We Are Built to Follow

I recently watched a video that explained and tested the theory of inclusion.  The reality that as a social animal we are built to naturally follow the herd. We are built to want to be included within the group, to not be the outcast.  This is the reason we conform. We conform to feel included. To simply not be excluded.

After watching the video, I could not help but question my own position on life and breaking the norm. I would love to say that I step outside the norm and the roam free from the herd, but am I just following another herd or am I actually independent.

The reality is I am somewhere in between. I did not take a full day to analyze the complexity of the situation, instead I came to a simply assumption.  The important take away from the video came to something quite simple.

Its important to feel included. Inclusion and feeling wanted is within our nature.  At some point our survival depends on others and the social connections we keep. On the same notion, its okay to feel connected to the people, but to be a part of a group and conform without questioning anything that feels wrong is not.  There should never be a time that you do not question something that does not sit well or make sense to who you believe you are.  Being able to stand up and go against the norms when the time is right is what makes us more human and less animal.  Simply everything is a balance, and its finding the balance that is most important part of being human.

What I Wished I Would have Known My Freshman Year

One of the best decisions that I have made along my journey called life would be attending a small liberal arts college.  When entering college, the best advice I was given was to truly live and to make memories that will last a life time.  So far college has been one of the most life altering times that I have ever experienced.  It has taught me so much about life and becoming an adult, but here are a few things that I wish I would have known before entering college. 

  1. College is really expensive.

This one might be obvious, but there were so many hidden expenses that came as a huge surprise. I wish I had saved my entire high school career instead only my senior year.

  1. Being broke is an essential part of being a college student.

Almost everyone is broke in college. It is the way of life. Living on $25 a month is common among your peers.

  1. It is a time to redefine yourself.

This is a time that you can start to explore those interest that you always wanted to do.  That new hair style, go for it.  You are starting school on an empty slate, you can be whoever you want to become.

  1. Join new clubs

Do not get stuck being that person who stays in their room shut off from the world. There is a club for everything in college. The only way to meet new people and have memories that will last a lifetime is to try new things and join clubs.  If you want to go Greek, than do it. Do not limit yourself. Do whatever you put your mind to it.

  1. Be open-minded

One that note, do not judge anything before you try it for yourself. Do not put down an organization or club before you have tried it.  This is a time for exploration.  The more open you are  to new things, the more you are able to experience.

  1. Take advantage of all the free items offered

Anything that is free is for me, should be your attitude while in college.  You will learn that if you can save a few dollars by getting a free meal than take advantage of it.  Also if the school offers anything free, nine times out of ten you have already paid for it through you tuition.  Take the free stuff.

  1. Do not let whoever you were in high school determine who you are in college.

You may have been at the top of your class in high school, but this does not make you the smartest person in college. You may have been the biggest loser, but this is a time to become a social butterfly.  you may have been someone who got by, but college is time to change this.  Whatever people thought about you throughout your high school no longer applies.  You are truly anyone that you want to be.  Again you have a clean slate; you are who you want to be.

  1. Do not allow people to judge you.

Make decisions because it is what you want to do.  Do not let anyone make you feel inferior for the decisions you make.  If you want to go and party. Do it. If you would rather stay in on weekends and watch Netflix. Do it. Do not let anyone allow persuade you that what you are doing is unacceptable.

  1. Do not judge other people.

On that same note, do not judge others who are different from you.  There are enough judgmental people in the world, and they may be judging you so be the better person and accept the differences in the world.

  1. Surround yourself with people you inspire to be.

In case you are not aware, the two people who you spend the most people with is how the entire world views you.  If you think about that for two seconds, than realize that you are a direct reflection of the people you choose to spend the most time with, so you should try to strive to be the best you can be.

  1. College is not what it seems like in the movies.

You know how you see people being young, wild, and free in the movies.  Well that is really true and it so much more. I am just kidding.  College is not all about the parties and fun times.  There are really good times and parties, but there is also a lot of studying and hard work.  I have never seen a movie be able to portray the amazing experience that college really is.

  1. Try not to procrastinate

I am the queen of procrastinate, but this is one habit that is not suitable in college because there is way too much to do, and you will regret it.

  1. All nighters are bound to happen.

I will not give you an upside to this one.  All nighters suck. There is nothing you can do to avoid it. When it happens embrace it.  Not just do you need to embrace it, but bring tons of caffeine.

  1. Grades are not the Holy Grail.

As long as you learned a ton in the class, and did the best that you could possibly do than that should be the most important aspect.  Also if you approach each class in this manner, you will most likely achieve better grades.

  1. *Warning this one is more for the ladies: Do not major in your MRS.

There is so much more than just being in a relationship. Stop looking for Mr. Right or Mrs. Right (for the guys) and focus on yourself. After you focus on yourself you will find the person that you are meant to be.

  1. Get to know Alum, and attend networking events.

The more people who you connect with the more doors you will be opening for your future.

  1. Do not schedule really early classes if you can help it.

Even if you were a morning person before, this will slightly change in college.  You will stay up late no matter what. It may be for homework purposes or just relaxing with good friends.

  1. Time management is the key to success in college.

Most people hear about college consisting of three things sleep, good grades, and a social life.  They also say that you can only fit two of these three things within the time that you have.  This is both true and false.  College actually consists have a hundred different things and if you are amazing and dedicated sleep is most likely the last thing on the priority list until you become so stressed out that you break down and decide to sleep and avoiding all twenty thousand other things that you need down.   Honesty a good night sleep for me consists of approximately three to four hours a night and a half hour nap throughout the day.

  1. Napping is your best friend.

Embrace the nap time.  You will wake up in the morning planning a good time to take a nap.  Your life begins to rotate around these heavenly moments called naps.

  1. Create a bucket list.

Try to accomplish some things that will last a life time because this may be the last time that you have a large amount of free time.

21. College food will destroy your stomach.

Until you adjust to the food, your stomach will rebel against you for the first few weeks.  You will enjoy home cooked meals after about a month of gross processed food.

22. Homesickness

You miss home terribly your first few weeks, and when you are home you will miss you second home at college.  It is a vicious cycle.

College can be one of the best times in your life, if you want it to be.  You can only get out what you are willing to put into it.   Memories are not made by staying to yourself, but rather breaking out of your shell and constantly pushing the limits.  These are just a few things that I wish I knew my freshman year.  Now I think I am going to get back to enjoying my last few semesters of college.