With a new school year dawning, freshman flock the campuses of colleges across the nation. Sometimes I think that I may have been better off if someone had guided me through college, but then again I’ve always liked to learn things the hard way. So I’m not here to be an advisor, but for anyone interested in my bit of advice for freshmen, or anyone else “doing life,” here it is, Addie’s Editorial from “The College Years.”
I guess I should start at the most obvious place—freshman year, where I learned the most important piece of advice I can give to anyone starting a new venture—it’s very hard to expect to meet new people and start a new chapter in life when you are overly dependent on someone else. I don’t regret my choices because hind sight is always 20/20, and although I didn’t grow the way most people do their first year of college, I grew in a different way. I didn’t go to Greek parties and I skipped my mandatory dorm and freshman orientation meetings to hang out with a somewhat preselected group of friends that were two years older than I. It was so unlike me to be less-than-social, but those preselected friends became “my people” that I now refer to as best friends. Always remember that everything happens for a reason.
Then there was sophomore year. The year of joining my sorority and learning that bridesmaids are way more fun to find than husbands anyway. The year of meeting new people and celebrating El Mariachi Loco style every Thursday despite my 7:30 AM chemistry class on Fridays. The year of really, really, really making lifelong best friends. The year of making mistakes and being able to appreciate them because I was the only one they mattered to. The year of finally realizing that I can go anywhere and do anything I want with my life. A turbulent ride through two short semesters and one long summer, but more than that, it was a blessing in disguise, and I thank God every day for it.
Then came the junior/senior year (I graduated college in three short years but my best advice to anyone in high school is to take the five-year-plan and enjoy every second of it.) For this section I must separate it into two parts because the first semester was spent at Mississippi State in an exchange program.
The Mississippi era was a small step in growing up that essentially changed my entire perspective in a soul searching, finally making peace with myself, gaining a new perspective on the world in general kind of way. I intentionally lost myself in the football loving, deep-fried everything, extra large t-shirt wearing, five thousand degree weather promise land. It was exactly what I expected and more and I hated to leave it in December.
Then there was the final semester. This is what I like to refer to as my “freshman semester that came a little too late.” Coming back to Murray was like coming home for Christmas. I couldn’t get enough of the town, the people, the class, and the traditions. I took advantage of every opportunity that was given to me and didn’t have enough time in the day to appreciate it all.
My college years were an amazing three years of my life and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. To all the places I tore down, danced on, laughed at, cried in, to all the people that I met, whether I loved you or didn’t much care for you, to all the professors that I despised and the ones that I adored, to all the hole in the walls, to all the bumps in the road, to all the eye-opening and earth shattering experiences, to all my soul mates, to all my little moments, to Mississippi, to road trips, to my family, to my family that’s not really family, to the phone calls, to the times well spent or the times wasted away, to the ten extra pounds I gained along the way, to the accidents, to the accomplishments, to the loop, to the big MKY, thank you all for inspiring me to be the me that I’ve grown to love along the way. Thank you. Thank you.
At eighteen-years old, I knew it all, and somehow I learned that I’ve still got a lot of learning left to do. But here’s what I have learned so far and what I want to share with anyone that will listen. I’ve learned that as we get older, life gets tough so you better get tougher. Sometimes rules are merely fences, so jump them; make your own and never conform. If you graduate without getting the ring, remember that the best is yet to come. Don’t take yourself too seriously, no one else does. Don’t apologize for doing you—you are worth it. Jump before you look and run before you walk. Dive in head first, naked. Sing like everyone is listening. I’ve heard that life is a game and it’s all about your poker chips, but I think life is whatever you want it to be. In that case, I think life is a dance floor because I’m awful at dancing but love it regardless. If you’re never lost, you can never be found. Get busy living, not dying. Work hard at something every single day. Smile and be happy every minute that you possibly can. There are people that see all the options life has to offer and simply choose. I refuse to choose because I want it all. Settling is not an option.
“You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.” –Alan Alda