Ask anyone that has been through college, “what’s the most important thing you learned in those years?” Maybe some of them will tell you that they learned to have fun, or challenge themselves. Maybe some of them discovered a new passion, or met the love of their life. There are an infinite number of experiences during college, but I bet that 99% of them have nothing to do with just classes. College teaches you an infinite number of life lessons, many of which come from within yourself. No one can prepare you for the ways in which your life can change, and the whirlwind can often feel a bit crazy. So, what’s to be expected?
For one, your attitude towards your family changes. Not that you didn’t appreciate your family before, but now that you don’t get to see them all the time, they’re less involved in your life’s direction. You’re an adult now, you make your own choices, and even if you are not yet completely independent, you have a life that you can come back and share with them: one that they don’t know much about, and one that is completely your own. Not to mention, your parents have lives too! Maybe they’ve joined a new group, or found a completely new passion to pursue. Even your siblings may have grown up completely while you were gone. Absence makes the heart grow fonder! There are so many experiences and fascinating stories that you can share with the ones you used to spend most of your time with.
On another note, everything you know about yourself and your college experience will change, and that’s ok! Maybe you’ll completely switch majors, find a completely different friend group than you expected, or part ways with a pastime that used to define you. The person you were during your senior year in high school is bound to be worlds different than the person you become during college. Who knows how tomorrow may completely change your life, and who knows what new passion you might find.
Lastly: What keeps you healthy? I’m not just talking about refraining from eating pasta 5 out of 7 nights per week, or learning not to eat out for every meal. What keeps your mind healthy? Maybe it’s a weekly yoga class, or time just to yourself. Maybe you make it a routine to go swimming in the mornings, or maybe you watch the sunset with your friends. Whatever it is, it’s up to you. You don’t have someone telling you to go to sleep at a reasonable hour, and you don’t have someone telling you who you should spend your time with. At this point, you do what makes you happy, and ditch what doesn’t.
College is the time to find yourself. As cheesy as that may sound, it’s the time when you can figure out for yourself what you really cherish, and you can put other people’s opinions on how to live your life aside. You’ll be challenged to keep those you care for close, pursue the things you love, and grow and mature as a person, and sometimes it might get overwhelming. Going to college, and in particular going to Berkeley, is an incredible gift, and it’s up to you to decide how you want to make the most out of it!