I have spent the last four years of my life at this school searching for answers to questions I have about this thing we call life. And after all this time, I have found that there is no one way to live. The answers to life are situational, and there are different answers for different points in your life. The experiences you have in these times are going to help you deal with the worries that are to come, but it’s important that you listen and take note of the things they teach you. These are some lessons I learned during my years at Baylor that will help me get through the next chapter of my life, and I hope they can do the same for you.
1. Don’t worry
Believe me, college can be stressful. Every day you can find yourself wondering what the future holds. With statistics being thrown in your face every day about things like job placement, financial security, etc., college life can be overwhelming. Being worried about what you might become can give you a feeling that maybe you can control your future, but please understand that things don’t work that way. Your future is uncontrollable, whatever is meant to happen will happen, and the only thing you can worry about is the present. It’s important to remember that truth. When things don’t work out the way you expect, don’t take that as something that might keep you from being the person you want to be. Keep your head up, move forward and try to do better the next time. Everything happens for a reason, you can only get better from here.
2. GPAs are not the end of the world
We have all heard the saying “GPAs do not determine your intelligence,” and that saying couldn’t be any closer to the truth. Some of the brightest people I have met are people who either never finished college or attended college but had below a 2.5 GPA while they attended. For example, I once knew a guy in high school that was in an AP pre-calculus class. He sat in the back and never took notes. He never did the homework and didn’t really care for grades too much, but his brain worked in a way that mine, along with his classmates, didn’t. One day he was in an accident and broke his hands. Which means that he couldn’t use his calculator without help. So, on our next test he had our teacher write his answers down, but told her to leave the calculator in his backpack because he said it was too much work. He finished the test before the rest of the class with no calculator and made an A. His average in pre-calculus, along with most of his classes, was a C+. He didn’t go to college — he stayed at home and decided to pursue a different path and is currently financially stable, has found time to care for his family and lives a healthy, happy life.
Then there are the people who need a good GPA to be admitted into the post-bachelor school of their choice. Their GPAs are very important, but it’s important that they understand that just because something doesn’t work out once, doesn’t mean it won’t happen at all. Your GPA not being what is expected doesn’t mean you aren’t intelligent enough, and it doesn’t mean you aren’t good enough. Just keep working. Find another way, make connections and make your goals happen. And if it doesn’t happen, it’s not the end of the world. God has a plan for everybody. Eventually you will find yours, but only if you are patient and keep your head up.
3. College is what you make of it
When I came to Baylor, I had no idea what to do. Nobody in my family had ever attended college so I showed up here blind. I had no vision for what college, should be. The only idea I had was what I saw on TV: Go to parties, drink, smoke, spend time with different women and graduate with honors and all that good stuff. But when I arrived on campus and spent a few weeks here, I found that the college life that the media pushes is as far from reality as it gets. I watched a few of my friends live that lifestyle, and most of them didn’t last the semester in school. I saw others live a completely opposite lifestyle and struggle to keep a healthy balance in their life. So at that point, I didn’t know where to begin, so I decided to talk to some upperclassmen to find out how they do it. The one thing I learned from them was to make college exactly what I want it to be. I couldn’t believe it was that simple, yet so complex. If you come here looking for a good time, then that’s what you get, but don’t forget the reason your parents sent you here to begin with. In order to get through this part of life the right way, you must get an idea of what you want and go for it.
4. Take some time to relax
Sometimes when we are here, we get to a point where the only thing we do is worry about school. We stop doing the things we enjoy because we have this feeling that there is no time to do those things. As I mentioned before, college is stressful. Because of that, students need to take a break from being students and go back to being human. Pick up a book, other than a text book, and read it on your down time. Go to the gym and put up a few shots, go lift some weights or run. Do something because too much of anything can make a man insane, school included.
5. Follow your heart, not the money
At the end of the day, when you graduate from Baylor and find yourself in a new career, keep one thing in mind: If you aren’t happy with where you are, and you realize that you are only doing it for the money, get out of the career ASAP. The only thing that matters is your happiness in this life. It’s better to not make much money being happy with the things you enjoy than to be miserable with all the money in the world.
And the last thing I have learned through my college experience is that God has a plan for your life, so you have to take it one day at a time. You never know what’s in store for you. Just live every day like it’s your last, trust in God and the rest will fall into place.