I have always been a very careful person. I have never been one to take risks or be too spontaneous. By being careful, I have been able to skirt around major conflicts, tiptoe around potentially harmful situations, and avoid getting hurt or hurting anyone in the process. The neighborhood and school district I grew up in fostered this sense of security; high school teachers would understand if a student missed an assignment, groups of friends remained consistent from the 4th grade all the way through senior year of high school, and no major tragedies occurred. Life was easy. It was hard to screw up.
College is usually the first time a person is completely on their own. Entering your first year, you realize you no longer have a school that mandates you go to class, your parents are no longer there to enforce a curfew, and your group of friends is no longer there to hold you accountable for how you’re supposed to act. While high school was the swimming pool you could carefully wade deeper and deeper into, college is the ocean that you’re dropped into and tasked with the job of figuring out how to float.
My freshman year, I was still very careful. I went to every class, I was weary of who I spent my time with, and I was strategic in picking which student organizations to get involved with. I lived on a party floor in a party dorm. I experienced my first relationship, and going into my sophomore year, I experienced my first breakup. My fear with making a mistake rests in the aftermath. I’m the type of person that internalizes the guilt solely on myself, no matter how many parties are involved.
The other night, I was fortunate to have had a heart-to-heart with one of my friends about a current situation I have been dealing with. Something he said really stuck out to me: College is about making mistakes, taking chances, and growing from them. Elaborating from that, I think something that I have been realizing is that not every mistake made is bad, and not every mistake should result in regrets.
College is for learning about yourself. To learn about yourself, you have to make choices, both good and bad. I’m learning now that it’s important not to dwell on those choices for too long. In fact, I’m learning that some bad choices aren’t necessarily ones worth regretting. It’s okay to embrace what others might consider a bad decision. Either way, you’re learning about yourself and about the others involved. And that’s perfectly okay.