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I recently did my first Q&A, and I got asked about what my advice to college freshman would be. I did a lot of soul searching before I answered, and it got me thinking about all of the things I learned during my college years that had nothing to do with school.

To answer the original question, I wrote:

“Don’t pigeonhole yourself into a group of friends, or one club, or even one ‘identity.’

Try everything you want to try. Take every class you want, join all the clubs, and go to every speaker that sounds interesting even (sometimes especially) if you have to go alone.

Listen to yourself, and what you really want. You’ll find your people through doing what you love, but you won’t find what you love for other people.

It’s not surprising that I still stand by that since I only wrote it two days ago. I did decide that I had a lot more to say about it then just a quick answer on instagram though. Hence, this post.

Here’s what I learned about myself and about the world while in college:

It is never selfish to consider your own well-being first.

Trust your instincts. If you have a bad feeling about something, don't do it. If you have any gut feelings about someone, you’re probably right.

Pursue things fearlessly. Throw yourself whole-heartedly into your whatever you’re doing. You will never regret not trying.

A dog on campus is a true blessing and you should always ask to pet it.

You can’t just ignore the things you know are true but wish weren’t. You either need to confront these things, or accept them.

Apply to everything you want. Even if you think you’re not good enough, or not popular enough, or not experienced enough. You are enough, and you might surprise yourself.

Sometimes people aren't who you wish they were, or you thought they were at one time. There’s nothing you can do about that but accept it, or move on.

You should never be afraid or ashamed to try something and fail.

People can be really, truly mean sometimes. Trust me, I know how much it can hurt. The strongest thing you can do is forgive them.

Don’t ever let the opinions or actions of others keep you from doing what you want, and finding success, whatever that means to you.

Every texting “rule” that’s out there is dumb. Do whatever you want.

(the next few are about boys, yikes)

If you’re telling yourself that some boy is so sweet, and so amazing solely because he kept talking to you on occasion after that one frat party, that’s not a good enough reason. You are worth more than that. Don’t harden your heart, but don’t ever settle for someone who doesn't totally embrace all of you for everything that you are. You are worthy of real love.

College is a time for questioning. Some of your opinions are going to change, your friends will change, your fashion sense might change. Those things can be, and probably are, all good things. But, don’t ever question or compromise your values for someone else. That’s not okay. If anyone makes you feel bad for sticking to your standards or values, they don’t deserve you and they’re not worth it.

Real relationships are partnerships, they’re about facing the world side by side, not with one person following in the other’s shadow. Someone who actually cares about you will be there to support your independent actions, not just pull you along with theirs.

(that’s far more than enough about boys)

Every moment is an opportunity to be kind.

If you want to change the world, you have to start very small. On the same note, even if you can’t change the world, you can have a much larger impact than you think by simply caring for those around you.

Finally, college is a place where you can find yourself, but that doesn't mean you have to lose yourself to get there.

At the end of the day, I want to write about the things that I wish I had read. This post was something that I probably wrote for myself more than anything. But, if it’s what someone out there needed to read today, I’d love to chat with you. XOXO


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