Have you ever had a moment when you first looked down at yourself, then looked up at whatever circumstance you had found yourself in and said “How the heck did I end up like this?” Well, here’s a picture of mine.
If you haven’t had that moment yet, I don’t know whether to A) envy you because you haven’t had the worst night of your life yet or B) pity you because you haven’t impressed yourself yet. Although these two types of circumstances lie on the complete opposite ends of the fun scale, they both imply transformation.
The first, the negative one, implies that perhaps a change is needed. Let’s say you find yourself to be a Prodigal Son: dirt poor, living out on the streets and eating slop with the pigs. You say “How the heck did I end up like this?” You’ve hit rock bottom and you see a need for change. Or if you’re like me you might find yourself in a New Orleans hospital covered in your own blood.
The second, the positive one, implies that perhaps a change has already occurred. You’ve impressed yourself because you accomplished something out of the normal expectations you’ve set for yourself. Let’s say someone outside of the family looks you in the eye and tells you that they respect you, are grateful to have you and that you are their biggest role model in his or her life. You say “How the heck did I end up like this?” You don’t expect people to look up to you but apparently you’ve done something consistently good enough to make someone say that and mean it. Or if you’re like me you might find yourself in a New Orleans hospital covered in your own blood.
Yes, I repeated that last sentence on purpose so that you’ll be confused as to whether the incident was a good one or a bad one. And I’ll get to that as we go.
The greatest disservice people do themselves is put off this transformation. They wait to do anything extraordinary because they think they have all the time in the world, they’re scared or they’re lazy. This mentality runs rampant within the demographic in which I currently reside: the college student.
Yep, here comes the link to the title.
Too many college students assume that upon their 22nd birthdays or college graduations, a switch will be flipped in their brains that will instantaneously give them the conviction to be adults. To be mature. To stop procrastinating. To stop staying up late. To spend more time with the family. To go to church. To stop cussing. To stop drinking so much. To be selfless. To grow up.
This thought process is a trail that leads to nowhere but the Tar Pit of Mediocrity and Complacency because guess what: these ideals don’t just pop into your head and start working your body like a puppet. Sure, you’re entitled to your epiphanies, but a thought without an action is only a dream (Thank you, Kevin Gates) and action that isn’t turned into a habit will amount to nothing more than a memory. Hey, remember that one mature thing you did that one time? Yeah, that was sweet. You’ve continued to do it since then, right? Oh. You haven’t. Well, congrats on that one thing you did! That one time… It was sweet. I guess.
The topic of growing up before departing your university is one that might scare you if you’re clinging oh-so-desperately to your social life. Throughout my experiences and additions of fortune cookie knowledge, here’s the kicker: I still have mine. Yes, I said it. At no point will I tell you to get rid of your social life, social status or any other part of the social scene that you currently drool over like a middle school boy and his Brittany Spears poster (and yes, she’s even got a full head of hair). I get it, social connections in college are too fun and rewarding to loosen your grip on, and for those of you who truly want to maximize your personal growth before graduation, I want you to know just how you can keep them while doing so.
As we go on, I’ll continue to tackle personal growth advice that you can successfully juggle with your social life, even increasing the quantity and quality of the connections you currently have. In other words, if you want to improve yourself but stay relevant within your social groups, I’ve got more coming for you. And yes, I’ll even tell you how the heck I ended up like this.
You can read the follow-up post to this, The Two Things That Influence You the Most, here.