My junior year at TCU, the TV series “Heroes” premiered. In the beginning, before the self-indulgence and convolutions, it was a pretty darn good show.
The “hero” who I immediately fell in love with, like many other of the show’s viewers, was the appropriately-named Hiro, a Japanese office drone who discovered he had the power to teleport through space and time just by squinting his eyes.
Unlike a lot of the other characters, who complained about what a horrible burden having awesome superpowers was, Hiro relished his teleporting abilities. And who wouldn’t?
I know I certainly could have used the power to squint my eyes and go back in time to fix a mistake is a power that would have come in handy many times during my time at TCU.
I could have done better on that Spanish exam I totally blew, not screw up my resident assistant interview and convinced myself to change my major sooner so I wouldn’t have to take an extra semester, as well as doing summer school.
Then there are the wonderful moments I could experience all over again, like the night of my dormitory’s karaoke competition or when I went down to College Station with my friends to the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association student conference.
But real life doesn’t offer do-overs any more than it offers people who can fly and mysterious islands with smoke monsters.
So, since I can’t have a do-over, the next best thing I can think of is passing along a few things I learned during my four-and-a-half years of college, all but one of those years spent at TCU.
Go with the flow: When I entered TCU, I wanted to be a second-grade teacher. After one semester in the education program, I knew the last thing I ever wanted to do was be a teacher. And yet, 11 days after graduation, I’m off to California to teach in an after school program.
Never tell yourself you’ll never be caught dead doing something; that only seems to increase your chances.
Don’t think you need to have the same measuring stick of success in life as others: Some of my married friends met and got married in college. As for me, I still haven’t met my guy yet (or I have and I’m just my usual clueless self.) This used to make me feel like a failure as a human being; now I just realize that God had a different track for their lives then he does for me. That doesn’t mean mine is better or worse, it just means it’s different.
Your personal measuring stick is the only one you need; ignore the rest.
Don’t procrastinate: Ever. When you have a 10-page paper due in a week, just sit your butt on the computer chair and write it right then, even if you don’t have any idea what to write.
Make friends with your professors: You don’t have to be best buds, but establish some rapport with them. If you’re struggling in a class, tell them. I’ve had a few tell me they would have had no idea someone was having such a hard time in their class if they hadn’t told them.
Try to branch out in as many different ways as possible: I had been home-schooled since fifth grade, so college was in many ways my first introduction to the rest of the world. Don’t just hang around in circles of people who you think like you, and try as many new things as you can. College isn’t just education for a future job, it’s education for the rest of your life.
Enjoy it while you can: I once talked to a recent college graduate who remarked that orientation prepares you for everything except how to say goodbye when it’s all over. They say college is the best four years of your life, and it’s absolutely true. Relish every single moment of it.