Thinking back on the past four years, it wasn’t all the projects and exams that stick out to me most (although those were important). What stands out most clearly is the wise words I consumed during a simple lecture or a conversation. When all the very structured curriculum fell away, real talk was left. And those are the wise words I carry with me to this day.
It’s okay to eliminate people from your life whom you’ve outgrown.
Harsh, but true. We may feel guilty that we don’t still hang with the bestie we made that friendship bracelet with freshman year, or that bro we told we’d be in his wedding. I was one of these people; constantly trying to keep every single minor friendship I had ever made. Thankfully, one of my professors made me feel a little bit better about letting some of them go. As we get older, we grow. It doesn’t have to be a harsh falling out, but simply a mutual understanding that you went your separate ways, and that’s okay.
You will make mistakes. Learn from them.
My father once told me at a time in my life when I needed a reality check, “If you truly learn from a mistake then you’re a good person. If you repeat the mistake time and time again, then you’re just an asshole.”
This shook me up. Was I really an asshole?
We’re bound to mess up. We’re only human. It’s about realizing that what we do affects other people and accepting responsibility for that.
Sometimes you have to forget the rules and play by your heart.
When it comes to a tough decision, everyone you ask has an opinion. But, at the end of the day, you’re just going to do what you want and what you feel is right. One of the most matter-of-fact teachers taught me that, logic aside, sometimes the right answer truly is just in your ticker.
Step outside your comfort zone.
This life tip can seem so overstated, but I can’t stress it enough. I was really made aware of this when one of my favorite media teachers made me walk up to random people on campus and interview them. Granted, I wanted to crawl in a hole and never come out after my awkwardness reached an all time high. But after it was all said and done, I was so happy I did it. I started talking to people that I normally wouldn’t, just because I could, and it wasn’t even for an assignment.
Find a hobby that isn’t your career.
I’m a prime example myself—I love fashion so much that sometimes I get so wrapped up in it I want to puke. Find an activity that is completely different from what you do at your 9-5. It will probably save your life and your sanity.
Never date the same person twice.
This sounds pretty self explanatory, right? Also, why is a professor giving me relationship advice? Because he’s been around the block, and to be honest, these are some of the things I wish I was being taught all along. If it didn’t feel right time and time again, something might be up. Try writing down in a journal your reasons for breaking it off, and how you felt during those times. Maybe next time you’re about to pick up the phone you’ll break out the journal and reconsider.
When I was assigned to interview a subject for my final project, I chose my sassy and semi intimidating tough-skinned exercise teacher. What I discovered really changed the way I looked at every new person I met forever. When I asked the common question, “Do you have any children?” she explained to me that she had lost one of her babies at birth and that his twin that survived was diagnosed with cerebal palsy. Every day, she takes care of her daughter who is unable to care for herself.
Aside from the valuable lesson of being aware that first impressions can be wrong, consider what others are going through. Post-college job hunting can be confusing and feel like you’re having a quarter life crisis, but it’s important to take a step back and think of people like my pilates teacher and her daughter. She told me that her daughter taught her to be patient. If her daughter wakes up every day and still takes the world by storm, you can too.
Be a nice person.
My college writing teacher told us a few stories about how cruel kids were to him in school that quite frankly made me cringe. He taught us to take away from these stories the importance of just being a good person, and that this carries on even into your first career. If you’re nice, people will want to be around you. And if they don’t, is that someone you really want to be around anyway?
Don’t let failure make you bitter.
Time and time again, I would fail at something and think that maybe there was nothing I was good at. An uncomfortable conference with a teacher changed that for me.
I demanded to know why she kept giving me mediocre to failing grades while I was giving my best efforts. I became angry and blamed her for being the sole reason I was changing my major. I watched the cold defensiveness leave her face and tears form in her eyes as she begged me to continue to work at this and follow my dreams.
My failures only pushed me to work harder and prove those wrong that doubted me. When you’re feeling resentment in a situation similar to mine, consider this. You are in control of your own destiny, so stay positive and be appreciative of those who pushed you to see your true potential. Even if you didn’t realize it at the time.
What did a teacher say to you that influenced you, or even changed your life? Comment below or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.