By Natalie Issa
Since I’ve graduated college last December, I’ve been contemplating on what I actually learned during my collegiate career. Did I actually learn things that I can actually apply to my life?
Because I was an English major, there was a lot of literary analyzing and paper writing. And because I was a Journalism minor, there was a lot of fact checking and article writing. There was just a lot of writing in general.
Academically, the things I learned are now like second nature to me. Especially in work situations. But what about the things that I learned about life, the things that made me grow and become the person I am now?
If I had to sum up the things I learned in college into one sentence, it would be this: You can accomplish or become pretty much anything if you work hard enough.
I know what you’re thinking. “Yeah, obviously.” But do you realize what it means? Because when I first started college, I don’t think that I fully understood this concept.
I was raised to work hard—in school, in work, in extracurricular activities, in preparing for college, etc. But college was the first time that I worked hard for things that were just for me, and weren’t related to academics. And it felt amazing.
In college, I poured my time and energy into seemingly impossible projects that had nothing to do with school. And when I was asked why I decided to do said project, I’d just shrug and say, “For fun.”
Because of all the things I did during college, I was able to be a screenwriter, a director, an (semi-decent) actress, a world traveller, a journalist, an editor, somebody’s boss, a producer, a graphic designer, and a paid columnist. Don't get me wrong-- these were all pretty hard to accomplish. But I did it, because I worked very, very hard.
Now, I'm not trying to brag here. I'm just trying to convey that you can do or accomplish that crazy, almost-impossible thing that you've always dreamed of doing. You just have to put your nose to the grindstone, and stick to it.
We live in a world of instant gratification. We want things, and we want them now. Some people might want to be famous and successful. And now, because of things like the internet, we can become famous and successful without even breaking a sweat (need I remind you of that annoying Damn Daniel video?).
But what I’ve learned is that if you really want to be known for something that lasts, it’s gotta be good. For it to be good, you need to work really hard. And, in my humble opinion, the things that we've worked the hardest on are the things that we're the most proud of.
Do you want to write the next great American novel? Great! You want to backpack across Europe for a year? Fantastic! Do you want to land your dream job? Go for it! But these things won’t magically happen—you have to put your sweat, blood, and tears into it to make them a reality.
It may require a lot of frustratingly hard work and time for you to accomplish your goals or dreams. But it’s completely worth it, and it will happen. You just have to be persistent, and keep working.
That’s what I learned in college. We have so much potential— talents that need refining, projects that need work, ideas that can become realities, and careers that could be so successful. But we have to be willing to put your time and energy to make your potential your strengths.
So go ahead. Start writing that novel. Train for your marathon. Study for those LSATs. Audition for that musical. But you have to commit. And, as supreme goddess Britney Spears once said, you gotta werk.