It’s true when they say that not everything can be taught out of books. Looking back on these last four years, I realize how much time I spent doing homework, worrying about grades, pleasing my professors, studying for numerous tests & quizzes, & working endlessly on projects (oh, the media kit…PR majors will understand).
All of these things have prepared me to enter the workforce. By doing every single assignment, prepping for every exam, attending every lecture, etc., I have gained the knowledge I need to be successful in Public Relations. However; as I reflect on my years spent at Utica College and the educational wisdom I have, I also know that college has given me life lessons that I will always remember. Here are some:
- Who I am: This didn’t just occur in one big “aha!” or epiphany moment. This was a process that was exciting, interesting, and often times, very confusing. Through all of my major switches, successes, failures, and moving slowly, but surely out of my comfort zone, I began to recognize who I am & who I want to be. I learned what my interests were, what I was most passionate about, and I even discovered talents that I never knew I had.
- Who I’m not: Conversely, college made me realize who I wasn’t. I learned this by going through the three major switches. I learned that it is completely useless to be someone you’re not. By trying to be like other people, you stifle your own strengths & interests. I learned that by being myself, I’m a much happier, genuine & healthier person.
- How to dream: College taught me how to dream. Here I learned all about majors and careers I never knew existed. I never heard of Public Relations before discovering it through Utica College. I never knew how much I could fall in love with my major & how many opportunities there are and will be for me. These four years showed me a little taste of the real world & taught me how to dream beyond anything I could imagine.
- What I want: After 2.5 years of jumping from major to major, I finally settled in the place where I belong. As soon as I jumped into the PR field, I knew this was exactly what I was meant to do and I knew that I would be completely happy. All it took was some trial and error for me to dig a little deeper about my passion, what I want, & what I aspire to be.
- How to balance: One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is how to balance, how to prioritize. Life is all about balancing your job, family, friends, personal time, etc. College gave me a little glimpse into how to be better organized, balance fun and work, and put my priorities in order.
- How to trust the process of letting go: In college (& in life in general), there are all types of people you will meet. Some will be blessings, others will be lessons. I’ve had so many people blow in and out of my life in these last four years. Some have been breaths of fresh air – always supportive, always encouraging, & always positive. Some have also been negative, discouraging, and untrustworthy. However; I learned from those people. I learned how to build trust within myself. I learned how to let go of negativity, let go of the fake friends, and to stop worrying over people who didn’t matter. I learned that it is okay to burn bridges sometimes.
- How to accept others: Although I hated high school with a passion & would never ever wish to go back there in a million years, that place was my comfort zone. Everything & everyone was familiar. College tossed me into a whole new world filled with all different kinds of people. They weren’t all like me, they weren’t even all my age. I grew to appreciate and respect those amazing cultural differences.
- Who my real friends are: I have learned that in life, quality is so much more important than quantity. The truth is, friends will come and go. People from your past won’t always make it to your future, and that’s OKAY. I learned that friendship isn’t tied to who you party with or drink with. Friendship stems from so much more than that. I have friends who are like family. Some aren’t my age, but that’s the amazing thing. They don’t have to be.
- How to create my own opportunities: College has taught me that life doesn’t hand you anything. Jobs don’t fall on your lap, dreams just don’t happen. You have to work for things, you have to make things happen. Reach out, talk to people, connect & network, just do it!
- Live life with no regrets: Finally, I have learned that living with regrets is plain silly. We all have things that we wish we could change or that we wish we did differently, but why carry around that heaviness? If you’re living with regret, I give you permission to let them go. Imagine yourself holding your regrets like balloons in your hand. One by one, release them into the air.