I often express how LMU has shaped me into the person that I am today, a fact that I am very thankful for. Through this college journey I have learned many lessons that I know I will use far beyond my educational experience and through my adult life.
The Art of Just Being There
Every once in a while you are not necessarily sick, but you just do not want to go to class. I have been there often! Trust me when I say, though, go to that class. Just showing up and being there will help you in the long run. In the School of Business, we have a strict attendance policy, and attendance and participation is a part of our grade in our classes. Take attendance policies seriously and only miss class when you absolutely have to. I know that when I miss classes, I miss valuable information that I cannot just teach myself. In that situation, I make an appointment with my teacher, a classmate, or a tutor to go over the material; by missing that class I might have missed something specific the teacher said that’s pertinent to the next test. Remember that in the real world, you cannot just skip work!
The same idea can be applied in social settings: do not leave yourself out of things. If your friends are going to the movies, the park, or just sitting around playing a board game, join them! This kind of bonding helps make new friendships strong and old friendships stronger. Many times I have gone to see a movie with my friends that I did not want to see because I truly just wanted to spend time with them. My freshman year I decided to just go along to see Resident Evil with some Kappas (whom I had just met the day before) and what I remember is not how scary the movie was, but how much fun I had with these girls and how they were going to be my new friends!
The Importance of Listening
Showing up is the first important lesson, and the second is to listen and pay attention. You might have to take a class that does not interest you, but paying attention to what the teacher says will most likely make it better and easier. I struggled in my history classes because remembering names and dates does not interest me as much as math and accounting does. I always tried my hardest to pay attention to what the teacher was saying, so after class I would tell one of my friends something I learned. By telling my friends what I had learned in class it helped me remember the material and made me realize that there were parts of this class that kept my interest. I also listen for when teachers emphasize what material is important, due dates, and even if they have a studying suggestion.
Listening to your friends seems like something you would not have to learn, but it is definitely something that I have had to work on. In group discussions over topics which I’m passionate, I often have a difficult time listening to others and spend more time thinking about what I want to say rather than listening to what they have to say. I have come to realize that even though I’m excited about the conversation, I need to remember that my friends might also be excited and I would want them to hear what I have to say, so I have to use my active listening skills.
Give Advice Only if Asked
I have also learned to not give advice unless advice is requested by the other person. I have been in many situations where my friends will confide in me, and as soon as they are done talking I try to come up with solutions to all of their problems. After some heart-to-hearts I realized that a lot of my friends do not want advice, they want to express what has been laying heavy on their minds and just want me to listen. I have no problem with this, and honestly it makes me feel better because I listen much better than I give advice! When I do give advice to others I make sure that it is appropriate for their personal situation.
Don’t Give Up
It is my personal belief that life is hard and no matter where your journey leads you there will be obstacles in your way to test you. Unless the obstacle is particularly detrimental to you, do not give up! When homework is hard I re-read the chapter, talk to a tutor or my professor, and, if after all that it is still not completely clear to me, I try my absolute best. Teachers want to see you put forth effort, and remember that for most classes the points add up. By this I mean that you can more easily improve your overall class grade if you make a mediocre score than if you skipped the assignment and made a zero. When lots of deadlines start to creep up on me, I start to panic and think about throwing in the towel; senioritis is definitely my adversary right now. To me, college is the last stepping stone before I begin my adult-life journey on my own and I know my employer will want to see strong effort from me, so I have to practice it now!
Friendships come and go, but the truly special ones will stay with you forever. I believe that friendships take effort from both sides. Disagreements or fights are normal in a friendship, and coming to a place of understanding and moving passed it will help to strengthen the bond! Often when I get frustrated with someone I pull away and distance myself, but then I think about how much I value that person in my life and I go and tell them how I’m feeling. I love my friends and I don’t give up on them when times are tough.
I have learned a lot of lessons while being at LMU, and these lessons translate over to social and real-world situations. What is a lesson you learned in college that stuck with you? Leave me a comment and remember to follow my blog!