Tomorrow is my college commencement ceremony. It feels weird to say that, because a lot of the time, I still feel as though I’ve been reverted to high school mentalities, or even younger. The last couple of weeks has been largely spent reminiscing. For instance, one day at my college’s newsroom, we spent the entire afternoon listening to ’90s alternative songs, like “Lullaby” by Shawn Mullins and Collective Soul’s hits and “Closing Time,” all of which we deemed ‘dad rock,’ all of which every single one of us sang word-for-word. Lots of chats with my homegirl Jennifer (she is literally my wife) about ’90s fashion and the stupid things we would wear, say and do in high school or junior high.
It has been a little surreal, especially how quickly college passed. High school seemed to take forever to get through. Each day seemed like a chore, we actually had homework and social statuses actually mattered. College, to me, was less about higher education education and more about higher social education. Or higher self education. I have learned a lot in these past four years, and I’ll share them now.
01. Trust no one.
Okay, maybe this is a little bit of a brash start, but it’s the heartiest lesson I have learned, to date. This world really is, and will forever be, man-eat-man. People are going to suck, forever. I know that’s not the most eloquent way to phrase it, but it’s the most honest. Each person in this world is set to better themselves, and the sooner a person can realize this, the better. I have, but I still don’t fully act on it, which is why I get burned a lot. It happens, but having a little doubt for people really does go a long, long way.
02. Love is fleeting/mind games are forever.
…I feel like a Negative Nancy, but I’m going to keep rolling with it. Through my four years of college, I have been in two serious relationships, dated a few other people, and so on and so forth. I’ll spare the details because I know my dad reads this and he probably doesn’t want me to go into much depth (hey dad!) for his sake, so I won’t. If there is one thing I have learned, no matter how hard I tried to avoid it or wished it away or seek out suitors that don’t quite follow this mentality, it will always be true: mindgames work. I hate them. I really do. I can’t stand them. The whole cat-and-mouse game of ‘I want you so I’m going to be really rude to you and make you think I hate you, which in turn makes you want me harder’ is so fundamentally flawed in every single way, but when it comes right down to it, is so painfully accurate. Yes, keep ignoring me and giving me the cold shoulder! I love you! I love you! (Though, if you act that way for too long, I really will start to think you hate me, and totally move on, so.. hah! You lose at your own game, sucker!) But really, love goes in a bell curve, and sometimes it curves back up again and stays that way, but when you are young, like I am, it tends to fall back down and the inevitable break-up or parting of ways ensues. And I’ve come to accept it… even though I am still duped by the tricky mind game every time, which I never see coming (I’ll learn, one day!).
03. Learning is really, really, really easy.
I may not have had the best grades of all of my friends, by any means, but the main reason for this was because I didn’t feel like learning the material. I thought.. you know what, I am paying for this education (or at least, I will be when my loan payments start kicking in) so I feel like I have the right to learn what I want to learn, and ignore what I want to ignore. I did, and when I fully took over the mentality of ‘I can learn it if I want to learn it,’ I became so much wiser. I did extremely well in my philosophy and psychology classes (because let’s face it, those goods are seriously interesting) and not so much in my biology or history classes (I mean, I did really well on the Ancient Greece portion..) I know this is super Motivational Poster of me but, if you have the right attitude about learning something, you totally will. Granted, my attitude was only right about 10 percent of the time, but it’s not my fault that general education courses are so broad in nature (and vast and all-encompassing and draining and awful and pointless and I’m never going to use sine or cosine ever again).
04. Ralph’s brand (aka Kroger) is just as good, if not better, than name brands.
This is completely true in every instance except Ralph’s “Zips,” which are the knock-off of Ritz crackers. But seriously, everything else tastes just as good as the name brand and saves at least 2-3 dollars per item. This is a valuable, valuable lesson that I have learned, and it has saved me tons of money over the years.
05. Regret very little.
I know, this is pretty Hallmark trite, but it’s held quite true. I like to think that I have no regrets, because my mistakes have really enabled me to learn a hell of a lot about myself and my behavior. I’m really thankful for my mistakes and my flaws, because it’s really only uphill from here, and I’ll never err in the same way again.
I’ve done a lot of growing up recently, and not all of it has been easy. I’m glad for everything that has happened to me in the last four years, despite a lot of the pain that was weaved in with the joy, and the strife that almost threatens to overshadow the fun at times. I will miss you all (or, most of you, anyway).