The road ahead

The time is almost here. I graduate from Ferris State University with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism/Technical & Professional Communication and a Bachelor of Social Work in three days. It’s been a challenging and enlightening five years. A lot changes in five years. I’ve grown tremendously and I’ve experienced heartbreak, hard lessons, I’ve made a lot of mistakes, I’ve let people down, I’ve inspired people, I’ve learned who I am, I got engaged, I made lifelong friends, I’ve lost friends. You get it.

Now, it is time for me to move on from this life. This fall, I look forward to pursuing my Masters of Social Work at Western Michigan University. I will also continue with my writing through my internship with iaam and hopefully guest write for other websites, blogs, etc. I want to volunteer more, meet more people, travel the world (hopefully) I am getting married this summer.

The road ahead is exciting, scary and full of many opportunities. I know I will experience many more challenges, hardships, hard lessons and make mistakes along the way. That’s life though. I will also experience a lot of joy, happiness, make more great memories, meet wonderful new people, establish new friendships and inspire others.

For anyone who is just starting college or is still in college, this is my advice to you (whether you want it or not):

  • Get to know people. Don’t just sit in your room staring at your laptop screen checking your social media accounts every five minutes. Go to campus events, go to parties, meet people.
  • Get to know your professors. They will likely write you a letter of recommendation one day.
  • Volunteer on your campus/community.
  • Take a walk around town, explore the area. You’ll find some great local businesses, and supporting local businesses is awesome.
  • Don’t be afraid to take risks or make mistakes. (Within reason, of course!)
  • If you’re debating between staying in for the night or going out, go out. I’ve made this mistake too many times and I regret it. It’s OK to stay in and binge watch shows on Netflix once in awhile, but I wouldn’t make it a daily habit.
  • Take as many pictures as possible. (No, not selfies.)
  • Follow the golden rule wherever you go.
  • Learn how to cook.
  • Learn how to budget and manage money.
  • Learn how to properly take of a car.
  • Learn how to fix things around the house.
  • Don’t let others take advantage of you.
  • Find a hobby.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff.
  • Don’t let a bad day ruin your entire week.
  • Don’t drink alcohol when you’re sad.
  • Go on a spontaneous road trip with your friends one day.
  • Make an effort to actually learn the material you’re studying. Read the textbooks, get involved with clubs/organizations affiliated with your major. It will serve you well.
  • Be in the moment. Everywhere. I’m still working on this.
  • Don’t post pictures on social media you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see.
  • Don’t post statuses or tweets that you wouldn’t say out loud.
  • Think before you speak.
  • Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself.
  • If you work at your campus newspaper, go spend time in the office. It could land you an extra gig as a receptionist – it did for me. I was a writer, eventual editor and a receptionist. This goes for any type of job. Get to know the people you work with, go the extra mile.
  • Stay true to yourself.
  • Try to do as many internships as you can.
  • If you’re struggling with a class, get help. Go to the tutoring center and go to your professor’s office hours.
  • If you’re struggling with something personal, get help. There is nothing wrong with counseling or therapy.
  • If you can, study abroad. It will change your life forever.
  • If you see any type of injustice, speak up against it and take action to stop it.
  • Don’t be afraid to fall in love.
  • Don’t be afraid of being single.
  • Always lend a helping hand.
  • Don’t rush it, because it goes by way too fast. I graduate in three days and I already miss it.

Those are my nuggets of wisdom. A lot of them are repetitive, but these are derived from my own personal experiences. If I could go back, I’d make an effort to meet more people. I’ve met a lot, but I would have put myself out there more and not spent so much time alone. Luckily, I’ve made a lot of good memories, but you can never make too many good memories.

Make the most of every day. They fly by and you’ll be heading into the next phase of your life before you even know it.

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