Before graduation, make sure you change yourself for the better

By Phoebe Say | Staff Writer

I wish I could begin my undergraduate years again and be the person I am today. But maybe that’s the point; if we don’t leave changed, perhaps we didn’t do it right.

Get outside of yourself.

Every day we do things and the sole beneficiary of those actions is ourselves. I do my homework, I prepare meals, I go to the gym, I go to church. The common thread is “I” and that needs to change if I (there it is again) desire to live a life marked by the life and love of Christ. Even if personal faith is not a motivating factor to serve your community, consider serving anyways. Volunteering is connected with improved physical, mental and emotional health, according to UnitedHealthcare.

Purposefully set aside time each week to get outside of yourself and your daily routine to serve someone else. Do something that costs you time, resources, maybe pride. We do so many things for ourselves, do something for someone who can’t do the same.

Learn something you crave.

When I decided to take my first journalism class to test the waters, so to speak, I was enthralled. I can’t really explain the feeling except to say it felt like I was waiting my whole life to learn this one thing. To be truthful, I don’t feel this way every day and sometimes I wonder what life would look like if I had chosen a different path, but that one moment of spark keeps me chasing after the next.

Find something you are passionate about and get lost in it. Maybe you always wanted to take an acting class or finally get to reading that book. Perhaps you hate your major and wish you were studying something else instead. Don’t settle for mediocrity, too many people do.

Abandon the familiar.

Some of my most treasured college memories happened outside of Baylor. The fall semester of my junior year I studied abroad in Jordan and the summer before my senior year I went to Hungary. Encouragements to study abroad and “find yourself” are common and sometimes pretentious, but the intent remains the same. Whatever opportunities are available for you to leave your comfort zone, take them.

You don’t need a passport or even a vehicle to immerse yourself in an inter-cultural experience. Strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know or disagree with. Read a book or attend a lecture outside your field of study. Visit a mosque, a synagogue or a church. The university ought to be a marketplace of ideas and it’s likely you will never be surrounded by such a diverse body of people as you are now.

Earning a degree is one thing, but if you are virtually the same person coming into college as you are leaving, I would argue you wasted your time. Having a college degree means little to me if I am not generous, passionate, open-minded and open-hearted. Don’t let time pass you by without giving thought to the person you are becoming along the way.

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