It's weird to the think that in the middle of celebrating the accomplishments of my senior-staff and commencement as a higher education practitioner, that I myself, graduated too, ten years ago. It's crazy to think about, but an entire decade has flown by since I walked across a stage receiving my undergraduate degree.
So because it's what I do, what advice would I give if somehow, present me can appear ten years ago on the shoulder of freshmen me, as I sat in a third floor dorm room in Cazenovia, NY? Well, here are ten things things I would offer (and an honest letter ) in the latest Pondering 10:
10. Seek Out The Classes You Want - After going through graduate school, and now halfway through a second post-graduate degree, I now understand the important of educational curiosity instead of required courses. And of course, I get student politics - you know, taking the class for the easy A to keep a scholarship. Regardless, there were classes and interests outside of my major I did not pursue for the reasons stated. Go explore those realms! Take advantage of your education. And truthfully, don't waste your time or money in areas of non-interest or politics.
9. Keep Your Faith and Nourish Your Faith - Always a hard one in the college realm. But truthfully, you still have your opportunity to do both. It's easy to allow yourself to believe it's hard to squeeze in time for spirituality or faith, but really, you're going to make it that way. You know better. It's too important - make time, because there will be plenty of it.
8. Quit Baseball Your Senior Year - Oh yes. Your senior year, you will get hurt pretty badly, and because you always try to do the right thing, you won't give in, you won't quit. Instead, you will give your all, and look to stay true to your teammates. None of it will matter. You won't enjoy it (the only reason you're on the team), and quite frankly, your teammates won't care. At this point, quit the team, enjoy senior year, and explore the various other interests (ie. sports radio show you wanted to do) you know you have before leaving.
7. Start Getting Gains - So yeah, you won't really learn how to lift and take take care of your own disabilities until you go through graduate school. And really, your baseball coaches have little idea about performance development. But still, use your campus gym more. You know you love rec and trust me, you'll end up there - believe it or not. Start getting those gains early, and those essentials you learn later on will come much quicker.
6. Don't Regret Wasted Time - You'll spend so much time kicking everyone's ass in MVP Baseball 2005 for the Playstation 2. Like, an enormous amount of time. Don't regret it, it'll be one of the few things in life where you'll have that feeling of never having a chance to lose. You'll be that good.
There will be other moments of wasting time - hanging out, playing dorm golf, napping, watching countless games and sporting events, talking about girls, or just kickin' it by discuss stupid things - again, enjoy it. Those kind of times won't ever happen again. And really, because of the size of the school you go to, you most likely won't stay close with any of these people - or even stay in contact.
5. Study Abroad - Very few people will understand you and your exposure to the world prior to college because of where you went to college - a PWI. So yes, you've travelled and stayed places internationally before college. You love the world, you love traveling, and you love learning about other cultures. You will think about it seriously, but I urge you - GO! Go study in the offering to spend a semester in England. You love England, and truthfully, it will offer 100% more diversity and culture than your campus will.
4. Punch the Keys For Fun - You're a writer. You love doing this. For some reason, you will convince yourself to "save" those inspirations for your papers. No. Don't do that. Punch the eyes on every feeling, emotion, and thought during this time. It'll be awesome to read back upon, and also, it will definitely help you during those times in getting through all that college stuff.
3. Embrace Your Emotions - Your campus is a hot bed for nonsense. Trust me. Besides the clear lack of cultural comprehension and competence, not to mention the fill of rumors and gossip that will consume the place, don't suppress it all. Even the negative ones. Embrace it, understand it, and learn from it. In the moments it calls for it, let others know how you feel.
2. Be Weird. Be Creative - You will soon learn you have a creative output and yes, you are a bit weird, and this might not fit into the norms of the circles and campus communities you will find yourself in. Embrace that gift from God, and nourish and develop it. It will be your calling card when you become a professional. Again, Trust me. Be weird. Normal is boring.
1. Explore Your Inner Social Activist - Finally, you've always been enamored with social justice. It's because of who you are, where you are from, and how you were raised. Many on your campus, unfortunately, won't understanding your positioning - first generation student, from low socioeconomic background, and of color. On your PWI campus, this will be EXTREMELY hard to navigate. Don't be afraid to embrace it. Don't stay silent. Call in others on microagressions, and for ignorant comments. Because you WILL hear them - ALOT. But don't suppress your passion for social justice. Let it go, and start your advocacy early.