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!




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