College provides life lessons

As young adults, we have the mind-set that we’re on top of the world. We may think we own the town we came from, we may believe we own the night or even be under the impression that nothing can touch us. But the truth is, as young adults, our lives have barely started. We know so little about the world around us, or who we will become.

Since I’ve left the sanctity of my small town, my small school and the life I’d grown comfortable with, I’ve learned some very important lessons. My family, friends, faith, career and even physical health have all experienced ups and downs.

These are areas that are all extremely important to me and my life. When I was younger, I was under the impression that I knew enough. I knew who I was and what I stood for, who my family and friends were and what I wanted from my career and my health. But life has a funny way of proving us wrong.

My faith is extremely important to me. It guides my morals and gives my life purpose. As I came to college and I didn’t have that support of faith around me constantly, my faith began to fade. I fell into pressures of society, and I could feel myself become someone I had always sworn I’d never be.

It took learning some lessons and growing up to realize that maybe I didn’t know everything there was to know. I needed to be my own person. Regardless of what others say or think, I needed to do what I knew and felt was right. No one should ever get to change who you are or sway your beliefs, just to tailor everyone else’s.

The dynamic of my family and friends has also been put to the test these past few years. My family and I have always been close, but never to the point where it was more of a friendship than a family dynamic.

As I’ve gotten older and experienced more trials in life, there have been arguments and miscommunications between us. While this is normal for any family, it has taught me and my ego to better trust the advice of my parents and sisters. It turns out they actually give some great advice, because they’ve experienced a lot of my situations before. That realization helped me grow closer to them, and I’m thankful for that.

As with many people in college, my circle of friends is different than what it once was. Moving to a new state has helped me realize who my true friends are and who truly cares to keep in touch. I’ve met some amazing people up here, and they’ve changed my life for the better. But I’ve also met some people who haven’t been an ideal influence, and that taught me to choose my friends wisely.

As far as career is concerned, I learned I need to follow my passion. I’ve changed majors and been faced with not fully knowing what I want to do with my life. It’s been hard at times and I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that there’s nothing wrong with not graduating in four years or not knowing what I want to do for a career. It’s okay to not want the same things that I once did in high school. I’ve joined the Medical Laboratory Science program, and while I still have a long way to go, I feel it’s where I belong. It may not be the coolest or most prestigious field, but I love it, and that’s what matters.

The same goes for my physical health. My body isn’t perfect and I am certainly no all-star, but I have found a passion for being physically active. In high school I felt pressured to participate in sports I no longer felt a passion for.

Regardless of whether it’s popular or not, it’s essential to do the things you love. Whether it’s your career path or a hobby you have, doing what you love will only make your life more enjoyable.

I don’t have the answers to everything; I’m still only 20. I didn’t come to college instantly knowing everything or have my life just fall into place. I’m still learning and growing and working toward things. But, I can say for certain that I have learned a lot about life, love and what it means to be happy.

Happiness isn’t about having everything in your life be perfect. But, if you can focus on all the little moments and appreciate the small victories, you’ll be a much happier person; that I can guarantee.

No one should ever be afraid to try something new or admit they were wrong. It’s important to be able to learn new things and be open to new possibilities. Allowing for these changes and new realizations in your life is the only way you will be able to grow as a person.

Mary Ochs is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].