Coming to college, I expected a lot of things. I had high expectations from the movies or TV shows, making it seem like college would be living the life and having the "college experience." I would make friends and have them for life. Be best friends with my roommate and live happily ever after, be partners in crime and have a maid of honor. We could have Taco Tuesdays and study for tests until all odd hours of the night together. I would finally get away from my annoying little brother and having to walk the dog at the demands of my mom. I can stay up as late as I want and go shopping at my pleasure. However, college isn't a static place where you find one person to be best friends with, or making your schedule completely independent of others. Not everything will work out as planned, but rolling with the punches is what makes the college experience all it's put up to be. I've made a list of six things that have changed this year and how it affected me. Looking back, a lot of this could have brought me down, but finding the positive things has made me enjoy college so much more and appreciate everything that happens. After all, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
1. Moving to Rochester, MN from Waunakee, WI. This is a pretty obvious change. I gained so much education, many friends, the experience of living in a city. I learned to be independent, saw places of MN I probably would have never seen otherwise and lived in a town that had already changed my life. Although I miss my family, I really do love living here and having such a different experience every single day. The skyways are amazing, the food is different and so readily available, and everything you could possibly need (except my family) is right here. This is nothing like living back home and it's so nice to live something different. I'm not saying it is or isn't something I'll do for the rest of my life, but I'm so glad I got the chance to try it and say I did, and maybe I'll live in the city for part or the rest of my life.
2. Varying my friends. I'm the kind of person who likes to have many friends who like to do a variety of things. Sticking with one group of people may be the best for certain people, but that's just not my thing. I also like to be around positive, active people who treat others respectfully. Surrounding yourself with people like you is the best way to stay happy and motivated in my opinion, so that's what I try to do. When friendships aren't working out, don't force it. Maybe that's just me, but forcing something isn't worth the time, effort or strain. There are plenty of similar people in the world, find them and be yourself.
3. Getting a car. I've always been a fairly do as I please person, especially being as involved as I am. Having as car has allowed me to attend more volunteer events, get groceries easier/on my own and go home when I need to. I wrote a blog about all the benefits of having a car called "Having a Car at School," so check that out for more details.
4. Eating habits. Being able to choose my own food has been super nice for me, as well as made my life generally healthier. I tend to eat things like fruits and vegetables as snacks, rather than pop tarts and rice krispie bars that my mom would buy for my brother. Not that there is anything wrong with occasional junk food, but overall, people really should be eating healthier. And let's be honest, when you go to the doctor, who are you going to trust with your health: the fat doctor who clearly cannot follow their own advice/gives bad advice to begin with, or the fit doctor who knows how to properly maintain themselves? The fit one, obviously. So with that, I want to start being fit and maintaining a healthy life sooner rather than after it is too late and becomes a chore to be healthy.
5. My study habits. In high school, I was the student who showed up to class, paid attention most of the time, did my homework, but that was about the end of school and studying. There was no "studying." When it came to exams, I could work my way through enough of it to pull good grades, especially balanced out with the high homework averages. College completely changed that. Some of the things I do to study at college are completing all of the homework, going to nearly all of the help sessions, going to the necessary JustAsk hours, doing all optional review guides and practice exams, working through problems with friends for complete understanding and re-reading chapters from text books. And when I say I re-read the chapters, that means I read the chapters to begin with, which is more than I did for most classes in high school. Learning how to study in college was rough and a quick learning curve, but definitely is starting to pay off.
6. Careers. I came here determined to be a pediatric neurologist. I was going to go to med school then do 11 years of residency and spend the rest of my life helping kids with neurological disorders. Then I wondered when I could have a family in there, so I changed my path to physician's assistant in neurology. Since then, I've thought about being a surgical first assistant, clinical neurophysiology tech, nurse anesthetist and back to med school. As for now, I'm pretty settled on PA, but I know that can change, and I'm open to the opportunities I'm presented.
College isn't easy, and change is always happening, but it is so worth it in the end. I have gained so much here from friends to knowledge to self-understanding. I now know who I am so much better and I think I know more what my priorities are in life.