The personal lessons other students and I have learned in our journey of growing up. 

As college students, we are all on the journey of “adulting,” or learning how to navigate life as a young adult. All of us have personal lessons we have learned so far in the process and have seen how they have grown us as individuals.

As a current senior at APU, I have learned a few lessons in my personal journey of adulting and becoming a young woman. One of the lessons I have learned is that going out of your comfort zone builds your character. For example, I have learned that if you muster up the courage to try new things that bring you out of your comfort zone, you’ll learn new things about yourself.

Since I started my senior year this semester, I have tried new things to bring myself out of my shell. I started working at The Grill on campus this semester, and it consists of a lot of customer service which calls for you to not be shy. I was nervous initially, but I learned that I’m a natural at customer service.

The job has taught me to become more extroverted and responsible, and it has taught me how to work under pressure when it becomes very busy with an influx of orders. If I had not gone out of my comfort zone to work at a fast-paced job, I would not have improved my work ethic that has built my character as a person. 

I also would not have met my funny and kind co-workers who make the job feel like a second home. If you always stay in your comfort zone and never try new things that are intimidating, you’ll miss opportunities to make new memories and meet new people. Most importantly, you will miss opportunities for personal growth. In the big picture, staying in your comfort zone is not worth it because life is too short.

Another lesson I have learned along the path of adulthood is to be organized in everything I do, especially with college. I have learned that it is vital that you are organized with your time, assignments and tasks in college.

If you’re not being organized, it is a recipe for a disaster, especially with the various responsibilities in college. One of the things that helps me to stay organized with all my responsibilities is having a planner. I have been writing down everything that I have to get done in a planner since I started college.

Because I’ve been using a planner since freshman year, I’ve grown accustomed to writing in it daily. It is a habit for me to use a planner now, and I can’t function academically without one. Being organized in all aspects of life takes practice, discipline and consistency, but it makes being responsible easier.  

I spoke to a few other students about what they have learned in their own journey of adulting. 

“One of the lessons I’ve learned is to not be a people pleaser,” said Eduardo Ruiz, a junior cinematic arts production major. “I’ve learned to not care as much of what people think of me. People should love you for who you are as a person.”

Ruiz’s message is essentially that you shouldn’t change who you are to please other people. If you change who you are, you’re not being true to yourself or to them.

I agree with what Ruiz said because when you’re a young adult, it feels like there’s greater peer pressure to want other people to like you. If you are always trying to fit the mold of what other people want, then you’ll never discover who you are as an individual. The people who are meant for you will support you and embrace who you are already. 

“One of the ways I’ve matured since I started college is prioritizing my time because in high school everything was last minute,” said Ruiz. 

In college you are more independent, and it’s up to you if you’re going to be successful or not depending on how you spend your time.

Senior allied health major Shaleia Wall-Wilson offered another perspective: “A lesson I learned is that if something doesn’t go your way, you’re not a failure. I grew up being hard on myself when things didn’t go my way.”

Wall-Wilson shared that she used to have the mentality that if she wasn’t perfect at everything, then she was a failure. Now, she has learned as a young adult that failure is an opportunity for growth. 

I relate to what Wall-Wilson said about it being easy to think you’re a failure when something doesn’t go your way. In reality, everyone is going to make mistakes, and you’re not going to ace everything on the first try.  

As I’ve matured throughout college, another lesson that I’ve learned is to be selective about who you surround yourself with. Who you choose as friends will have a positive or negative influence on you. Your friends’ habits rub off on you after a while through repetition of spending time with them. 

They’re either going to uplift you or bring you down. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you. A mutual positive energy in a friendship will uplift both sides and make you a better person. 

These are some of the lessons other students and I have learned so far in our journey of adulthood. One thing’s for sure: there are so many more lessons that life will teach us, and this is just the beginning.