jam sessions with hallmates to random adventures through the neighborhoods of Philadelphia, some of the best overall lessons college has taught me was to test my own boundaries, always start the conversation, and allow room for a little recklessness in life.

My sophomore year of college I decided to join a sorority. Our numbers were low (around 8-10 of us at our school), so a lot of responsibility fell on each of our shoulders. I jumped into unchartered territory and ran for President right away. I knew I wanted to set new milestones for the organization and I decided to propel myself as a leader. College is the perfect time to set yourself up for daunting tasks and out-of-comfort-zone situations because everything you do during college is a sort-of “testing ground” for the real world. My experience in Greek Life showed me how to be diplomatic in situations, cater to everyone’s needs when in a leadership position, and how to take one for the team at times — all traits and lessons I use to this day.

Furthermore, in my opinion, life is too short to stay quiet all of the time. I learned a valuable lesson from a friend of mine during my senior year in college — always start the conversation. He would get stares and chuckles here and there, but his ability to go up to anyone and start a conversation was inspirational. I take that lesson from him and to this day I embrace awkward and quiet moments as an opportunity to speak up, say hi, and make new friends. You never know where one “hello” might land you personally or professionally.

As far as being reckless, you must know that college isn’t always about 4.0 grades and sleeping over in the library. You’re young and on your own for the first time in life. Be reckless! Make spontaneous choices! Change your major if you feel more passionate in another subject. Skip class for a new experience with new people. The list goes on and on. There’s always a sense of responsibility you should maintain, but college is your time to try new things, meet new people and create new memories. As a working adult, you’re not guaranteed the freedom of making unscripted choices, so you might as well experience anything and everything during college. Be unprepared, improv your way through hallways and have fun with your time at college. Sometimes the best lessons you learn are ones you learn from outside of the classroom.

What do you think is the most important thing to keep in mind for your future career during college years? Share with us in the comments!

Ask Levo Mentor Catherine Murphy, Writer for Mercy Ships, the most important thing she learned in college and how it contributes to her current position as a writer for a nonprofit!

Topics:

#Education College Career Advice
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I think that these are all very important lessons to take away from school, but more importantly, I think it's critical to have a fine line between being "reckless" and putting your education first! Be sure to balance it out and not sacrifice a great GPA for some spur the moment adventures.

I think that Melissa really underscores some of the great benefits from attending a four-year residential college. I would add that while learning all these great life lessons that she writes about, it's important to learn to balance them with the education for which you are paying!

I agree that there is more to the college experience than sitting in libraries and focusing purely on your GPA. College is an amazing experience, where you meet new people, find interesting new things to do, and learn a lot about yourself. However, it is important to balance work and play! Learning to balance priorities, more than anything, is what prepares you for life after college.

I've been trying to take advantage of the college experience, because I tend to get really stressed out at school, to the point that worrying about the future prevents me from relaxing and having fun. The college environment is so unique--it's such a wonderful mix of work and play--and it can be hard to strike the right balance. I think that sometimes, the more motivated, "workaholic" students need a little encouragement to have fun, and I'm glad Melissa is providing it here. College is really the least risky place to figure out what work-life balance fits you!

College really is the best four years of your life; you'll be learning even when you don't realize it. New experiences are sometimes better than sitting in your history class. Being part of organizations and taking the initiative to put yourself out there is SO important. Being heavily involved on campus opened my eyes to things I didn't know I was passionate about and really changed who I was. College is the best experience I have ever had and it taught me SO much! Great article!

Kiara Moore
Kiara Moore

This article really resonated with me! It emphasized great aspects of collegiate life that are really important for us to keep in mind. Take risks, take leaps, and take advantage of opportunities in college. Of course, it is important to balance your life and not compromise your education, but I think that she is absolutely correct about using college as a time to seek out opportunities and test uncharted waters. It can be a great place to make mistakes and learn from them. Education is extremely important and we must not shirk our responsibilities but there is something to be said about informal education. Life lessons that you encounter outside the classroom are also important.


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