I recently received my Bachelors degree and I couldn’t be more grateful to everyone who helped me get there. This life landmark has caused me to think a lot about love languages. I always thought that my love language was “Words of Affirmation” because you know I love a good compliment! But I am growing to realize this is not the case… I feel the most loved when people take time out of their busy schedules and they show up for me. Whether it’s a few hours to watch me walk the stage or weeks to plan me a party, it means the world to me and I am so grateful for everyone in my life who deemed me worthy of sacrificing their time! I still like being told my outfit is cute but I really, truly, deeply, enjoy spending time with people I love!
I have changed A LOT over the past 4 years. I’ve had many successes and even more failures. I have been feeling extremely nostalgic this past week and I wanted to share the top 10 things I would tell 17 year Chidera before she started University.
1.Lack of sleep makes you fat – It’s all fun and games to stay up all night eating 50% off Domino’s pizza but that fun stops real quick when your aunt tells you that your looking “healthy”. Africans have no time to be cordial.
2. Comparison is the thief of joy – Everyone is different. People feels things differently, cope differently and finds joy and success in different ways. Nothing good will every come from comparing yourself to other people. It is okay to have role models and admire people but never forget that you are not them. In the words of Cymophique Miller (younger sister of Romeo Miller aka Lil Romeo, and star of the Nickelodeon hit “How to Rock”): Only you can be you, I can be me.
3. Take care of yourself – You are a person, not a machine. Take care of your body, mind and spirit. There is nothing weak about taking a day or two to calm down and realign yourself. Also, surround yourself with people who will remind you to take care of yourself because sometime having your roommate leave cookies for you when you come home at 2am make a huge difference (thanks Jasmine).
4. Be happy – In University and life in general you have control of very few things. The one thing you can control is your outlook so make sure that outlook is positive. Choose happiness over everything else and things will be much, much better! Don’t just think happy thoughts though, take active steps to make yourself physically happier. Watch High School Musical, choreograph a dance routine for yourself, watch random people’s weddings, do whatever you gotta do!
5. Work hard – Nothing good will ever come easy. Do your very best in all things even if it doesn’t go your way. Hard work always pays off, it is just a matter of time. 4 years is a long time to try but, don’t be lazy, you will always regret it!
6. Failure sucks – You are going to put all you have into something and it is not going to work out and it is going to hurt. That is okay, you will be okay. Be ready for that pain and sadness but keep your eyes on the horizon and know that “Joy comes in the morning”. David from the bible said that so you know it’s true!
7. Teamwork makes the dream work (I made this phrase up, anyone who tells you otherwise is a lair) – find a group of people that are smarter than you and learn from them! You will go much further, much faster when you work with others! There is no shame in admitting you don’t know something and asking for help. Also, be willing to give back. There will be something that you are the expert in and you will have to walk someone else through it. Be patient and kind and help them in the way you would want to be helped.
8. Stay grateful – Throughout your 4 years there will be a lot of victories. Take a moment to be thankful for them. Really thankful. Acknowledge all the people who helped you get your victory and let them know how grateful you are. A heart of gratitude will change your life.
9. Be present – 4 years is a long time, but it’s also a really short time. Take your time to cherish every moment. The good and the bad! Be intentional in all your actions and don’t regret anything.
10. Don’t forget how far you have come – there are going to be MAAANNNNYY days that you feel like you are making no progress, you are moving backwards. But, remember that you are not in the same place you were when you started high school. Nor are you in the same place you were when you graduated high school. Life changes, you are changing, and at the end you will look back amazed at how far you’ve come *plays Moana in the background* (upon editing this post I realized the song is “How Far I’ll Go” but like same diff)
Moral of the story is I am a little chubbier and a lot more tired that I was when I began University. But I am also happier, more intelligent and significantly more aware of who I am and what I want in life! All in all, worth it!