Five Life Habits To Adopt Throughout College

By Michelle Kim on January 30, 2014

Growing up, we’ve encountered different social norms that tie us down and force us to become shameful of certain aspects of ourselves. These social norms can trap us, making us think we are not good enough. It can be easy to look out into the world and admire other people’s lives, while hoping and wondering how we can be more like “them.” We instinctively start comparing ourselves to those who we believe carry traits that we don’t have, and there is a tendency to feel deficient and lacking.

If you cannot relate to this feeling, that’s wonderful. But if you are slightly nodding your head in agreement, here is some advice I’d like to give to you after analyzing my own experiences in my early 20′s.

1. Go For A Walk

Class assignments and readings never seem to end, your boss is continually micromanaging you, and the drama with your friends doesn’t seem to minimize. Take a step back, walk around the neighborhood and organize your mind. In the midst of the all the lifelong frustrations, put on your favorite jam and appreciate the beauty of your surroundings. Think of people you care about, meditate on memories that put a grin on your face and remind yourself how all the things you are putting up with at this moment will ultimately yield good results. After a week, a month, or even a year, you’ll laugh about the overblown anxiety you put yourself through.

2. Social Media Is A Glamorized Version of the World

You have probably noticed that a lot of your friends or followers on Facebook and Instagram share photos that reveal how amusing and accomplished their lives are. You look at yourself and a part of you feels an igniting fire of motivation, while another side of you feels dejected. Comparing yourself to others can become an exercise in self-sabotage.  You’ll unknowingly place yourself on the very bottom of the staircase, requiring much more time and mental effort to bring yourself back up. The images you see on social media are only parts of the whole picture. Do not fall victim of others’ set-upped life on social media.

3. Show Your Grit

I’m a huge fan of TED talks and I can probably have an ongoing conversation on what lessons I’ve learned and what talks have captivated me. While I can point to numerous topics that have inspired me, if I were to choose one topic, it would be the advice on having grit. Grit is a non-cognitive, positive, and motivating quality that an individual holds for his or her long-term achievements.

TED conference speaker, Angela Lee Duckworth, reveals how her research has showed that grit was the main common asset to successful people in a variety of fields, helping them succeed both academically and professionally. Start off by imagining what you want to do and where. Imagine specifically, but be realistic. Don’t set boundaries though because they prevent you from achieving more than you could have. Every day, envision yourself in ten years and keep drilling to yourself that vision to build that grit.

4. Explore

Your college experience is highly important. It is the beginning of your life as an adult.  It is the seed from which your flower will eventually bloom. Any experience you’ve gained and will foster slowly solidifies your identity and begins to build up your own brand. Your personality, perspective of the world, vibe you’re giving off, and level of happiness depend on how involved you are with the world.

Go out and explore.

Become a citizen of life and the world around you. Exploring doesn’t require you to spend hundreds of dollars on plane tickets to travel out of the country. Rather, start off by seeking new findings nearby. Do something that you would normally think as unusual or different. Check out new boutiques or restaurants, volunteer at a local homeless shelter, get a job or internship, or simply walk from one building to another through different and longer routes on campus. Embrace the novelty of the unfamiliar and realize that experiencing new things is the catalyst for personal growth. That curiosity may at first be uncomfortable and annoying, especially because they take time away from the day, but doing so will absolutely add up to a valuable experience that makes you, “YOU.”

5. Don’t Regret

Everyone makes mistakes. In fact, some of the most successful leaders in history have made countless mistakes and had to deal with the consequences. I always used to ruminate the moments where I acted in certain ways and blamed myself for not thinking enough prior to my actions. But all it left me was a bitter feeling that simply put me under a spell of devastation and remorse. It’s okay to make mistakes — it’s part of life and we all make them.

As I matured, I started to cope with my wrongdoings and used those mistakes to become more humble.  My failings ultimately made me more ambitious and made me understand that I can do better next time. Examine and analyze mistakes others have made and learn how to avoid those same mistakes. You will soon realize that it’s not a matter of making mistakes, but how you deal with those mistakes that matters.

Michelle is a senior journalism student at the University of Iowa. She enjoys reading, writing, hiking and doing anything beachy! She's an aspiring writer who would love to write or edit for a lifestyle magazine or trend forecasting agency.

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