By Casey Niebuhr | firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m sure it’s safe to say the majority of college students have reached the point of the semester where we’re not sure if we’re getting sick, not sure what assignments we have – or we do and we just keep procrastinating – and we’re beginning to stress out about midterms and whether or not college is worth it.
Or maybe it’s just me.
As I ponder the impending due dates of my courses and whether or not I’m actually going to pass my courses, there is one self-defining question that I, as well as most of us, I’m sure, have struggled with: Am I going to succeed?
As I sit and reflect on this question, which occurs quite often, I remember the key points of college life I told myself as I began my experience here at Flagler, which, although are not guaranteed to aid every student who strolls through Ponce de Leon’s gate, may have an impact on select few here and off campus.
1. Success requires hard work
We have been told since our early years of education that the road to success is not a paved one, and that many potholes and other obstacles lay ahead—which is a piece of advice that four-year-old me did not have the mental capacity to comprehend and completely shrugged off my shoulders. Sometimes I like to think that maybe the road from pre-school to college freshman would have been a little bit easier if I had meditated on that piece of advice, but through all the ups-and-downs that have been my academic career I’m still here, so I suppose I’m doing something right.
2. Failing doesn’t mean giving up
I know now that I, and I alone, am responsible for my life, but that doesn’t ignore the possibility of external and internal restrictions from enacting inevitable anxieties on the thought of my impending future. I suppose it’s with the anxieties that I am to experience at Flagler that I take them all in my mind and analyze the situation. When I encounter something blocking me from my path to success, like an anxiety-inducing paper or a test that’s worth 10 percent of my overall grade, I have to take a breather and analyze what’s giving me so much stress. I have come to the conclusion that if I get an F on an assignment that it isn’t the end of the world—or my academic career. I know that failing isn’t the worst thing that is going to happen to me, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try hard and study anyway. Everyone should work hard for the goals they want to achieve. If you work hard and fail, it’s okay. Take your failure and turn it into something positive—turn it into a learning experience. You must learn to fail in order to succeed.
3. You control your life now
If something is deterring you from doing your best, now is the time to fix it. College is the primetime to break your old habits and develop new ones. Stop holding off on the night-before your assignment is due to work on it (we’re all guilty). You are in control of how you live, though you are not entirely in control of what happens to you. Wake up early, have your breakfast, get into a routine. Go to class, do your homework, eat dinner, get into a routine. Your routine is your outline of life, and it’s easier to live when you have some idea of what to expect.
4. Self care is important
Though routines can be important to your daily function, never be afraid to try something spontaneous. If you want to make an impulsive trip to the beach, do it. If you want to go down to St. George Street and get a dessert, check your bank account first, and do it. Go out and experience the world around you the way it should be experienced: freely. Sit with a new person in the dining hall and ask them how they are; make a new friend. Take road-trips on the weekends (but get your work done first). If you can, go past the boarders beyond the United States. There’s always time for something amusing while you’re hard at work on your studies; you just have to take that step and search the world around you to find it.
5. Determine the reputation you leave behind
As you look over the landscape of opportunity, analyze it. Not everything in the world is presented in a flawless way. There are many imperfections in the world that can be improved, and I encourage you to go out and make a change. Speak out for what you believe in—and more importantly who you believe in. Encourage others and help them improve. We as a collective people and our societies are intertwined. We two entities depend on each other, for as we change the world, the world will change us, and we will be enthralled into the constant cycle of life. Before you leave the archway of what is Flagler College, find something that you want to change. Make a difference.
6. Change is OK
As you make a difference in the world around you, it’s important to keep in mind that the person you are today will not be the same person that leaves campus in the near future. You may have an entirely different major (yes, you can change). Your morals may be entirely different than the morals you have now. It’s always OK to be a new person, so long as you never forget all the people that you have been in the past and are happy when you reflect on yourself.
7. Goals keep you going
As you maneuver your way through your academic career, try and find something that motivates you to keep going. Motivation can be virtually anything that can get you to where you want to be. It can be a song that keeps your feet tapping, a book that constantly keeps you reading, or a goal that you want to achieve so much that nothing will get in your way of achieving it.
8. Everything’s OK in the end
No matter what happens to us on our road to academic success, we will all turn out OK in the end. The only thing that matters is how we live and experience our journey toward our own successes.