Welcome back to another Friday blog post, my last one for April. I’ve got something special for you today— it’s a special day after all. Though to keep it authentic, I wrote this list yesterday, I get to share it with you right now! Every day that I look back since I’ve come to Cal Poly, I don’t feel a whole lot different. Then I actually take a step back from my almost two years here now, and it’s surprising the amount of growth I see in myself.
Imagine how that compares to the eighteen years before I even got here.
I look back and I see a person who’s been through a whole lot of change and lessons, but still molded into the girl I am today because of them. Like the way my list of passions got a little longer or my words have gotten a little stronger.
2 decades is a long time of learning— for some people, it’s a lifetime.
So without further ado, here’s what I’ve learned.
One— life goes on.
No matter what happens, as long as you keep going, life does too. Even if you freeze.
Two— Nothing is black and white.
Considering recent events at Cal Poly, not even racism is just black and white. Nothing is. What I’m talking about right now is a whole different story. For everything you think you know, there’s just one more thing you don’t. Every trick you see, there’s another one you didn’t quite catch. That’s just life, it’s accepting that you won’t know everything or see everything, but understanding your own ignorance in the process. Knowing that you don’t know is the first thing you need to know. Does that make sense?
Three— It’s not a race.
When it comes to life, I’m learning to take the time I need. Getting through classes, running late to sed classes, or really just taking my time getting ready in the morning. I think it’s important that if you need more time to enjoy or get through something, take it.
Sometimes, you’ve just got to take a deep breath in and hold it while you put things in perspective. Then let it out. Count with me: Deep breathe in… Hold it… Hold it…
Five— Don’t get too comfortable.
The time moves quickly in this game of life, blink and you miss it. You know how you might plan out how a conversation will go in an effort to be ready, but then they didn’t bother to follow your script and you’ve got to improv it… Yep, we have to expect the unexpected.
Six— Enjoy it.
No, this is not a taste the happiness coca-cola commercial, but I am saying… Take it all in for a little while. Remember to smell the roses. Because college has been rough so far, but I know there are a whole lot of great things about it that I’ll miss when it’s over. So enjoy where you’re at, even if it’s one minute out of a 15 hour day that you can look back on and smile about.
Seven— There’s no “right” way.
Some people study for two minutes, others for two weeks. Some people get through a four year program in three, others spend three years working doing something else. Just because I might look at someone and wonder, “wait, what am I doing wrong?” i’ve come to realize that all of our paths cannot be compared, not really. There’s no real right or wrong, there’s just where you’re at. And you go from there.
Eight— College is not the best four years of your life.
I repeat, college is not the best four years of your life. One of our advisers said this last week and hearing this from an actual adult, it surprised me. When people used to tell me college would be the best four years of my life, I believed them— talk about false hopes, am I right? Don’t get me wrong, all-nighters and 24-hour Subway are great, but there’s more than this. We’re on a rollercoaster that only goes up
Nine— You’re a priority.
Always remember this. Twenty years has really gotten it through my head that this is my life and no matter what else is going on, I have to take care of me. No one else will, not always. And even if someone else tries, no one knows what I need unless I tell them. If you need something, tell someone who can support you or just do it yourself. Treat yourself like someone you love.
Ten— We have voices for a reason.
Use them. To speak up against injustice, to ask a question in class, to vote, to tell someone “I love you”… Just say what you need to say and don’t be afraid of saying again a little louder this time, for the people in the back.
Eleven— Take nothing for granted.
Simple and maybe not always so sweet. Hold onto what you’ve it and appreciate it while you’ve got it.
Twelve— Honesty is the best policy.
Whether you’re telling a friend how you’re doing after that telltale question, or chatting up a cashier, you don’t have to always answer good. Sure, you don’t need to rant about the telemarketer about your dog chewing your shoes or a bad breakup, but sometimes it helps to just be honest with the people who care. And speaking of honesty, don’t forget to be genuine with the people you care about. I know I have to try to remember that too.
Thirteen— Follow your passion.
I get it, not all passions fit into the 9-5 job. But a passion is something that can be pursued on the side or on lunch breaks or at 1AM in the morning… As long as they get pursued. If there’s something that matters enough to you, you won’t want to let it slip. So don’t; make time.
Fourteen— Music is everything.
I honestly think music saves lives— it’s another form of storytelling that I have an immense appreciation for. Sad? Listen to music. Going grocery shopping? Listen to music. In love? Listen… You get what I mean. There’s a time and place for everything and well, I think music fits into every one of them.
Fifteen— It comes down to you.
No matter what anyone else thinks, sometimes you truly do have to take the criticism or the praise and weave it into the fabric of your life every day. Because this life only belongs to one person, live it for you.
Sixteen— It takes two.
My parents used to have this saying, “it takes two hands to clap.” Though in principle, this was probably recited when one of us did something and promptly used the excuse “they started it.” Sound familiar? Even though, yes, I have learned that it doesn’t always matter who started it, I’ve also found something else in this phrase: you can’t do everything on your own. And maybe that’s okay.
Seventeen— Love is also everything.
Now coming from a girl who’s never been in anything remotely close to a relationship and is stereotyped in a generation that “doesn’t know what love means,” I’m not talking about romance. I’m just talking about the act of truly loving something for what it is. Whether its my family or my friends or even my passions. Finding something to love is finding something to keep going for. That includes yourself.
Eighteen— No step is too small.
Progress is progress. Whatever you’re working towards, a degree or a better job or recovery or that one good day… Celebrating the small victories, not just the big ones, is part of what keeps us going. Appreciate yourself for all of it, baby steps are sometimes all you need. As long as you keep stepping.
Nineteen— It’s just a number.
At a certain point, you realize that no matter the age, everyone is doing something different. Right now, some of us are in school, some of us are having kids, and some of us are get married. Maybe a little bit of everything; all of us are working hard. So I’ve learned not to worry about the implications of where we’re supposed to be depending on your age. Do what you need to do, the rest will follow.
Twenty— Work hard but play harder.
So maybe it took me twenty years, but there’s a time to work and a time to play. Especially on a quarter system here at Poly, life moves pretty quickly, with midterms as early as week two and we have to make the most of the time we’ve got. Someone reminded me of this today and I realized that I’ve been here for two decades now, if I’m ever going to have a time to let loose, this is it.
So cheers to the end of teenage years and here’s to an entirely new decade. If anyone’s got anything I need to know before I get going full speed ahead into adulthood here, I’m all ears. Happy Friday everyone!