17 of the Biggest Lessons I Learned In College

Yesterday at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, I graduated from William Paterson University with a Bachelor’s in Communication/Public Relations. I can’t believe I can FINALLY say that! Nothing I’ve ever experienced has topped what I felt hearing my name called and walking across the stage. 

This achievement is not one that came easily. It took six years of praying, hard work, risks and blind faith to get to this day, as I took the road less traveled. I used to be painfully insecure that I didn’t finish in four years, but now I’d rather thank God for every second of the last six years. If I had been in a rush to graduate in four years I wouldn’t have the right degree, I wouldn’t have had my dream internship with the Walt Disney World Resort (twice!) or the people I’ve met throughout my time with the company, and most importantly I wouldn’t be this version of me.

William Paterson University
Karlee will forever be my exit buddy! Credit: WPUNJ

Along with this exciting / nerve-wracking / rewarding season of my life has come a load of reflecting. There are a plethora of lessons I’ve learned over the last six years, but I couldn’t pass up jotting down 17 of them in honor of being part of the class of 2017:

  1. Life isn’t a straight line.
  2. I’m capable of more than I know.
  3. My past doesn’t define who I am or where I’m going.
  4. Maybe don’t procrastinate that much.
  5. BUT some of my best work came out of procrastinating, so…
  6. Not all family is biological.
  7. Wherever / Whatever your bubble is…leave it.
  8. It’s okay to change my mind and not know what I’m doing.
  9. Sometimes getting where you’re going means leaving people you love behind, but it doesn’t mean erasing them.
  10. Things will get worse before they get better.
  11. The big moments are incredible, but it’s the small ones that makeup life. Don’t miss out on them because you’re too focused on the big one.
  12. Nothing is permanent, holding on to that when I didn’t think I’d make it was exactly how I got through.
  13. My journey is incredibly unique and I shouldn’t have wasted time yearning for it to match the journey’s of others and be convenient for everyone else
  14. Find whatever it is you love to do and run with it.
  15. If you can dream it, you can do it (Stole this one from Mr. Walt Disney himself, sorry!).
  16. Nothing inside the college bubble will beat the experiences that are outside of it. Thank you, Disney, for teaching me that.
  17. I still have a LOT of learning to do!
My cap was crooked for the entire ceremony, but do I look like I care? Credit: WPUNJ

I guess what I’m saying is that the best parts of life are the ones where you take risks. There’s never a right moment and there’s never a guarantee, so you just have to set a goal and chase it one step at a time just like running.

Take the trip. Open the book. Leave the comfort of that relationship. Make the move.

Whatever it is you’re thinking about doing…do it.

The finish line is everything more than you’ll ever imagine.


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