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Parting wisdom from a college senior

A student waves to families at UNC's commencement on Nottingham Field

Shayna Dix
May 04, 2018

When I cross the stage, in essence leaving behind the student life for this “real world” everyone is fond of talking about, I’ll be taking with me a million memories and no regrets. In being a part of this blog, my intentions were never to build up your expectations of college, because here’s the truth: not everyone experiences college the way I did. In addition, not everyone will make the most out of their time here, but you can.

In higher education, you will come across opportunity after opportunity. This final blog from me is to give you a surefire method of making the most out of your college experience. From one student to another, here are some parting granules of wisdom...

Make it happen.

Your experience is about hyperbole, exaggeration, imagination. Build it up in your mind and then make it happen. So you dream of going out with all of your friends and playing the most wickedly exciting game of touch football ever played on Turner Green? Go out, meet people, talk to people in your classes...buy a football. So you want to have warm, cozy study nights at Zoe’s Cafe as the snow falls? No worries, you’ll have plenty of homework to accommodate that dream.

Join in.

The "P" in Party stands for participate. If you’re sitting back watching the proverbial roller coaster ride happen without you, how can you ever know if you enjoy riding? You don’t necessarily have to go seeking adventure (though often when you do, things you never planned on happening...happen), but when adventure comes to you, don’t slam the door in its face. Jonny is asking you if you want to go check out this University Program Council henna event? Get out of the dorm, and go get yourself some henna. Drag yourself further and further out of your comfort zone. Attend events for things you’ve never heard of before. Above all, interact with people who aren’t like you. That’s how you expand your comfort zone. That’s how you grow. 


At the same time, college is not always about jumping in to every opportunity. I read a book recently about how we’re always running away from the mundane, toward the exciting. The character in the book told her friends that often, people go away on vacation and never stop to breathe. They never take the time to let the vacation seep into their souls and change them. If you never take the time to let it seep in, you leave vacation with a million pictures, but without having appreciated or been changed by it.

Let it be.

Don’t define your experiences. I spent way too much time in my life summing up my experiences as "it was good" or "it was bad." It goes deeper than that. It was special. It was exciting, new, different, unbelievably hard and undeniably cool. I’ve stopped looking back at my days and summing them up with one set label. It was, and because of that, I am changed.

So good luck with whatever you choose to do with your college experience. College is only for a little while, and then it’s gone. Remember that, but don’t fixate on it. When you forget to cherish every singular moment, you sometimes remember to just live. 


is a senior graduating in the fall with an Elementary Education licensure. She’s student teaching in her last semester, completing her on-campus requirements this spring. Her teaching journey will continue in Longmont working in a first grade classroom.