This is my first year at college and it’s been a difficult transition. I recently acted on an impulse, resulting in actions that I would have never done four months ago. I panicked, obviously, but after I cooled down a bit, I realized that I didn’t regret it at all. And coming to terms with that freaked me out even more because I feel like I’m changing faster than I can process it. How DO I process it?
You’ve literally just described what a college experience should be. And you should be excited! You’re growing up and that requires change. You’ll keep changing throughout the rest of your life; doing, thinking and believing things you never would have when you were 15. Think about how much you changed between freshman and senior year of high school. Senior you probably did things that freshman you would have been utterly appalled by. It’s really not much different.
Even though you’re going to keep changing throughout your life, college is unique. It’s the same length of time as high school, but instead of starting and ending as a teenager, you’re leaving college as an adult. It’s like a personality growth spurt! Look, you’re in college to learn, right? Academically, you are gaining new knowledge every single day. But you should also be gaining new knowledge about life and yourself every single day. It’s your one time to experiment and mess up; you’re supposed to be experiencing new things and having fun! You didn’t regret anything in this instance even though you thought you would. Which is great, you’ve learned something new about yourself. But, there will also be things you will regret. The mark of a strong person is being able to take those experiences and apply it to future actions.
There’s no right way to process what you’re going through. This is supposed to happen and you’re definitely not alone. Where people fail is the processing bit. Look at your social life as another class. If you get an F on an assignment, will you do the next one the exact same way? Probably not. You’d go through, find where you messed up and try not to repeat it next time. Same way with your life; A’s or F’s, you need to take what you learned and figure out whether you should apply it next time.
I mean, unless you can honestly say you want to be the exact same person you were in high school for the rest of your life, there’s nothing to be worried about. You’re going through completely normal things and I guarantee almost everyone around you is going through the same thing. It may show in different ways, but we’re all changing and learning. It’s a good thing you’re acting on impulses. Whether it works out or not, as long as you learn from your actions, your experiences are helping shape you into the person you will become. Embrace it!
Ask Rachelle questions by emailing Advice@thewatchdogonline.com