Either from parents, siblings, mentors or friends, we have all heard it countless times: “Soak in college. It goes by fast.” Eventually, the overused catch phrase loses its meaning. But students should take a step back and embrace the underlying truth behind the saying.
We are currently in a period of our lives that can often lead students into the false feeling that we have all the time in the world. Youth feels like a renewable resource that will never run dry. But this is simply not the case. Here are a few sobering thoughts to consider:
- Seniors in college are about as far from freshman year of high school as eighth graders are from kindergarten.
- If you die at the average age of death in the United States, 76 years, you have already lived 30 percent of your life.
- One day, you will die.
Youth is not an inexhaustible resource, and college will not continue forever. Eventually, we will all graduate or move on and hopefully find some sort of employment. Some of us will get married, and some of us won’t. Some of us will make it big time, and some of us won’t.
However, there is a positive side to this. As a Baylor student, you are currently in a chapter of your life unlike any you have experienced previously or will ever have again in the future. You are surrounded by friends, faculty and strangers who each represent new opportunities for friendship and community. In this unique chapter of life, we should be more intentional about embracing these four years and juicing them for all they’re worth.
One way to embrace college is to say “yes” to more events. College is stressful, and sometimes, all students need is a little repose from the constant push and pull of academic life. Though your introversion might compel you to stay at home, once in a while, it can be advantageous to force yourself to say “yes” to attending events you might not normally attend. Baylor is full of organizations that constantly host events to promote community engagement. Embrace these opportunities every now and then and create memories that you will hold dear for the rest of your life.
Develop relationships with the faculty and staff. Baylor is saturated with kind, engaged and caring individuals, who genuinely desire the success of the student body. It can be intimidating to approach a professor or staff member. However, once the seeds of relationship are sown, students are sure to find valuable mentors and friends in the faculty and staff of Baylor.
Put your phone down and commit exciting moments to memory, rather than digitally preserving them. There were countless silhouettes of cell phones against the bright glow of the Baylor Homecoming bonfire, and though the recordings might preserve a sliver of the actual event, a phone recording can’t fully encapsulate the experience of the heat hitting your face from 30 yards away, the cheers from decades of Baylor graduates and the unseen joy of school spirit. In the future, consider taking a short video or a few pictures, put your phone in your pocket and be mentally present as the unrepeatable events unfold around you.
Maintaining a journal is a great way to embrace college. Find a notebook that you have no use for. Once or twice a week, take fifteen minutes to sit down and record some of the things that you did or experienced throughout the past week. Record the little details that stood out to you or that you want to remember. When college is over, that notebook will be full of memories and anecdotes that you may have otherwise forgotten. One day, you might revisit the notebook and remember all of the amazing things that you did in college.
History is unfolding around you everyday. There will never be another time in your life when this exact group of people are congregated at this school in this context. So embrace your college experience. Celebrate opportunities by seizing the moment. Pursue community with those around you. As cliché as phrases “YOLO,” “carpe diem” and “soak in college” can be, they express truths about the nature of life and motivate us to embrace everyday.