Thursday, December 18, 2014

Top (eighteen, to be exact) things I've learned this year.

One of my favorite parts of December is looking back on all the accomplishments, memories and lessons the year brought. I think I have grown tremendously this past year and its so incredible to see just how far I have come. I started 2014 still in high school, and looking back its honestly crazy how much I have accomplished and learned. I started at ten, but once I got started, they just kept here's a few of my favorite lessons! (This is about to be an incredibly long post, I apologize ahead of time.)

Lesson number one. Trying new things is always great. Coming to college was a major adjustment. I learned quickly how important it is to try new things and get out of my comfort zone. It is scary but meeting new people, attending an event where you know absolutely no one, and getting yourself out there is an amazing way to grow as a person. Never give up an opportunity to try something new.

Lesson number two. God is awesome. Its absolutely crazy that we can fail Him, turn away from Him, yet He will ALWAYS be there with his arms wide open, waiting for us to come back to him. He loves us unconditionally. We should love others the way He loves us. Invest in others, and love them the way they are.

Lesson number three. Don't let people bring you down. I wasted a lot of time on people who weren't good for me and didn't let me rise to my full potential. I think that is honestly one of the worst things you can do for yourself. Let go of toxic people, no matter how difficult it may seem. You will reap the benefits 100 times over. It's never worth dragging on a friendship or relationship when its only damaging you. There is what, 7 billion people in this world? Find the ones that sharpen you and make you happy.

Lesson number four. Never take for granted the opportunity to shower without shower shoes. Dorm life isn't always the best, but I think it is all part of the college experience. Community bathrooms are also an experience. A highlight of coming home is definitely the chance to shower without flip flops. It's the little things, right?

Lesson number five. Speaking of growth of a person...people are going to change. Your high school friends, they are going to change too. You have to accept this. Maybe this means the people you know and love won't be the same. But everyone is finding who they are at this time. You must allow for this growth and be flexible if someone is different and if you lose touch with an old friend. I learned that the truest friends will still be your friends even if you haven't seen them in months. The truest friends you can pick back up with and it will feel like nothing has changed.

Lesson number six. Sometimes, you have to let yourself have fun. While school is incredibly important, you can't stay in the library all night every night. You have to have fun, go out, do things that make you happy. You won't love college if you don't experience what exciting and fun things there are to offer. There are also tons of fun options that every town has to offer--sometimes you just have to look and be open to anything.

Lesson number seven. Not everyone is going to have the same values as you, but that doesn't make them a bad person. For me, the decision to avoid partying and that scene of college was my choice. However, that isn't typical for college students. I wasted time thinking people who didn't think the same thing as me were wrong. Every person has the right to make the decision for their own self. Accepting and loving people they way they are is definitely the way to go. On the flipside, you will feel so much better about yourself if you are your true self. You will respect yourself for sticking to who you are so much more than you will if you conform to society. Being you leads to being happy. Other's will respect you more for your beliefs in the end, too.

Lesson number eight. I am really bad at names. I think I've had about a million encounters with people who knew my name, but I had no idea what theirs was. It's awkward. But its okay, because everyone meets so many people and if you have to ask, its better to know than not. Finding ways to remember people's name is good, too.

Lesson number nine. Dorm food is actually the worst. Pizza Shuttle is amazing. But you have to find a balance. I honestly don't want to know how much money I wasted this semester on buying unnessicary food. Its honestly ridiculous. Also, gaining weight freshman year actually happens if you aren't careful. Working out is a good thing, too. Find a healthy balance and do your best to maintain it.

Lesson number ten. You are going to make mistakes. No one in this world is perfect, and that includes me! I definitely made my fair share of mistakes, but mistakes are how you grow and learn. If you don't make mistakes, you aren't trying enough new things or taking enough risks. I learned to not be afraid of mistakes.

Lesson number eleven. The best kind of guy to have in your life is Jesus. The second best kind of guy to have in your life is one that brings you closer to Jesus. If you're with a guy who doesn't do that, you're wasting your time! Secondly, relationships aren't crucial to college. (I might be biased, but seriously. Boys shouldn't define you.) Wasting time on people who don't make you a better person is silly. Don't do it!

Lesson number twelve. YoungLife is a wonderful, wonderful thing. Going to camp over the summer was life changing. Getting even more involved with the ministry after getting to college has been the biggest blessing. I have made so many wonderful friends, had a plethora of incredible experiences and opportunities, and most importantly, strengthened my relationship with Christ. Nothing beats that.

Lesson number thirteen. You can't do everything. Holy cow, this was a HUGE lesson I learned coming to college. Its fun to get involved and meet new people and do a variety of things, but don't overload yourself. Its awesome to be in a sorority, do volunteer work, have a job, take a lot of classes, and whatever else. But if you do too much, you'll end up hurting yourself and causing horrible effects. Take responsibilities one by one, and if you think you can handle more obligations, take them on. You can't do everything, but you can do a few things really well. Find what you can do well and do that.

Lesson number fourteen. You have to listen to yourself and your body. If you are feeling sick, take medicine, rest, and take it easy. (see previous lesson). You'll end up in terrible shape if you don't listen to yourself. Also, naps are okay. More than okay. Take three hour ones if you need to. If you feel tired, its because you are! (Probably because of Netflix in my case, but its whatever.) Getting rest will do you so much more good than staying up until the crack of dawn studying. Its a fact.

Lesson number fifteen. It's okay to not be okay (for a little while). Life is hard, college is hard, school is hard, and living all on your own for the most part is hard. Adjusting to a whole new town on your own is hard. Anxiety, loneliness, and stress are normal, especially for freshmen. Acknowledge that there's a problem, and do what you can to fix it. Don't let it build up, and don't let it take over your life. Just know that its okay!

Lesson number sixteen. I'm living God's perfect plan every second of the day. He knows what He's doing and trusting Him is the best thing you can do. You are in the exact place that He wants you to be! You'll be given many chances and learning opportunities to build and shape and challenge you. But in the end, its all what is suppose to happen. Something that may seem like a disappointment now, will be a blessing later. It has really been amazing when something doesn't go the way I plan, but if I just give God a chance, I later learn that He had something so much better. Just trust!

Lesson number seventeen. Coffee is a wonderful thing. I can never drink enough. (It also costs a lot, s/o to Starbucks.) Coffee dates are a wonderful thing. I really love coffee. I really love finding cute coffee shops around town.

Lesson number eighteen. Each day is a blessing. I love life. College has been awesome. I am surrounded with blessings--wonderful opportunities, wonderful friends, overall a wonderful life. I am blessed. I am lucky and thankful to live the life I live, go to K-state, be a Pi Phi, have encouraging, welcoming, and loving friends. I am so blessed with a wonderful family who loves me and supports me no matter what. I am blessed beyond belief, and I am so thankful that God has given me all these wonderful blessings.

Like I said, I learned a lot. If you made it this far, thanks for reading. :) Honestly could have went on longer, but I'll spare you the novel. The beauty of life is that you can continually grow and change and I love that; I hope my learning maybe taught you something too! I am so glad to have an entire month off from school--you'll be hearing from me more than ever! Until next time...


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