5 Things College Taught Me That Totally Changed My Outlook On Life

by Ariella Sharf

When you think about college, you think about the final school experience of your life. It's a continuation of your education, and once you graduate, into the real world you go. I used to associate college with textbooks, lecture halls, mounds of homework and tons of exams.

Now, "college" doesn't drudge up anything that has to do with academics. It's about more than filling your brain with knowledge; it's truly a place for learning about life.

Growing up in a suburb of New York, I always knew I wanted to have my college career in a city. The majority of the ten schools to which I applied were in a city or within minutes from one. All I wanted was a completely new experience.

The waiting game I played while waiting to hear my fate was awful; I thought more about my fear of not getting in than how excited I was to begin a new chapter in my life. Although I knew I would be admitted somewhere, my mind filled with dread and fear of the unknown.

What if I didn't get into any of the schools I wanted to attend? What if the curriculum is too difficult? What if my professors aren't good? It was one "what if" after another, but soon, the acceptance letters started rolling in.

Now in my fourth year of college as a psychology major at Northeastern University in Boston, I realize that I have learned more than in any other chunk of time in my life.

Here are five important perils of wisdom college has taught me:

1. Mother always knows best.

We all hate to admit it, but it's the truth: Our mothers always know best. When I got rejected from my number-one school, I was absolutely devastated.

Over and over, my mom told me that everything happens for a reason. As far back as I remember, she has reminded me of that, whenever something doesn't go as expected or desired. I used to get so angry and frustrated and want nothing more than for her to be wrong in her statement.

Now, at 21 years old and a soon-to-be college graduate, there is nothing I can say to refute her statement. There was a reason I ended up attending my second-choice school; I can't imagine being happier anywhere else. Even if it's not apparent at the time, your mother always knows best.

2. People change, memories don't.

I lost some of my closest friends in college. I dwelled on this reality day-in and day-out, and could not seem to get over it. I constantly blamed myself for doing something wrong that led to the friendships falling apart.

Nostalgia took over my thoughts like a wrecking ball. All I could think about were the childhood conversations we had about being in each other's weddings.

College was a time when I realized that people were changing and having different life experiences. The reason my friends and I drifted was nothing beyond having different goals and aspirations. We simply began wanting different things in life, and that is okay because ultimately, the memories last forever.

3. Failure is the key to success.

As a child, nothing scared me more than the idea of failure. Failure meant doom; it would define me and I would be judged for it forever.

I've since learned that there is no key to success bigger than that of failure. Without getting a big, fat "F" on an exam, you won't have any motivation to try harder the next time around.

Nobody is perfect, and although people try, perfection is impossible.

After having to take a semester off of school due to mental illness, I felt as though I had failed in life. Guess what? Even though I saw the experience as a failure, it set me up for great success in my second half of college.

I started my own company and changed my major to psychology, as I knew I would be able to help other kids who had experienced what I did.

4. Your degree is nothing but a title.

Unless you become a lawyer or a doctor, let's be real: Your degree is nothing but a title. That's not to say that you shouldn't try hard, but for the most part, passion does not reside in a textbook.

Not everybody loves everything about what they learned to earn their degrees. I love studying psychology and think it is so interesting, but I know I probably won't be a social worker or psychiatrist. I will probably end up doing something about which I am passionate, like writing.

Some of the most impactful people in the world were college dropouts, or didn't go to college at all. Don't stress; your diploma doesn't dictate the rest of your life.

5. Relationships will happen at the right time.

Once I started college, it seemed as if everybody was suddenly in serious relationships, and there I was, minding my own business. I was taught to do something with passion or to not do it at all, so I am waiting for something special.

Don't force a relationship because time flies, and as we grow up, it flies even faster. Don't waste it on something that doesn't merit your time.

Photo Courtesy: We Heart It