Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.
-Winnie the Pooh
I know it’s a cliche, but it really does seem like just yesterday my parents were helping me move into my freshmen dorm at Clemson. Everyone told me to enjoy my days in college, but at the time, 4 years seemed so long. Here we are at senior year. With graduate school applications staring me down, the thing I’ve feared since the day I got here is starting to seem like a reality: I will actually have to leave Clemson.
I’ve considered every possible alternative. I could change my career plans and obtain a Masters degree in something Clemson offers, thus securing my stay for 3 or more years. I could apply for student loans and take 12 hours of leisure skills for 2 semesters, thus securing one more precious year. I could take a year off before grad school and work in Clemson. Or a few years off. It’s true that there is something in these hills, and I will absolutely hate leaving.
Unfortunately, I’m set on occupational therapy, which means I have to leave my beloved Tiger Town behind. That being said, I am determined to make the most of the one year I have left. I don’t know how it can outshine the others, but somehow it just will. I refuse to let life get in the way of me making memories.
The most important thing I’ve learned in college is that life is incredibly unpredictable. It can change in an instant; it can even end in an instant. That’s why every instant is so important, each second more precious than the one before. That’s why you have to make sure you prioritize and put the important things first.
There’s so much pressure to perform well in college. Your GPA is important; your job is important; your participation in clubs is important. College students are constantly bombarded with, “This will look good on your resume,” and we start to forget that life is more than what you can list on a piece of paper and hand over at an interview. Don’t get me wrong, you are here to learn. Having a good GPA and resume will open doors. Just don’t let it be at the expense of your happiness.
I recently re-prioritized in my life. I try to put God first. Second, I think about the people I care about. Third, I put school and my job. The list goes on, but just realize that what you prioritize will completely change how you live each day of your life.
Another piece of advice is to be present. I think a curse of social media and the age of technology is how scattered it can make our thoughts. I might be talking to a friend at lunch, but her mind might be more on the text conversation she’s having with someone else. She might be more engaged in Facebook posts or CandyCrush or any other number of electronic distractions. Sometimes, you just need to put your phone on “do not disturb” and really be with the people next to you. It all goes back to how important each moment is.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was in high school from a friend’s mom. Her daughter and I were baking cookies in the kitchen, upset about some drama or another, and as she walked by all she said was, “Every day is a good day; some days are just better than others.” It’s stuck with me, and whenever something upsets me, that’s what I tell myself. That’s why my last piece of advice is to persist.
Life is full of ups and downs, and, as this title reads, time will fly even when you aren’t having fun. Don’t give up on yourself and don’t give up on the people you care about. Appreciate the little things as much as the big ones. Make choices that keep your heart full, actively participate in life instead of watching it through a screen, and never give up on the things you believe in.
Here’s to growing up and trying to love every minute of it!