Sorry Mom, I’m gaining life experiences

College is a crazy concept.

I mean at 17, 18, 0r 19 (ideally), you are going off to live on your own. That’s crazy! You were just in high school, you have barely had enough experiences to call yourself an “adult,” and yet, your parents are trusting you to go off and live completely self-sufficiently. That’s a huge responsibility heaped on a teenager. I mean don’t they know how young and dumb we are?! Don’t they know we are going to screw up?

But that’s the thing about this huge leap into the almost real world… it is exactly what we  need as young, dumb teenagers. It is exactly what we need to push us to make mistakes, learn from them, and grow up in the process. I may just be a sophomore, but the amount of growing up I have done in the past year is absolutely insane. I went from an awkward senior in high school who thought she knew everything, to a more mature (still kind of awkward) freshman in college who realized that she absolutely, under no circumstances, knew everything or even close to it. In my first year of college some of the things I have learned are that my parents are always right, I do NOT have enough money saved up, and that success must be earned. Among these lessons that I have undoubtedly learned the hard way, I have also made the greatest friends, created the most hilarious memories, and had the best year of my life so far.

College is hard. It’s stressful. It’s crazy. It’s exhausting. It’s unhealthy.

But college is also a blast. It’s exciting. It’s surprising. It’s life-altering. It’s maturing.

As I type this, I realize that I have not shared much about who I am. So allow me to tell you a little bit about who I am:

I went to a private high school and lived a rather sheltered life. I am very fortunate and very blessed, but I did not have a lot of these “life experiences” that people kept telling me about. I had loving, somewhat strict, parents who did everything in their power to raise me right. And besides my senior year spout of being a little “rebel child,” I was actually somewhat of a goodie-two-shoes. I didn’t realize that in high school, of course, but when I got to college I started to experience those “life experiences” I was yearning for and desperately missing. One of my very first nights in college, my roommate and I decided to go to our first college party. We were so excited as we got ready to go to an off-campus shin-dig with a bunch of cute fraternity boys (who, by the way, are not all as sweet as they may seem, ladies). So we get to this party and we have a couple of beers and have what we think is a grand ‘ole time. Then, when it is time to go back to our dorm room, we are fully convinced that we can make the one-mile walk easily. We set off on our little excursion along with one of the frat boys, whom we decided was our new best friend. We walked for an hour and then realized that we were hopelessly lost in a dead-end neighborhood with no lights, no cell service, no car, and in a town that we barely knew. After panicking for a moment, my roommate came up with the oh-so-brilliant plan to walk toward a busier street and flag down the first car we see. So we proceeded to walk toward a busier street and sure enough, along rolls up an old, beat-up, 1970s Cadillac. It was a sketchy car to say the least, but that didn’t stop my dear, sweet roommate from flagging it down. The car passed us, and then it stopped and reversed back to where we were standing. The driver of the car was a 20-something year old African American man named “Dayshawn” and he asked us if he could help us. His car wreaked of weed and he had no seat belts in his car. None. Not a single seat belt. Realizing that this was maybe not the best idea in the world, we all gave each other a look like “hey umm maybe not?” But at that point it would have been really awkward to say “never mind” to our friend Dayshawn, so we reluctantly got in the seat-belt-less car and told him we needed a ride back to campus.

Okay, I know what you’re all thinking….we are stupid. I know, I realize this now, thank you. And I know that my mother would be having a heart attack if she ever read this (calm down mom, I’m still here aren’t I??), but not to worry-we made it back safe and sound!! Dayshawn was actually a very nice gentleman and although he didn’t have an explanation for the lack of seat belts, he did entertain us for the six minutes and thirty seconds that we rode in his Cadillac. Thank goodness this story had a happy ending and no one died, but I realize now what an absolutely horrible idea it was to get into a car with a complete stranger in a city I barely knew. My roommate and I laugh about this now and took that as a big learning experience that we will never repeat. Moral of the story: always get into sketchy 1970s Cadillacs!!! Kidding, the 1980s ones are way better. So as stupid as we may have been, and as concerning as this story is, at least I can add it to my queue of “life experiences.”

I think that’s part of what college is all about, life experiences. I think it is about making memories and creating relationships that will last a lifetime. I mean you know what they say, it’s not the grades you make but the hands you shake!

While I believe that college is obviously about gaining knowledge and developing character, I also think that it is so important, vital even, to have fun and seize every opportunity to gain life experiences. Because at the end of the day, are we really going to remember that one Statistics test we should have studied more for, or are we going to remember that road trip we took with our new friends where we created memories that will last a lifetime? Maybe that’s not the most sound advice, but hey- I never claimed to have all the answers! I’m just figuring it out as I go and hopefully entertaining you along the way. College is hard, but if you can figure out how to survive, you just might have the time of your life.

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Categories: Life Happens

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