College 101: experience around every corner, so turn often

By on October 27, 2004

As graduation rapidly approaches and I am standing face-to-face with the “real world,” I take a moment to reflect on all the important lessons that I have learned since first arriving at Quinnipiac University in August 2001; lessons that I would like to share with you in hopes that you will realize how much meaning your time here has.

While it is true that the diverse selection of classes I have taken and the rich education I have received here over the years are going to be useful to me throughout my life course, the most important lessons I have learned thus far are not ones that can be taught in the classroom. They are lessons from experience that have helped shape me as an individual over the years, ones I am sure that many of you can relate to.

I think back to freshman year and I am comforted by the memories of new friends, new experiences and a new beginning. I think of how much I have grown since then, and how the person I am now is not the same person I was then. My mind snaps back to the present and I assess just exactly what I have gained from my college years.

I learned who I was and what I wanted out of life. Beginning my tenure here as a physical therapy major, I will be leaving as a dual major in legal studies and sociology. Although fearful of what a change such as this might cost me, I followed my instincts. As I did in this situation, I made sure that my heart was in everything that I did.

I met a great deal of people throughout these past years, and remained close with only the select few I knew I could trust and have built close friendships with. I learned that you cannot compromise yourself to appeal to the likes of another person; you will only end up miserable. I came to understand just how strong my friendships are with my friends back home, and realized that separation cannot hinder even the truest of friendships, no matter how far apart you are.

Not too soon after I left home, I also began to understand just how much I had taken my family for granted. I was able to appreciate all that they do for me so much more than I previously had. I know that whether I am going through an extremely tough time, or just need a small, weekend getaway, I always have somewhere to go home to. Sometimes too many people lose sight of that.

Lastly, this is something that I feel I cannot stress enough. While I do feel that it is important to work as hard as you can to get to where you want to go, never feel that one or two poor test grades are going to make or break you; they will not determine your future. There are so many things more important in life than dwelling over a poor test or essay grade. College can be an extremely stressful time, so it is important to not put more pressure on yourself than you can handle. Always be sure to allow you yourself some extra breathing room for when some things seem like they are too much to handle. Take a walk, or go visit a friend. Just be sure to cut yourself some slack. Remember that despite a poor test grade or two, you will get to where you want to go in life if you are willing to give it your all in getting there. Do not let one minor setback overshadow all of your achievements.

Your college experience is only going to be as eventful and rewarding as you make it. Be open to new people, places and things. Do not be afraid to be who you are, regardless of what someone else may think. Trust your instincts. Stand up for yourself. Learn the art of compromise. Get involved. Have fun. Treasure the relationships you have with your friends and family.

College is about so much more than the classes or the parties. It is a chance for you to grow into and feel comfortable in your own skin. Give whatever you do your best, and do whatever it takes to get as much as you can out of this short-lived experience.


About Karen Marino