Lessons Learned - Fourth Year Edition

These are my favourite posts to write, and I haven’t done one since last July. This year has been a difficult one – and not just for me. I managed to pull off some pretty great marks, and I also got into some amazing schools in two different countries. Ultimately, it’s been pretty up and down. I already mentioned my weight problem, but some really great things have come out of it as well. I have no complaints here. I think my experiences have shaped me into a stronger, more mature woman. Here is what I learned this year:

1.       Bullies truly are the ones who have more insecurity – especially in adulthood.

It’s another year that I’m shocked to add bullying to my list. This happened right at the beginning. It was online bullying, and it was done by someone who bases their story on being bullied. The worst part is that this individual has a large presence in my school. They are known and adored all around campus, and I had the unfortunate luck of seeing their true side. However, our grad ball showed me the difference between the two of us. At the end of the night, they were put in a cab by their friends because they couldn’t stand up properly. As for me, I had the most fabulous time with my friends, and while I indulged in multiple glasses of champagne, I can remember everything. There’s a difference here. I am happy with the legacy I have left.

2.       Setbacks are not failures.

This has been something I’m trying to really get into my head. I’ve mentioned it before – I’m not good at routine. When I have a bad day and get off track, I tend to let my entire life fall apart. I come across setbacks like a bad day when I don’t get everything checked off my list and see it as a failure. I need to stop doing that because it holds me back. This is something I’ve learned but not put into place yet. It’s a work in progress.

3.       Eight hours of sleep is a whole new world.
I mentioned this a while ago, and, for a short duration, it actually worked. I was doing so well on eight hours of sleep at night. I was journaling and reading before bed, and I regret the time I let myself stop doing that. There is a significant difference in myself on eight hours of sleep and myself on less than eight hours of sleep. Try it – trust me.

4.       Adjusting to returning home is harder than adjusting to a new country.

This has played a major role in the difficulties this year has brought me. I mentioned this in an earlier post, but it seemed to increase in severity when I got back to something that was supposed to be normal. Life went on without me. I lost some friendships along the way. People had changed. What got me through this was an article from Elite Daily and the most amazing friend who understood exactly what I was going through. Reverse culture shock is a real thing. It’s okay to feel bad about it. It’s okay to struggle. Find your resources, and reach out to people when you can.

5.       Disagreeing with your friends’ decisions doesn’t make you a bad friend.

This has been something that I’ve been struggling with a lot this past year. I think it’s also a major part of growing up. When we all grow up, we start to go in different paths or walk further ahead. That’s not a bad thing, but it leads to thinking things like this. There have been so many times that I see friends doing things I don’t think they should be doing. I always wind up feeling like a bad friend because I challenge them on their decisions. I know that some friends really appreciate that. With others, it’s a mystery. I know that challenging questionable decisions may seem like you’re being a bad friend, but it’s okay to do that. You may be the only one who is causing them to pause. And who knows? Maybe they’ll take your advice later down the road.

6.       Senioritis is a real problem (and a real word, apparently).

Senioritis hit me so hard. I think I was “over” school around Christmas. I don’t think I was caught up at any point this year. I think maybe this was a combination of senioritis and returning from a year abroad. The good thing to realize is that you are not alone. So many people are going through the same thing as you. I had a friend who went the Dominican and had a similar experience as me. She put it like this: “we have seen bigger things. We’ve done bigger things. We’ve realized that the world is so much bigger than us and so much bigger than King’s.” That’s what made this year trudge on. It’s been tough, but, again, you’re not alone.

7.       Alcohol will make any tiny issue seem like a bigger one.

Yes, it took me this long to figure out. The thing to remember about alcohol is that you are not really yourself. I’m never one to cause drama, but I found myself being the centre of drama. When I’m sober, I’m an emotional person. When I’m drunk, that is exaggerated. So I reacted to situations in inappropriate and oversensitive ways. It caused a lot of issues with my friend. Things were said about me when they thought I couldn’t hear them. We turned on each other. There is so much danger in over-drinking in general, and I’ve learned that losing friends should not be one of them.

8.       Good friends can pop up at any time.

This year, I have been truly blessed. I have been brought to the most amazing friends in the world. I connected with my English gang. They are ones that have been my rock in classes we’re all struggling though (cough, Middle English, cough) and the ones who are always there when I’m having a bad day. It’s been the best group, and it absolutely breaks my heart that we have had only one year together as a group. These are ones I’m not willing to let go. I am so lucky to have them in my life.

Well, I can’t believe I’m done. I’ve finished my undergrad. I’m almost at my dream of teacher’s college. I guess another lesson learned is that four years is not really a long time. What I’m really looking forward to is being able to read for pleasure (and reviews, obviously). I have a cool summer coming up with some possible big life changes (again, sorry for not revealing more) at the end. I graduate in June, and I cannot be more excited for the final fling with the friends I hold so near and dear to my heart. The past four years have been amazing. I’ve learned a lot, I’ve grown a lot, and I’ve accomplished a lot. I’m so proud of myself.

What has been your major accomplishment recently?


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