After five long years, my educational journey is finally coming to an end. It wasn’t easy; there were many hours spent studying, many stress-induced panic attacks and several rejections faced. Nevertheless, I could not be more happy to finally be finishing up. What’s next for me? I’m not entirely sure yet; however, thanks to my many skilled and knowledgeable professors, I will be leaving university with the necessary tools to navigate the post-grad world.

Apart from the many valuable things I learned in class, there were several life lessons I was forced to learn on my own. Part of growing up is realizing that you will face your fair share of difficulties, however, remembering these seven things will help you work through them.

1. Rejection is inevitable. – The sooner you learn and understand this, the better. You may not get your dream internship the first time around. You may not get a bid for the fraternity or sorority you were rushing. Your unofficial bae may tell you they’re not ready for a serious relationship and then end up dating someone else. All of these things are okay. None of these things define your character, nor do they make you any less of a person. Should any of these things happen (and they will), acknowledge what you did wrong, learn from your mistakes and do better the second time around.

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2. You’re not always going to like your roommate. – No matter whom it is you room with, whether they’re your best friend from high school or a rando from a roommate matching service, you and your roommate(s) are going to have some sort of conflict. At the moment, I like current my roommates, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get annoyed of their habits, like leaving their laundry in the washer for hours at a time, or not cleaning up beer spills in the fridge. Different people have different styles of living, which is why a lot of people like the idea of living alone. Personally, I don’t think I could do that, however, having many roommates throughout the years has helped me develop better interpersonal skills.

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3. College is not like Blue Mountain State, Animal House, or anything on-screen. – Luckily, the school I’m graduating from doesn’t have a reputation of a “party school,” which, I believe, is a good thing. I wouldn’t advise that anyone choose a school solely on the basis that it is a “party school.” Keep in mind, you’re going to get to an age where partying gets old and loses its appeal.

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4. Don’t expect your relationship to last forever. – I don’t think anyone should agree to date someone long term if they can’t see a future with them, however, going into a relationship expecting it to last forever can be dangerous. Remember, you are in school to learn, develop your skills, and ultimately wind your way to your dream job. Don’t ever let anything or anyone get in the way of what you’re trying to accomplish in terms of your career.

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5. Don’t skip class just for the hell of it. – If you have to study for a test or complete an assignment, then skipping class is understandable, but don’t do it simply because you have the freedom to do so. By attending your classes on a consistent basis, you are practicing being punctual to a long-term job with a 9 to 5 schedule, as well as work related meetings. Plus, by skipping class, you miss out on vital information, that will likely show up on an exam.

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6. Try different things. – By letting go of the past, I was able to meet my people and figure out what I want to do for the rest of my life. Keep an open mind, let go of toxic people, and don’t do things to simply please your family and peers. If you come to the realization that your old friends from high school never had your best interest in mind, let them go. Accept the invitation from your in-class friend, go to the on-campus mixers, take that interesting-sounding elective, and get involved in an organization. By opening yourself up to new experiences, you are allowing yourself to discover who you are and what you want in life.

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7. Self-discipline is key. – When you’re in college, your parents aren’t going to be around to cook for you, tell you when to do your homework, or go to bed. Therefore, it is your responsibility to manage your time wisely. Make sure that school and work come first, but also make time for a social life and to develop meaningful friendships. Eat healthfully, exercise regularly, drink responsibly, and manage your money frugally.

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Granted, this shouldn’t be read as a “how-to” guide. If you are reading this and are just now beginning your college career, you will mess up along the way. However, it is through mistakes where you do the most learning. I did not get to this point without my occasional mishaps, but I do feel that what I’ve learned these past five years has prepared me for the real world.

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