Editor’s Note: Over the next few weeks we’ll be saying goodbye to several of our authors as they are graduating from UMD. Please feel free to wish them well on their future endeavors in the comments!
When I was a young girl I was told by numerous adult figures that time flies, and the older you get the faster it goes. I proceeded to nod and smile thinking I would never see the day where I was saying “Boy where does the time go?” Well, I have reached my time. It feels like just yesterday I was a lost, nervous, excited, and inexperienced freshman walking the halls of UMD trying to make it through the first week of a completely new lifestyle. These past four years have brought me experiences of excitement, accomplishments, heart-break, tears, laughter, fear, and joy but I wouldn’t have changed any of them for anything. They have helped build the person I am today, which is completely different than the 18-year-old Brittany who walked into UMD Fall of 2010.
There are many things I can take away from this experience, some being life lessons and some being reminders of what to do in similar situations that may be encountered later on down the road. But the main thing I am taking away and carrying with me for the rest of my life (and I hope this is something you find useful to carry with you too) is the fact of never taking anything for granted. Because time is so precious and flies by quickly, it’s very important to live in the moment and cherish everything that’s going on around you right at that moment. Too many of my days were spent focusing on the future (which, don’t get me wrong, that is important as well) and not getting fully engaged in the friendships that were being built, laughter that was being had and the memories that were being created around me. Taking full advantage of my last week with all my fellow graduates and looking back on the years, I realize just how important it is to stay in the moment.
My above statement may come off as if I didn’t do anything right in college, but that is the furthest from the truth. I have many memories of my college career that I am very proud of and will reminisce on forever. And through all those experiences there are a few things I would like to share with you all, as little things to think about as you start out or continue your journey here at UMD.
- GET INVOLVED and take advantage of every opportunity you can. It can be scary sometimes to throw yourself in a situation that may be a little out of your comfort zone but you will find that those are the experiences that are the most life changing.
- You can’t say yes to everything; it’s okay to say NO. Unfortunately, we’re not superheros so we can’t do everything. This may seem a little contradicting from the last point I made, but it’s important to find where your breaking point is. When it comes to getting involved (and with taking classes), start with taking on the amount you know you can handle; if you feel you can handle a little more then get a little more adventurous. Be sure to put yourself and your needs first, remember it’s the quality that matters not the quantity.
- Don’t procrastinate! I know, I know, you’ve heard it before but it’s something to really consider. It may seem easy to hold things off until the last minute, until everything piles up and you have a tremendous amount of work to get done within a week’s time. This doesn’t just apply to homework, don’t wait to build your resume until you really need it, don’t wait to apply for those graduate schools until it’s too late. This is where thinking a little ahead into the future becomes handy.
- BALANCE. Learning to balance is probably one of the hardest things you will encounter throughout your college career. We’ve all been in a tug-of-war between staying in and studying for an exam or going out for a night on the town with a group of friends. It’s not that we have to choose; we just need to learn how to balance between them. We need to learn how to get the best of both worlds. And vice versa, we don’t want to fill all our time doing homework and never going out either. It’s hard but I promise it will come!
- Have fun and EXPLORE! Duluth is such a beautiful city and it deserves to be explored! Don’t be afraid to have adventures and create memories. Reward yourself for all the hard work you’re doing as a college student!
As I’ve stated before, my four years have been a blessing and an incredible journey. I would like to thank my mentors who have guided me throughout my journey, my friends who have been there with me through it all, and, of course, my family! As I get ready to walk on commencement day, I get nervous for the chapter ahead but I have so many lessons from the chapter that’s closing to help write an unbeatable new chapter.
“Enjoy the journey.” – Tom Isbell