Hopeful Shannon-igans

Over the past four years, I’ve grieved the deaths of two incredible young men, fallen in love, had my heart broken, immersed myself in extracurriculars, scored the internship of my dreams, struggled with my appearance, waved goodbye to my gallbladder, met amazing (and not-so-amazing) people, discovered my passion for journalism and law and learned more about this life than I ever bargained for. Has my time at Colgate University been the best four years of my life? Hell, no. And whoever tells you that college will be the best four years of your life clearly needs to sober up. But Colgate has given me four of my most important and formative years. For this, I am thankful. Through all of the hardship, love and ridiculousness, I’ve learned some essential things about myself and human nature. Rather than share all of those lessons with you, I think it’d be more interesting to give you Colgate kids out there, who may also be struggling with life’s obstacles, the hopeful words I wish someone had told me:

1. It gets better. Whether your battle is your romantic life, the decision to continue pre-med or your parents’ divorce, you will get through it. And when you do, you’ll feel invincible. It’s the struggles we fight through that actually make this life worth experiencing. Without enduring the bad, we’d never be able to comprehend just how sweet the good stuff is. In simple words, embrace the crap. Let it toughen you up. The more life experiences you have, the happier you will ultimately be.

2. People do grow up. Let’s be honest, college kids suck. We’re selfish, kind of grimy and hilariously immature. But news flash: there’s nothing you can do to change other people. If you want to grow up, you can, but be patient with everyone else. I know this is easier said that done, but just remember that frat guys won’t stay frat guys forever and Jug rats won’t be wearing sweaty button-downs and mini skirts in 20 years (right?).

3. It’s okay to get annoyed with Colgate once in a while. For all of its great academic and extra curricular opportunities, this place can be emotionally taxing. So don’t worry if you’re feeling beat down. Having all of the emotions doesn’t make you weird or silly, it makes you human. The key is to not allow those feelings to consume you. If you find yourself filled with dissatisfaction, ask yourself whether it’s really Colgate that has you down, or if there’s something deeper you’re struggling with. If it is some aspect of  Colgate, work to improve it. If it is a deeper issue, tackle it at the roots.

4. You make your own happiness. Do not expect the mess around you to suddenly sprout rainbows. It’s not the universe’s job to entertain you, it’s yours. Sometimes we’re forced to deal with unpleasant circumstances, but those circumstances are only as upsetting as we allow them to be. Not to get all philosophical, but I believe Nietzsche was right when he said that we assign value to the things around us. No situation, person or thing is inherently unmanageable. It’s our perspective that makes them feel as though they are. If you want to be happy, change your attitude.

5. You are a real person. Over the course of your college years, you will hear people joke that college students aren’t “real people;” we’re not financially independent, we still forget to sort our laundry, we’re only recently legal and most of us don’t know what we’re doing with our futures. Sure, it’s funny to joke about all of this, but don’t let yourself internalize it. Just because you’re known to so many, including yourself, as a college student, it doesn’t mean that that’s all that you are. You are someone’s child, maybe some lucky dog’s owner, someone’s friend and perhaps another’s role model. Give yourself more credit.

On that note, I must say toodles. Thank you to the sexy and brilliant Maroon-News staff for keeping my body filled with Slices pizza and my heart filled with feelings. It’s been a hell of a three years. I will miss you all!

Contact Shannon Gupta at [email protected].