Monday, May 9, 2016

Graduation AKA Freedom

Well I officially graduated from college this weekend. It’s extremely weird. This semester I had an insane amount of homework, assignments, essays, projects, and exams. I was seriously constantly either at work, school, studying, or sleeping. So it hasn’t been a very fun semester. I couldn’t be happier to be done however strange it feels.  

To me, graduation meant freedom. It’s no secret that Tyler hasn’t been my favorite place. I mean I spent half the time planning trips to get out of there and the other half on the said trips. I definitely did everything in my power to hurry up and graduate so I could move on with my life and not be tied down there or anywhere. Don’t get me wrong, Tyler has been good to me and provided me with a lot of great opportunities and experiences. I’ve made some great friends and enjoyed my time there, it just wasn’t where I was meant to stay.

Although I’ve learned tons in the last four years, I feel like I’ve learned more about myself and the world than any school subject. I’ve actually been feeling like an adult lately and it’s strange. The past few years I’ve kept asking myself what it means to be an adult, because I definitely don’t feel like one even though I basically am one. I’ve also kept asking myself “Is this what life is actually like?” And as I struggled to maintain a full-time job, a 4.0, a social life, and myself, I felt the world moving around me. As I traveled the world and met amazing people and saw incredible things and places, I feel like I got a better grasp on life. They say college is where you find yourself and I can definitely attest to that.

So here are four things I’ve learned about life in the last four years that have nothing to do with school:

1.  Life never goes how you think it’s going to.
      It's  safe to say my life hasn’t ended up how I pictured it at all, and that what I wanted in life has changed multiple times as well. I look around at my life and my friend’s lives and literally none of us have the life we planned on having five years ago. But that’s okay. Just something I’ve had to learn in the past few years. Crazy things are going to constantly happen that are out of your control. Life just kind of has a mind of its own and it’s more about how you adjust to it that actually determines your fate. It’s okay if things don’t go exactly to plan.

      2. Happiness is a choice.
This goes off of the first point. I used to think “If ____ will happen, or if I can just get to ____ point in life I’ll be happy”. But when life hands you lemons you really have two choices, suck on the lemon and let it make you bitter, or make lemonade. Each day you wake up you have the choice to be happy. Yes, things may happen in life out of our control but it’s up to you how you handle it and what you make of it. And it’s okay to be sad or angry for awhile, but ultimately it’s important to wake up and decide you’re going to be happy. I also think our choices determine a lot of our happiness. So make sure you choose correctly because a lot of the bad things that happen are direct results of the choices you've made. I’ve found that its crucial when you’re unhappy, to ask yourself why, determine what would make you happier, and go out and do it. It’s really kind of simple when you break it down. Life is way too short to be unhappy for even a day.

3. Kindness is everything.
This is definitely something I’m always working on. I’m not exactly the nicest person on the outside and I know that. But I want to be. Sometimes I’m too caught up in my own problems or too lazy to take the extra step to show kindness. I’ve realized the past two years specifically just how important this really is. The world can honestly be a pretty crappy place. I know I can’t fix the world, but the least I can do is be kind, it costs nothing and gives everything. So build up those around you, tell your friend she is pretty, have a conversation with the lonely elderly man in the grocery store, smile at everyone, see your parents more, encourage people, go out of your way for people and expect nothing in return. Not only will it make you feel happier, but each small act of kindness makes the world a little bit better.  I know it’s impossible to always be kind, but if you treat it as a daily reminder and goal, I promise you’ll see the difference.

4. Friends and family are everything.
This continues off of the last point as well. Being gone so much and juggling so many responsibilities these last few years has been hard on my relationships with the people I care about. It’s hard to keep in touch when you’re thousands of miles and many time zones away. It’s hard to make time to see people when you’ve already so much on your plate. But I regret that. Life isn’t all about work. Whether that’s schoolwork or job-work. It’s important to set aside time and effort for people. One thing that I’ve realized is that I would be nothing without my friends and family and people to come home to. It’s great to go out into the world and see and do amazing things. But without the people you care about behind you, you’re still empty. Relationships with family and friends are just as important as accomplishing goals and doing the things you’ve always wanted to do. It takes an intricate balance of both.

So there you have it. The four biggest things I’ve learned that have nothing to do with financial markets or differential equations. I try to remind myself of these things everyday. College does a great job in preparing you for a career, but also tests you and teaches you other things that are important in life. I’m excited for the future and surprise-surprise, I’m actually feeling prepared and like I can handle anything. I’m still trying figure out when this whole adult-thing happened?!

Bonus: Here are some Grad pictures with my family. 

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