I recently traveled back to my college campus to check out their annual Village Fest street festival. While it was nice to walk the campus again, it was also a very nostalgic experience. To be honest, I came away from the day feeling a whole mix of emotions.
It’s been 6 years since I graduated from college. A lot of wonderful things have happened since I crossed that stage: I got married, started my first “real” 9-5 job, switched companies, moved, had Daphne, and switched companies again. With each life change, there have been growing pains (and, admittedly, a few tears). I didn’t realize it prior to my trip, but returning to campus after so much growth was bound to stir up some of those feelings.
During the visit, I remembered myself as an early twenty-something, loaded down with a coffee mug and a backpack full of books. I thought, what would I tell myself then, knowing what I know now? It’s important to reflect on the past and think about this question from time to time.
Join Teams & Do Things
I don’t regret much in life because I don’t think it’s healthy. I believe everything happens at the right time. That said, I think we should still reflect on the past and make positive changes for the future.
One thing that bothers me about my high school and college years is that I never played a sport. Now that I realize how fun sports can be, I’m a little disappointed I missed out on being part of a team.
It’s important to do as much as you can in life. Nap less, party less. Try a bunch of hobbies, take the semester abroad opportunity, get to know a new group of people. I did most of these things, and I’m very thankful for that, but I still think I could’ve done more. I’m working on that now.
Prioritize Your Health
Nowadays, I exercise regularly and eat well. I rarely (if ever) drink alcohol. I don’t smoke, drink soda or eat fast food. I moisturize every night, stretch, and always take my makeup off.
Looking back at myself at 21, I can’t believe how little I prioritized my own health. For one, I was completely lost at the gym: the only thing I knew how to do was run the track. I didn’t really enjoy my workouts, so I skipped them often and I wasn’t in the best shape. I ate too much dining hall food, stayed up too late and hardly ever meditated. It’s no wonder I often felt overwhelmed and anxious.
I know this behavior is common for young people, but looking back now, I can’t help but feel frustrated. I want to say, “Try weightlifting, you’ll love it!” or “Don’t get those French fries, try hummus instead!” I am a completely different person today in terms of my health.
Know That Life Keeps Getting Better
Although I’m 6 years older now, I’m a much better version of myself. I actually feel like the “me” I was always supposed to be.
Some people say the college years are the best years of your life. Although those years were very fun and formative, I politely disagree with this idea. Now that I have the stability of a job I enjoy, a wonderful family and the knowledge of everything that didn’t quite work out before, I feel more complete than ever. I’m productive, confident and genuinely happy. If you’re in college now, wondering if it’s all downhill after graduation, I’m here to say that it’s definitely not.
If you enjoyed this post, please follow me on WordPress and on Instagram @haileighsenatore.