By Sam Combest– 

Picture this: in just three weeks, you will be a college graduate, you’re pushing through classes, scheduling finals early and stressing over job interviews. You sit back and start reflecting on the last four years of college, trying to figure out where the time went. Graduation may seem a lifetime away, but looking back, it went by faster than you could say Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

You are about to embark on the most exciting, wild and stressful time of your life.

Now that we have all of the sappy gunk out of the way, let’s go even deeper.

It’s okay to be afraid.

Moving out and into your first dorm or apartment is probably something you dreamed about in high school. You may be walking into your empty dorm room when it hit’s you; “I’m actually in college now.”

We all have that ah-hah moment when it finally clicks. It hits everyone differently and that’s okay. You may be freaking out, realizing for the first time ever, you can’t just yell down the hall to ask your mom a question. You may be excited and feel like you’re on top of the world. You may be feeling overwhelmed with a mix of emotions, but remember, you are here. You have a purpose. You are officially a college student.

I’ll let you in on a secret though. A lot of your fellow freshman are probably feeling the same way looking around at their peers. Don’t be afraid to go sit with a stranger at the SAC that may be eating alone.

You may have a lot of worries about college, but don’t. Everyone is in the same boat.

Here comes the stereotypical “get involved” statement. 

Everyone says it but I mean it. Find the place where you belong and find people you have something in common with.

I regrettably did not get involved with the Ville’ns and The Cardinal until my senior year. Because of my involvement I got to be on the floor at every single Men’s basketball game. I got to sit in on meetings with President Bendapudi, Vince Tyra, Coach Mack and others. I got to meet tons of people through my senior year, that I otherwise would not have the opportunity to meet.

I got to go to my first ever March Madness game in Des Moines, Iowa where I had Bill Murray sitting just four rows down from me. I got to sit at the team hotel’s bar talking with local sports journalists hearing about Murray serving the entire hotel bar food and drinks.

Self Care is important. 

You are battling school, work, family, extra curriculars, and who knows what else, but don’t forget your “me time.”

Remember this: surviving is still thriving. You may be feeling like you’re barely holding on, but you are here.

Your homework can wait. Not saying don’t do it, but if you are too overwhelmed or underwhelmed to do it, and won’t be able to turn in quality work, TALK TO YOUR PROFESSOR. Professors are there to help. They want to help so let them.

Professors are more than teachers, they can be your greatest asset when graduation time comes. They can end up being a reference or mentor, and best of all, your friend.

Failure is okay. 

I never thought I would ever have to tell my parents that I failed a class. I went from honor roll and part of National Honors society with academic awards to transferring with a 1.7 GPA looking for a fresh start.

As embarrassing as that 1.7 GPA was, I don’t think I would’ve had the same life lessons from college if I had kept with my honor roll. I learned failure happens, even more so, I learned who I was becoming and what path I didn’t want to go down. I lost more than my KHEEA money. I lost what I stood for, I lost my focus, my drive and I dropped all my goals. My failure snapped me out of it.

Coming home was a nightmare, or so I thought. I came home from my freshman year of college completely defeated, just a skeleton of who I was and even farther from who I wanted to be.

If there is anything you can take out of my failure it would be the following: go to class, reach out to your professor the second you feel behind and don’t be too proud to get a tutor. If you feel life is weighing you down, seek help. If you’re failing and it’s not due to your lack of trying, consider that maybe you were meant to go down another path.

College is a time of finding your talents and strengths and learning how to utilize them. This is your time away and your time to find yourself and your passions. You are now in charge of your journey.

If you look back and have regrets, you didn’t do it right.

Oh, and one more thing, don’t forget to call your mom and check in with your family.

Photo courtesy of Sam Combest / The Louisville Cardinal