3 Life Lessons Being At College Has Taught Me

Thank you for all the lessons you’ve taught me both inside and outside the classroom, college.

“The difference between school and life? In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.”

I am a firm believer of this saying. While I may not have graduated from college yet, these past three years have taught me innumerable lessons on life – all of which I will take forward in life. Not everything can be taught in a classroom. I remember in high school how it was a simple routine. Early morning dance practices. Classes. Extracurriculars. Homework. Sleep. That was my life five days of the week. I was used to this routine. I mean why wouldn’t I be? I was getting good grades and doing things I love – service, dance, and music. I was in this protected bubble and at my comfort zone. Little did I know how much this was going to change after stepping onto campus in the fall of 2013. Now after three years of being in college, while some of the routine has remained the same, the new independence, friends, lifestyle, and workload have taught me a lot more lessons. I have highlighted three of the many lessons that I believe has made me a better person.

1. Discovering Who I Really Am

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “To be yourself in a world that is trying to make you something else is a great accomplishment.” So a question such as “who am I?” really gives me the opportunity to differentiate and express who I really am and who I can be. While I seemed to know who I am for all those college applications senior year of high school, these past three years of self-discovery, the “fun course a semester idea,” spontaneous decisions, and new adventures have brought a new dimension to how I’d answer this question today. Through all of my successes, failures, and moving slowly, but surely out of my comfort zone, I’ve begun to recognize who I am and who I want to be. What I can really say is that I am progressing to make a brighter future for myself.

2. Discovering Who My Real Friends Are

Before coming to college, all I wanted was to get to meet everyone my year. Pretty ambitious, I know. But, to some extent, I made a lot of new friends freshmen year. Making friends for a lot of us comes naturally, but maintaining these friendships can become somewhat difficult.Little did I know that quality is so much more important than quantity — even in friendships. The simple truth is friends will come and go. And, that’s completely normal.

I’ve learned how to build trust within myself. I’ve learned how to let go of negativity, let go of the fake friends, and to stop worrying over people who aren’t doing you any good in life. It’s just not worth it.

I’ve quickly learned that true friendships are one of the most important things you can get out of life. At a place like my college, you need true friends to keep you sane, to keep you grounded, and to keep you motivated to chase your dreams. I have friends who are like family today. Without them, I can’t even imagine life to be the same. Without college, I would have never learned the value of true friendship and would have never gotten the courage to let go of those who aren’t true.

3. Discovering A Balance in Life

Achieving life balance was and is one of the largest challenges that we as college students face. After all, we have to juggle a wide variety of activities — from coursework to social life to extracurriculars — in addition to monitoring our mental and physical well-being. When I was a freshmen myself, I struggled to find that balance. There were many days I would go to class and then just chill with my friends. I’d start homework at 2AM and oftentimes, if lucky, get 3-4 hours of sleep. A couple days before midterms, I was frantically cramming for them. Sure, the classes were somewhat easier then, so it didn’t totally ruin my academic record. But, I knew I had to change my ways to balance sleep, academics, and friendship if I had to survive the rigor of the Biomedical Engineering curriculum.

Learning to say “no” was how I fixed this issue. You live for yourself. You can’t live your life doing what other people want you to do. It was hard at first, but keeping my goals and that balance in mind, it eventually worked out. College has given me a little glimpse into how to be better organized, balance fun and work, and put my priorities in order.

In May 2017, not only will I remember my college as four years of bliss, a symbol of complete freedom, and self discovery, it has also helped me develop essential life skills such as these three. Like Einstein’s words go, “the only source of knowledge is experience.” Thank you for all the lessons you’ve taught me both inside and outside the classroom, college.

© AвнιAятѕ 2016

Corruption

The angle I took this picture from makes this building look condescending and mysterious.

Not sure what it is about this image, but the first thing I thought of was corruption. Nothing against the actual company and to be honest, I don’t even know who owns this building. But the angle I took this picture from makes this building look condescending and mysterious. We’ve all heard the phrase: “The rich get richer. And poor get poorer.” But, why is the inequality gap only increasing? Why is it that non-profit companies have leaders who makes millions annually? Why is it that no one has been discussing distribution of wealth at the Presidential Race debates? Maybe because they’re part of that low percentage of rich people in the nation — in fact, world. Maybe because whatever they say (if they decide to say or do something), people (rich and poor) argue about it extensively and no conclusion is ever made. Just some Tuesday afternoon thoughts. 🙂

© AвнιAятѕ 2016

 

The Westin Peachtree Plaza

That building represents my life in America. Wow, what a deep statement you may be wondering. Yes, it’s how much Westin means to me.

Some cities are known for great job opportunities. Some for their history. Some for its unique architecture. Some for the great hospitality. Hmm even some for the low cost of living. But, to me, Atlanta, the city I’ve lived for more than 13 years, made its very first connection with me with its Westin building. Before moving to Atlanta, I lived in West Des Moines, Iowa, but had visited New York City, Chicago, and other great cities. But, I had never heard of a revolving floor in a building.

I’m not sure what it is with my fascination in architecture and admiration for tall buildings, but Westin just blew my mind away when I first visited it in 2003 with my family. I remember every moment of that particular visit as if it was yesterday. Walking from the parking lot to the building, trying to avoid the sun as I looked up to see the tall building, fighting with my sister to press the elevator buttons to the top floor where the restaurant was located, ordering pizza out of all the fancy dishes they had so my grandparents can eat it too, posing for the old camera my dad had then, quickly eating the food to go explore the revolving floor — everything’s just so fresh in my mind.

Ever since that visit and hearing about the hotels in the building, I was determined to live there. Of course, that just wasn’t feasible as a 9-year old. But, I do get to live five minutes away from it now at college and have it as my view from my apartment. I can see it from my favorite study spot on campus too…perhaps that’s why it’s my spot.

That building represents my life in America. Wow, what a deep statement you may be wondering. Yes, it’s how much Westin means to me. Seeing it as I head to the airport for a great vacation or picking up loved ones, seeing it as I go to the temple to pray for peace with my family, seeing it as I entered freshmen orientation on campus as a nervous 18-year old — Westin has seen me experience a lot of phases in life. Perhaps why I added such dramatic filters to this photograph.

© AвнιAятѕ 2016

The Power of Sisterhood

Without a sister, I would not be who I am today.

My little sister graduated from high school recently and what an occasion it was for my family. As an older sister (only by three years), it was the first time I was tearing up. Yeah, I’ve graduated myself (no tears then), seen my friends graduate after me (no tears then either), and even been to my sister’s other award ceremonies (still no tears). And this girl has been honored at a wide range of events — from academics to extracurriculars. But this graduation was different.

It was a day that I’ll never forget. It was a day I was excited about since she was about to start her next chapter in life. It was a day I truly felt proud to be her older sister. I was not hesitant to scream my lungs out when her name was called to the stage to pick up her diploma. I was not hesitant to tear up in front of hundreds. Most importantly, I was not hesitant to call her my biggest joy in life.

It’s such a weird feeling. Seeing her with all her special cords, medals, tassel, and graduation robe just immediately made me nostalgic. Three years ago, when I was in her shoes, she was there to support me, to yell when my name was called on stage, to take pictures of me and my friends with our diplomas, and to stand up for me whenever someone tried to say anything disrespectful behind or in front of me. It took me 18 years to realize the true power of sisterhood and its importance in my family.

My sister and I are known opposites. Three examples right here: I’m loud, absolutely adore cricket, and dislike Mexican food. She’s quiet, hates watching cricket, and eats nothing but quesadillas. But what connects us is our love for our culture whether that be music, dance, or cinema and our love for each other. This doesn’t necessarily mean we never fight. In fact, we used to and still fight — a lot. But these fights have brought us even closer to each other.

When I was young, I’ve wished to be the only child just so all my parents’ love is towards me. But man, was I wrong. Without someone to share things with, without someone to fight with or even blame things on, without someone to apologize to after making a mistake, without someone to play games with, without someone my age at home with me to share my feelings with — without a sister, I would not be who I am today. And, this graduation just took me through this reminiscing ride of appreciating my sister’s love and support for me always.

Love ya sis and can’t wait for more memories.

Image Source

Alone and Bold

We tend to forget that alone is also a beautiful adjective for those who strive to be different and not always conform to societal pressures and expectations.

Often, alone is used interchangeably with with insecure or lack of confidence. We tend to forget that alone is also a beautiful adjective for those who strive to be different and not always conform to societal pressures and expectations. Why even live your one life for the society and not for yourself?

© AвнιAятѕ 2016