Cherish college time as opportunity for self discovery

For the past four years of my life, I have been anticipating the day that I will walk across a stage in a robe and a very odd-looking hat. I imagined my parents sitting in the crowd, smiling proudly and yelling an embarrassing “that’s my girl!” I also imagined myself mustering up the grace to not fall on my face as I walk toward the chancellor – I’m really hoping that one works out.

What I didn’t imagine are all the things that have me biting my fingernails and wishing I were still 8 – you know, things like getting a job, a house, insurance, a retirement plan and a budget that includes more than food, rent and entertainment expenses.

These are the things that our parents try to teach us so we don’t panic when we’re on our own, which my parents did a great job of. But no matter how well-prepared I was for this moment of launching, I don’t think it makes a whole lot of difference when you’re days away from starting life as a grown-up … duhn duhn duhn.

We are told for most of our life that our college years are the best we’ll ever have. I always thought the years of playing outside all day long, knowing that there is an endless supply of PB&J sandwiches waiting for me inside were the wonder years, but whatever.

College is the time we’re told we’ll find out who we are and who we want to be, and maybe even who we want to be with. Like many of you, I have experienced the ups and downs of self-discovery. I went from the innocence of freshman year (or at least first semester), to committing the rebellious acts I swore I never would, to realizing what’s really important and making my life a productive, mature – well, more mature anyway – version of what it had been.

My time at TCU has brought change, challenge and a lot of growing up. And as good as the PB&J years were, I can’t say the same for the times I spent entire afternoons with my only objective being to dig a hole to my best friend’s house so I could borrow her Barbie limousine whenever I wanted.

All that said, here is my advice to you innocent (or maybe not so much anymore) freshmen:

Believe people when they tell you these years will fly by. Enjoy the opportunity to spend your free time in epic Guitar Hero competitions with your friends in dark, cluttered apartments strewn with Red Bull and Ramen noodles. These are memories you will take with you for a long time.

Remember the hard times will pass and that there are people around you who are on the same road to self-discovery.

You have a unique opportunity to find out who you are and what you’re passionate about. Find what that is and go after it. Before you know it, you will have on the same odd-looking hat and you will be launched into the world you have been preparing for. Life is an adventure. Treat it as such.

Michelle Devereaux is a senior news-editorial journalism major from Imperial, Calif.