Greetings from Memphis! It’s going to be an exciting year so get ready! I’m going to be traveling as a National Consultant for my sorority, Chi Omega, and I’m so excited to meet young women from around the country and help them foster their leadership, communication, and philanthropic skills. By the end of this year I will have traveled to Connecticut, Illinois, Ohio, and Oklahoma so stay tuned!
Yet in the midst of training in Memphis, I graduated this past weekend and I’m reflecting on my college experience at UCLA. A few words come to mind: gratitude, knowledge, stress (hey, I’m being honest), growth, passion, people (mostly good, some bad), and happiness. It was during college that I developed my passion to write and I’m so glad that I was able to publish my book before I donned my cap and gown.
Tonight, I want to reflect on some of the things I learned during the four years I spent in Westwood. Whether you’re about to start your freshman year, you’re in the midst of it, or you’ve graduated, I think we should maintain our love for learning throughout our lives. The Sunny Suggestions are back!
1. Go to class: Whether you’re there to learn or get the grade, neither will happen if you don’t make yourself physically present. Get out of bed, put on a nice outfit (you’ll feel better!), and be on time. Even if you’re lacking focus that day, making the effort to be in class will make the difference.
2. Get involved right off the bat: It can be overwhelming starting anything new, but jump in, don’t just dip your toe in the big pond of college life. For me, joining Chi Omega was a defining experience as it introduced me to a community of friends. Whatever you participate in, whether it’s a ballroom dance club (I wish I did that), or the Ocean Club, be active.
3. Write: No, you don’t need a blog. But I guarantee you’re going to have a million thoughts running through your mind during college. Class, friends, love, job. Usually not in that order. Keep yourself sane by thinking out your thoughts on paper. It will give you a paper trail to look back on when you feel unsure about the many decisions you’ll have to make.
4. Find mentors. Yes, that’s plural. One of the biggest mistakes I see college students make is letting their fear keep them back. I’m guilty of it myself—I had the hardest time raising my hand to speak in a big lecture hall. But with mentors, if you see someone who inspires you, talk to them! Sure, they may be too busy to offer you advice, but they may have the heart and dedication to help you even if they do have a million projects. You’ll never know unless you reach out.
5. Thank your parents: I saw so many students dedicate their mortar boards saying, “Thanks Mom and Dad!” My graduation felt more like a celebration of my parents than for my completion of school, and that’s exactly how I wanted it. I never could have succeeded without my parents’ investment in my life (emotionally, mentally, and let’s be real, financially). I will be eternally grateful to my family and I felt so thankful to have them by my side celebrating with me.
Well, it’s late here in Memphis. I’d love to keep writing but this may just need a Part II. Stay tuned for more to come. If there’s another thing I learned in college, it’s this: SLEEP.
The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook