Things I Actually Learned This Year: Junior Year (2016-17)

Yesterday, June 7, 2017, I finished my last final of my third year at SPU. Today, I am sitting at the kitchen table at my parents house, still in my pajamas and drinking a cup of English Breakfast tea, and I have chosen today to keep up my tradition of listing things that I have learned in the last year. The reality is, a lot can change in a year, and I hope to be able to look back on my year and come out with something that I can take with me into the future. What follows is something that I hope will inspire me to learn from my experiences and I hope my readers can get something out of it as well! 

Be a goal-setter. 

This was something I started to do this year in a few different aspects of my life. Early on, for example, I set the goal of finding a new job. Things just weren’t going anywhere with my job at the bookstore , and I just felt like I needed to do something different. So I set a goal in August that I would find a new job by Christmas 2016. Through connections with amazing people and great companies, I successfully landed a job at Apple, where I have been ever since. And I was hired on my 21st birthday, in November, so needless to say I was excited to be there. There are a lot more goals I set for myself, and while I did not always achieve every part of every goal, it made me feel like I was working toward something worthwhile, and that made my time feel like it was being used to its full potential.

 

Living with other people is….interesting.

Sometimes, when you meet someone, you think “I really like this person, I want to be friends.” And most of the time, that’s not a bad decision. But when you are trying to have a group to live in an on-campus space together, be aware of who you are choosing to live with. Sometimes, you become friends with the person you never thought you would, and you find that you will miss that person when the time in that space is up. Other times, you will have someone who you seriously just can’t stand to be around. There will be the roommate who never cleans, the one who uses your stuff without asking, and sometimes the one who causes drama. Sometimes, you end up losing a friendship you thought was solid because of misunderstandings, manipulation, and other factors. In the end, you come out knowing yourself better than you probably thought you would, and you have a better set of standards for how you like to live.

 

You really don’t need 10 coffee mugs all to yourself.

Less really is more when you have a small amount of space for storage. Also, having more cups to use means you will go longer between washing things, hence piling things up in the sink for days on end. I have quite the collection of mugs from various things, but really I only use about 3-4 of them frequently.

 

Procrastination is the bane of any successful person’s existence.

In all honesty, this is what killed me every quarter this year. The problem is, I didn’t always feel like what I was doing was procrastinating. I had work, and school, and as of December 25th 2016, a wedding to plan. I had family responsibilities, and friends that I wanted to spend time with. The key thing here is balance, with doing what you need to do to get things in on time, but also keeping in mind your own sanity. Whoever first said that any free time you have in college is really just you procrastinating whatever is next on your to-do list, knew exactly what they were talking about.

 

Eating healthy on a tight budget is difficult at times, but not impossible.

Sometimes, it is as simple as doing some research on healthy options you can find in local stores. Cooking things yourself helps with this too. It also can take some re-prioritization to get yourself in the habit of shopping healthy and then actually eating the food you bought instead of just buying dinner out or getting takeout all the time. Also, having a water filter and a reusable water bottle is not only healthier for you to consume, but cuts back on your spending on other, less healthy beverage options.

 

There are some classes you just have to “get through”.

Not every class you take will be the best experience you have ever had. It might be due to lack of interest in the subject, you might not click with the professor very well, or perhaps the material is challenging to the point of causing you to struggle to keep up. Sometimes, all you can give is your best, and as long as you make it through that class (or other circumstance) you don’t ever have to do it again. Just do your best and keep moving forward.

 

Don’t be afraid to speak for what you believe is right.

If this last election taught us anything, it is that there really is no way to determine which choice is the ultimately correct decision. People all have their own viewpoints, opinions, and reasons for believing these, and as fellow human beings, we should all have a basic level of respect for each other’s thought processes. However, in the times that you get into a discussion with someone over a topic like this, I would say that the more edifying experiences come from those that include the ability to openly communicate whatever your thought process is, the ability to ask questions, and a level of respect for the other person that keeps the conversation going. If we are ever going to pick ourselves back up as a country overall, we need everyone to not necessarily agree on everything, but to at least be willing to talk about all aspects of whatever issues arise.

 

Find little ways to tell someone you appreciate them.

Sometimes it just takes a bouquet of flowers for your mom or grandmother. Or maybe cookies left on the counter for all your roommates to enjoy. Or sending a care package to friends that you love and miss. Sometimes something small means a lot to someone. You never know how much you might brighten their day.

 

Wedding planning more than a year from your desired date is hard, but has benefits.

Wedding planning in general can be difficult, but when you’re as indecisive as I am about these things, having an extra year to think things over sometimes makes every decision even harder. I’ve wanted to jump the gun and just get everything done in one day some days, and others I can hardly look at Pinterest without wanting to throw something. Overall though, I know that I will be so glad I decided to finish my bachelor’s degree first. I get to plan every little detail since I have so much time, and I just know my wedding will be everything I ever wanted.

 

Stay positive and lean on God.

Life happens. Plans get changed. People move away. Fallings-out happen. But ultimately, your happiness does not depend on other people. It all depends on your attitude in your response. There will be days when you feel like you want to just stop and give up. The amazing thing about God, though, is that he doesn’t ever feel that way about us. He is there to talk to and to help us work things through. He gives us the strength to get through days that we would otherwise skip class and call out of work on. This is the thing I have really come to grasp this year, and I can only hope that continue to grow in this area.

Well, that’s all I have for this year! Thanks for reading! See you again with the final college installment next year!

 

 

Things I Actually Learned This Year: Sophomore Year (2015-16)

(Note: This installment has also been moved over from my old blog posts. Enjoy!)

It has been exactly 365 days since I posted last year’s installment of “Things I Actually Learned”, and here we are at the end of my second year at SPU. Some of these things are more serious than others, and still more are things that will stay with me forever. So, without further ado, here are some things I learned this year as a second year college student.


Commuting costs much more than just gas.

Not only have I paid for roughly 1.5 tanks of gas a week for the last 30 weeks or so, but I have also spent hundreds of hours in between home and campus. Because I go to class and work on campus, I typically drive about an hour to and from campus each day, which only gets worse when you add in Seattle’s notoriously bad traffic and constant construction projects. I also have learned how to get things done in very short periods of time due to so much of my time being taken up by travel.


Living at home is not always the best solution.

It may be cheaper than paying for a dorm, but some substantial freedom is lost as well. Enter curfews, babysitting, and other obligations that honestly just make life as a student hard sometimes.


Be kind to everyone. No matter what.

Sometimes, it’s not obvious to see what people are going through. You may think that a situation is easy to solve or that they should just “suck it up” or whatever. The truth is, sometimes you just need to be kind, especially when it is most difficult. People will surprise you with their responses if they know that you care. All that said, this also means that you won’t let people walk all over you. There’s something to be said for standing your ground.


Your best is always enough.

I like knowing that I have done well in whatever endeavor may be at hand. However, I have had times where I am simply struggling to keep up, and in those times, I’ve been reminded many times by many people who I am close to, that as long as I am doing my best, I am doing enough. Sometimes, there are some situations where you may still struggle, but if you’re giving your all, there is nothing more you can do. That may seem disappointing to some people, but I rest in the fact that I can honestly say I worked hard and gave my best effort, even if it ended up unsuccessful.


Saving money is hard.

I am by no means a shopaholic. But when your pay is already small and hours keep getting cut, it keeps shrinking and shrinking, and all of a sudden you find yourself with a car payment and future apartment bills…it can be difficult to let yourself spend money on things that you momentarily need. Learning how to budget is a good way to combat this, but I’ll be honest…I’m still learning.


Always drink water whilst pulling an all-nighter involving energy drinks.

Your body will be at least slightly less angry with you in the morning.


There are certain bathrooms on campus that should be avoided at all costs.

Since I’m not privileged enough to have a dorm bathroom to go back to, I have had to make use of the public restrooms. Definitely avoid the one in upper Otto Miller, the one in Gwinn, and the one on the first floor in Weter. If you go to SPU, you know what I’m talking about.


Never stop looking for better opportunities.

Even if you love your part time job on campus, there are always better things you could be doing to further your career. Don’t be afraid to try and do new things.


Be intentional.

Whether it is in applying for a job, planning your class schedule or even just in your relationships with people, be intentional. Make time for people because you want to, not because you feel like you have to. Make choices based on what is good for you or your career and not always what seems like will be the most fun. Fun is important too, but life is not always an inter-tube ride down a mountain in Hawaii (yes, I ‘ve done it).


Take pictures.

I always forget to take pictures when I do things with people. I get so caught up in whatever we are doing that I forget to document it. I suppose it’s not a bad thing to live in the moment, but as I get further and further into my 20s and thinking about potentially getting married one day, I can’t honestly say that I know what pictures will be in my wedding presentation. That thought bothers me. So I suppose I am still learning to remember to take pictures. But hopefully I will be better at this next year.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this little window into my life. If you would like to read the 2014-15 installment, click here.

Things I Actually Learned This Year: Freshman Year (2014-15)

(Note: I am moving this here from a previous post on my old blog so you can see my older installments as well as this year’s! Enjoy!)

I was not the first to post something like this (shoutout to Colton​ for the idea), but I am wrapping up my first year of college here in the next week or so. So, here are some things I have learned on this adventure called COLLEGE.

Being social is a choice. And sometimes, it’s the right one.

I thought that living in a dorm would automatically raise my level of social interaction. Turns out I can tune out the world just as well as before in my dorm room. And while I haven’t exactly been a social butterfly this year, I can see where my conscious choice to be social has helped in the area of making friends. And hey, you never know who you might meet.

Having immediate family nearby is both a blessing and a curse.

Perks: free food, better showers, free laundry, company all the time, and a TV that actually works. Less exciting things: no personal space, being relatively out of the loop, getting in arguments, being the driver for trips to the airport, and no excuse to “miss” less desirable family get-togethers (no offense if any of you see this).

Making macaroni and cheese at 10:30pm is perfectly acceptable.

Especially after a long, stressful day. Or if that one chick just WOULD NOT GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN.

Don’t be afraid to blast your music. Everyone else does it.

While everyone else might think your music is strange, annoying or whatever, you think theirs is just as annoying. Therefore, you have no reason not to follow suit with your awesome tunes.

Don’t jump to conclusions if something goes missing.

Chances are, you just misplaced it. But if it is larger than a pair of spandex shorts and/or more expensive, or if multiple things go missing at once, definitely say something.

Make sure you know where your classrooms are located before the first day of class.

This will make it much less awkward to find later and you have less of a chance of accidentally ending up in the wrong class.

Try not to slack on your reading homework.

Yes, it’s tedious. Yes, part of it may not be entirely necessary. But better be safe than sorry and prepared for exams than unprepared.

Don’t forget to find time to relax and unwind amid a busy schedule.

Headaches will be avoided, and you might discover a new hobby.

Don’t take everything at face value. Ask questions.

Not everything your profs say is the golden truth by any stretch. Ask questions if you don’t understand, and don’t be afraid to say that you don’t agree. You never know what kind of conversation is to follow.

Be sure to keep up with friends, old and new.

Don’t forget to text and call, and when it comes to a long distance relationship, don’t lose hope, and don’t let the inevitable frustration get to you. If you truly love who you’re with, distance won’t matter.


THAT’S ABOUT IT THIS YEAR. SEE YA NEXT YEAR!!