College Growth

Many of my friends (real life and on the internet) are starting college this week.  It’s hard for me to believe that I’m not going to college or anywhere near a college anytime soon.  I spent four years for my undergraduate followed by  a year interning and working at a college.  So long story short this summer has been my time away from the entire college scene with no plans to go back.  (to work or for a graduate degree).

There are plenty of bloggers or websites that are better resources for great (and better) college advice but since I currently have a degree I guess I made it through college and did okay for me.  The best piece of advice I can give is:

Do what makes you happy

I joined swim team my freshman year because it made me happy.  I quit swimming my senior year because it made me happy. (I don’t regret any of the three years I spent swimming). I decided to run because it made me happy.  I said yes to going out on a Friday night 12am and that at the time made me happy. I changed my major to community health senior year of college because it made me more happy (then math).  You only have four years (plus or minus) to do things in college to make you happy.  Don’t let them slide by.

Long story short college should not be an extension of your high school experience.  I went into college thinking I knew exactly who I who I was and no one could tell me otherwise.  I still thought that until the end of junior year when I rediscovered myself little by little.  I started to realize I didn’t have all or any of the answers. My senior year I decided to let people in,  put myself first and I slowly changed into someone I was truly proud of.

I’m not saying you aren’t allowed to grow or find yourself outside of college but I am saying being thrown out of your comfort zone you can truly discover things that make you happy. 

Just to prove I went to college…Here is my college experience in a nut shell:

freshman year
freshman year with my freshman year roommate Kierstin
Sophomore year
Sophomore year with my two suitemates
Junior year leading a swim cheer
Junior year leading a swim cheer with my senior year housemate Julie
senior year
senior year
Also senior year ;)
Also senior year 😉

Questions for you:

When did you find you truly discovered your interests or grew (in college or out)?

For me it wasn’t until my senior year of college when I switched majors, left swimming and made other personal choices.  I would also say I learned a lot about myself the first year out of college working.

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  1. As someone who is in college still, I feel like you learn this as you go. My story was similar to yours with the swimming/running thing and at first I was torn because I was trying to please everyone else and prove something to others, but ultimately I made the decision for myself that swimming no long made me happy and running did. I think that’s the most important part of college- finding yourself and doing what makes you happy. We have the rest of our lives to play grown up and do what we’re supposed to do. College is the one time we can experiment and see who we are and where we’re going.

  2. I had some similar experiences like you in college. I changed my major from computer science to sign language interpreting, I swam for two years and then quit the team after that, and I met Mike during college. We didn’t become runners and triathletes until after college, but I was actually in grad school when we started running. I definitely figured out who I was during my college years, though, I think people are always changing who they are and what/who makes them happy.

  3. I learned to ask questions. I learned that it’s ok not to be completely sure of anything – and more often than not, it’s better than the alternative. I learned to be inquisitive. I learned to love learning. I learned about myself and about others. I learned to push my boundaries. I learned to push others boundaries. I learned that it’s important to stand behind your thoughts and be ready to defend them because someone inevitably always comes trying to tell you it’s not the right thought or that you’re just plain wrong. I’ve learned to breathe, step back, and take the world as it is. I learned to speak, question, think and listen at college.

  4. I knew what I wanted to do very clearly before going into school. I had to be sure with physical therapy as my major because it was a 6 year doctorate program, no undergrad and grad work, just 6 straight years at the same school. I grew more once I was out though. I had to depend on just myself to study and get the work done to take my board exam and PASS. And I did and my first job, which I am still at fell in my lap easily. I worked hard through school and it definitely paid off!

  5. I changed a ton in college and I also met my husband. It’s where I learned who I was and who I wanted to be. College gives you the freedom to make mistakes and get second chances and I am always jealous this time of year that I don’t get to go back.

  6. I think I learned a lot about myself just by letting myself experience things. I didn’t go out a majority of my freshman year, then I did, and then I realized I would rather get good grades. I started running a lot and learning being skinny doesn’t make you a better athlete by any means. Just living and learning. I kind of want to go back because I miss certain aspects of college, but then I realize I don’t miss it more than I do miss it. Lol

  7. Honestly I changed a lot in college but also changed a lot after. You are right though, college was a lot of changing comfort zones and I really learned a lot about myself during that time. I had the life experience of drastic things happening AFTER college which changed me more than college ever did but that isn’t the case for most people.

    I’m glad you do the things that make you happy, you DESERVE to be happy.

  8. college had so many ups and downs for me. I was on one path (aka entered in on the running team) and quickly moved away from that (resident advisory) I have to say though I learned so much from that transition time and wouldn’t change it for anything

  9. I went through a big shift in my senior year of college as well. It kind of hit me that what I was studying wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life, and I wish I had gone and changed my majors, but I didn’t because I figured I already put in so much time and effort that not finishing would be a waste. Don’t get me wrong… the things I learned were interesting and will serve me well… but it just wasn’t the field for me. Good thing it’s never too late to make some changes 🙂

  10. I was a lot different in college. I think I got more mature. I started having goals. It was in college that I really sat down and studied. Haha. I guess, same with everyone. You tend to discover yourself in highschool and college is where you become really serious. 🙂

  11. It feels so weird we’re not going back. All weekend, my school was blowing up Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with pictures from orientation, and it made me feel so nostalgic. Yes, I loved college, but would I go back now? No way. And I totally hear you re: collegiate sports. Playing at that level and then “retiring” (lol!) at that level were two of the best decision I’ve ever made.

  12. I’m just now learning what my interests are… and I’m 5 years out of college now! College is a fun time to experiment with what you like and don’t like… but the personal learning continues well on past the college experience. In fact, I think its better when you’re older, to tell the truth 🙂

  13. It was great to read this Hollie… reading about your background and own experience is cool (for lack of a better term). I like to know more about the person behind the blog ya know? I can relate to feelings of discomfort around everyone returning to school and you’re… not. This is the first time since I was 5 I’m not going to school in September. Weird.

  14. You look amazingly happy in all of those pictures girl. It is my final year and I am set on working hard but also having a great time because I get no more chances after this. You need to remember what you just said up there in bold- stepping out of your comfort zone does open yourself up to new experiences and happiness. AKA less stress and more letting things just happen!

  15. I had a think about this. For me, College was an intense, stressful experience, but I would not be the person I am now if I had not had those experiences, and probably even if I had gone to a different school. I am grateful for the people I met, and the things that I learnt about myself, which have shaped my ambitions and personality in ways that I could not have predicted when choosing a school at 17. I posted some of my thoughts here:

  16. I totally agree. Do what you love because you only get one legitimate turn at college. I miss it like crazy but I love not having to study all the time. I think this should be applied in life. Do what you love to do and work will never feel like a job!

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