Everyday I am reaffirmed that I made the right decision for college. SMU has provided me with numerous opportunities, countless excitement, and a myriad of life lessons. Over my four years, I have grown mentally in ways unimaginable. Below you will find some of my top mantras.
1.Life is hard, but we can’t let that stop us
We all experience stress, trauma, and struggle to some degree. As we cannot control everything in our lives, many times we find that the only we can change is our perspective. I grew up with an absent father and had to learn in college that my hurt isn’t something that should define me. I had to learn that while that situation caused numerous psychological scars I have to fight to choose happiness each day and remind myself of where I’m going, while let go of what holds me back.
2. It doesn’t hurt to smile
A smile is a beautiful thing. It communicates many things from a greeting to flirting to friendliness. I have learned that it is important to smile at people. How many times have we walked down the boulevard to see people stare at you with a cold blank expression. Yet the moment a stranger flashes you a genuine smile, it fills your heart with warmth. We need to do that more often because it does make a difference.
Our generation is very connected to a screen. Whether this be our phone, tablet, or computer, we are constantly connected, but not connected. This year I started challenging myself to not look at my phone as I walk down the boulevard, and as hard as it is, I start to notice things. I mean really notice thing like the color of the leaves outside my window. I had no idea they turned red for fall! How did I miss that. I’ve started to notice my friend’s temperaments, and I’ve learned to be more aware of the needs of those I care about. Facebook will always be there, but if I miss out on someone who needs me, I can’t get that moment back.
4. Embrace learning that happens outside of the classroom
I hate to say it, but my statistics, electrical engineering, and cultural formation classes have failed to teach me as much as being a RA, AARO Student Director, or Community Outreach intern ever has! My outside experiences have enriched my life more than calculating “z-score” ever will.
5. Lead with integrity
There is always someone that looks up to you. If we ever choose to lead without integrity we not only do ourselves a disservice but our choices impacts those around us. I quit a job that was very important to me because my peers did not believe in following the rules. After I reached out to them in kindness, they chose to continue with their behavior. I left that position because I could not stand to be apart of a toxic work environment. Standing up for what is right is always important, and I have learned to not settle for less.
6. Follow your passion, lead your dreams
Life always throws curveballs at us and our plans change. I came into college wanting to be a teacher. My experiences in student affairs however, have led me in another direction. And most likely, I will wind up in a completely different field years from now. I have decided to take my future in my hands and address what I think needs to be remedied in the world. And, if anyone tells me no, I will simply find another way. I’m not afraid of doing something unconventional because I know my passion will always make way for my purpose!
I’m not talking about hooking up, cuddling, or buying someone gifts for Valentine’s day. I’m talking about loving your neighbor, loving yourself, loving the beauty of this earth that we populate. Society’s fixation on romantic behavior between individuals clouds our minds from realizing that love is so much deeper than a kiss from someone’s lips. I see love whenever a ray of sunlight shines through my classroom window, I see love in the way a professor’s eyes light up when teaching, and whenever friends engage in a beautiful hug and have spirited conversation. I have learned to broaden my concept of what love is, and while I might not have a significant other, I am by no means experiencing a shortage of love. For love encompasses time, care, patience, and truth. Love is something truly amazing and it is SO much bigger that what we could ever attempt to imagine.
SMU has been the perfect place for me to grow and nurture my young adulthood. As I prepare for graduation next May, I bid my undergraduate experiences Farewell. The time for me to embrace the unknown is steadily approaching, and as I prepare to close the door to this chapter, I anxiously await the next.
May you live a long life
Full of gladness and health
With a pocket full of gold
As the least of your wealth.
May the dreams you hold dearest,
Be those which come true,
The kindness you spread,
Keep returning to you.
Author: An Irish Blessing