We all got some version of the same lecture from our mother, as she watched us roll our eyes through the rearview mirror. And although we were probably pushing her out the door of our East Halls dorm room on Welcome Day as she tried to impart a few last words of wisdom, looking back, maybe we should have listened. As the years have gone on and college life has knocked us on our butts a time or two, we got a little smarter, a little tougher and realize now that maybe she knew what she was talking about.
“A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.”
Two words: freshman 15. I’ve heard my mother repeat this mantra for every whacky diet she’s ever embarked on, which usually all end the same way (quickly), but it couldn’t be more true. Junky dining-hall food, parties and late-night Insomnia cookies are all part of the college experience, but they aren’t exactly conducive to a smokin’ hot bod. Wouldn’t it be nice if we still fit into the same jeans we unpacked that first week of college?
“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”
College is all about trying new things and trying all things. Whether it’s at the activity fair, guys or majors, don’t bet your life on any one choice. Dabble in dating, sample studies. When things fall through — and make no mistake that at some point, things will fall through — your life won’t fall apart and you’ll have other things to fall back on. And besides, a slew of different experiences will make you a more interesting, well-rounded and wise individual.
“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
You’ll probably meet members of your bridal party in college. It’s where you have a great variety of people to spend time with and get to know. You’ll form meaningful, lifelong friendships. Of course, you won’t like everybody you come across. Overlapping groups of friends don’t always work well, but it’s best to keep your cool by keeping your mouth shut. Not only will things you say get repeated, but it’ll make you look bad for having said it, and that will be the quickest way to lose those new friends.
“There are plenty of fish in the sea.”
A breakup can make it seem like your world is imploding on itself, and that’s the last thing you want when you just got dumped. But it’s important to remember that there are so many wonderful people at college that you have yet to meet. Chances are, the heartbreak wasn’t or will be the first, the last or the worst, so keep things in perspective. These are the best (and most beautiful) years of our lives and this is college. We’re not here for long and we’re not here to cry. So don’t waste too much time mourning the death of one relationship while you could be out starting another instead.
Four years seemed like an eternity in high school, but that’s probably because it sucked. College does not, and these four years are short. Make some memories, seize every opportunity and RSVP “Attending” on Facebook invites. Of course work is very important and it should be a priority, but this is the time in our lives when our responsibility is at its lowest and our freedom at its pinnacle. Don’t take it for granted because regret will leave a bad taste in your mouth. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “There’s plenty of time for sleep in the grave,” and likewise, there is plenty of time for being serious grown-ups after graduation.
Photo by Jennie Lichtenstein