Year 1: Lessons Learned

by racherickson

I cannot believe that my first year in college is wrapping up. I’ve definitely gotten to that point in my life where time is moving fast, almost too fast. Granted, the last few weeks seem like they go on forever, but in reality, they don’t. Approximately seven short months ago, I was pulling up to David John Hall to unload our Honda Odyssey, which was then full of all the things I deemed “essential” for my freshman year survival.

Looking back, I could have done away with some of these “essential” items.

I don’t think I needed 8 packs of index notecards, seeing as though I only used 3/4 of one pack for my astronomy midterm. I probably didn’t need the 20 pairs of shoes I brought with me because out of the 4 pairs of church shoes I brought, I only wore high heels twice. I didn’t need to bring about half the clothes I have here because I basically just rotate a few outfits (but I like the options the clothes give me). I didn’t need to bring a shelf full of books because I have no time to read them, but it makes me feel cultured. Technically, I didn’t need to bring the amount of DVDs I did, but I would never leave those babies behind. I know I didn’t need to bring those flannel sheets “just in case my room got cold” because our air conditioner stopped working after only a week of living here. It didn’t matter the season, temperature, weather, nothing. It has felt like the center of the sun for the past 7 months (minus one week).

Over the past year, I’ve learned a little bit about life, about me and about other people. I’ve definitely been able to grow as an individual. There’s something about going to college that does that to you — who would have thought, right? Not only have I learned what I kind of, maybe, sort of want to do with my life, I’ve figured out what I for sure DON’T want to do. And that would be political science and any of the sciences/engineering. I’ve been able to develop different characteristics that I may have not been able to otherwise (unfortunately, I haven’t learned to effectively study. But, let’s be honest here, does anyone REALLY know how to do that?).

As I reflect back on what I thought college would be like, I can honestly say that I was completely wrong.

College isn’t something that you should come into expecting it to be a certain way. You will be wrong, I guarantee it. Things happen (or don’t happen), circumstances arise, tests are failed, Cannon Center eating can be a burden. Sometimes everything just seems wrong. And what I’ve gathered is that this is normal. But, despite all of this, I have loved my experience at Brigham Young University. I’m expanding my knowledge by taking interesting classes and at the same time, I’m continuing to develop myself, my interests, my testimony and my life.

I think the most important thing that I’ve learned is that I am a pretty happy person.

We all have our rough days, maybe even a breakdown at some point, but overall, I’ve realized that I love my life. I may not know exactly what I want to do, I may not be in my major yet (and am currently stressing out about the application), I may not be the most spiritual person here, I may have days where I just need some space from everyone and everything, but you know what?

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

It sounds a little cheesy, but it’s completely true. These things that challenge us also raise us up. Because of these things, I’ve continued to grow into the person I want to be. I have been able to shape and mold myself through these experiences. By being placed in these situations, I can choose to be frustrated, I can choose to be sad, I can choose to be anything I want to be. Ultimately, I do struggle with patience and I recognize that that can deter me from different things, however, I’ve learned that I can choose to be happy. My life goal has always been to be happy. That’s something that I’ve always wanted my future to be. My career goals have changed and I’ve changed but I am constantly working to continue my happiness. No matter the circumstances, the situation, the trial, the consequence, I am the one who is in charge of my happiness. Though I knew this before, it has been reinforced over these past months.

The main lesson that I’ve learned is that I am a happy person because I choose to be happy.