College is a lot to manage. Here’s what I’ve learned about how to thrive personally, professionally and all around.

Personal Thriving

Community: The most beneficial gift you can give yourself coming to college is community. We’re meant to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. Community to me means meals shared together, walks around campus or local parks, long coffee dates, or a collaborative study session in the library. Surround yourself with people who make you a better person, not just any old Joes whom you aren’t your true self around. This is a big mistake too many college students make, so save yourself the headache and choose good friends.

The Four Pillars of Health (Spiritual, Emotional, Physical and Mental): A building stands strong only when the cornerstones are firm. When one is weak or absent, the building will fall. This applies to you and your body as well. Attending to your spiritual, emotional, physical and mental health is the best thing you can do for yourself in college and in life!

Don’t put these words in a box or confuse them. Spirituality does not mean religion; it means your spirit. How is your whole self doing? Emotion is not a bad thing; we were all born with emotions, and it is very important to know what they are because they’re an internal compass we can use to navigate ourselves through life. Don’t allow the saying “freshman 15” get to you; physically activity is a healer, relieves stress, provides energy, can provide a clear mind and the capacity to learn and retain more. Staying physical will only benefit you. Finally, mental health is so important and, especially with you being in a new place, will be something that needs and deserves a lot of time and care.

Professional Thriving

Networking: This will make or break what happens in your life after college, so take advantage of the only time and place in your life where you will have every possible person and resource you will need to do or create anything you want.

Communication: You need to know how to communicate with all different kinds of people. Communication is how we survive as people, and history shows that miscommunication typically wasn’t good for a lot of people. So please learn how to communicate well, and practice lots.

Questions: Ask them, every day.

Failure: Expect that it will happen. Every time it does, you have the choice to let it consume you or let it motivate you to be better than before. Choose well.

Toolbox: Stock it full. You never know if that geography class activity is going to be the very thing that gets you into your dream job.

Manners: Have them, use them, practice them…please.

Coping: School and life will inevitably have challenges, so find healthy ways to deal with them.

Critique: Ask for it, accept it, and implement it. Pride has no place in the professional world; there is already enough going around. Humble yourself, and become better.

Selflessness: Find a motivation that is bigger than yourself. Selfishness will only hurt you and those around you.

Hard Work: You are paying a lot of money to do what you do. Take this opportunity to show the world that you are the most capable person to do the job you were created to do.

All-Around Thriving

Joy: Find little things that make you smile every day. Only you know what makes you happy, so go and do and experience whatever that may be.

Peace: Find a moment to be quiet in your day. This is a time you can pray, meditate, think of nothing, or just focus on breathing. Find your moments of peace, because this world will always want to give you busyness.

Healing: Let’s be honest: We all need healing from something. Being honest and real about those four pillars and knowing which ones need healing in your life is going to bring you joy and peace which will put you in a position to be the best you that you can be.

Patience: Have it.

Help: Ask for it.

DREAM BIG: Because if you don’t, you will be living in the shadow of someone else’s dream, and that is lame.

Participate: Be the first to raise your hand, guess even if you are wrong, and make sure people know who you are.

Integrity: Have it, and hold it above all else.

Listening: Do this more than talking.

Respect: Have it for yourself and for everyone around you, especially your elders.

Carina Brookover is a junior studying Sport and Exercise Science.