Hello from Seattle! My sweet sister is graduating from high school on Friday– I almost can’t believe it. She’s headed off to her dream school (on scholarship!) in a few months, and I couldn’t be prouder of her.
I’m so lucky to have her as my sister. Nina is outgoing and inviting, endlessly generous, and incredibly forgiving. She can run for miles and miles, and she’s an old soul. She also has the arms of a Women’s Health catalogue model. :)
Okay. Enough with the sappy stuff. In the spirit of her upcoming university adventure, I thought I’d share a few of my guidelines for success as a young, collegiate woman. (Not like she needs them).
1. Remember that your primary goal in college is to figure out more about who you are. What do you value? Who do you want to spend your time with? What makes you happy? Of course, I’d imagine that these questions are never truly answered, but after college, you have the chance to pick any path you’d like. So I think it’s a great idea to start collecting experiences and really asking yourself these questions, so that you’re ready for that choice.
2. Allow yourself to try things that push yourself outside of your comfort zone. In my sophomore year, I joined the USC salsa team with absolutely no salsa experience. I was nervous and afraid that I’d look ridiculous. (Do people talk to each other when they’re salsa dancing? How exactly do you “follow” your partner?) All I can say is– I’m so glad I did. I had an insane amount of fun, learned a lot about a culture that I didn’t even know existed, and met some truly awesome people.
3. But remember– trust yourself when something doesn’t feel right. Without a doubt, you will encounter situations that make you feel uneasy. I’m not talking about the butterflies that I got before salsa tryouts, I’m talking about that gut feeling that you’re about to be involved in something you don’t think is right. It doesn’t matter what that is. It could be a party that gets out of hand, or the way the new guy that you’re dating is talking to you. If something feels off, all you have to do is leave. Don’t hesitate– trust yourself. That feeling is reason enough.
4. Take initiative in the relationships that matter. When I first went to college, I was lonely and sad. I knew absolutely no one in Los Angeles and felt like it was a world away from home. Then, one day, I met my best friend. At the time of course, she was a stranger who I just thought was pretty awesome, but we really hit it off. So I went for it! I asked her to go to a museum one afternoon, and the next week she asked me go shopping with her. It was the first time I’d really formally “made a friend,” but it was worth every effort. Now, she’s like family! And of course we go shopping all of the time.
5. And finally, stay organized. This is going to sound crazy– but, I never pulled an all-nighter in college. I also don’t remember ever missing a major social event. For me, it worked to wake up in the morning and get all of my homework out of the way. I spaced it out between days, which made it relatively painless. Of course there were weeks that were more stressful than others, but my college memories are centered around my friends and all of our adventures, not on finishing endless essays in the middle of the night. I think it was worth it. :)