The College Student’s Guide to a Life Full of Experiences

July 16, 2023


When you’re in college, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of assignments, exams, and extracurricular activities. The incessant hustle can often make us forget the essence of this journey: life experiences and personal growth. This article aims to shed light on why it is essential for college students to value their college experiences and to chase their dreams. Points 4 and 5 are the most crucial in my opinion, but feel free to pick and choose what’s relevant to you.

1. Dancing with the Brain: The Bias Blues

Our brain is a fascinating entity, bustling with an array of cognitive biases that constantly mold our decision-making process. Every single one of us falls prey to these biases, getting lured by false incentives or settling into habits formed out of sheer laziness. Hence, it’s pivotal to be ever watchful of these tendencies.

Understanding the ‘why’ behind our actions is a practical first step. Before diving headfirst into a decision, take a step back. Reflect. Analyze the reasons steering your choices and the possible biases influencing them. Are they aligned with your long-term aspirations, or are they just satisfying a short-term attraction?

The power lies in self-awareness. It’s like a torch that can help illuminate the shadowy corners of our mind where biases lurk, steering us subtly. Remember, it’s essential to dance to our own rhythm rather than being swayed by the tune of our biased brain.

Actionable Steps:

  • Read up on Human Psychology, Evolutionary Biology, and Marketing. These topics can help you become more conscious of your biases and guide you in making informed decisions. A couple books I would recommend are “Thinking Fast and Slow” and “Factfulness”.
  • Always ask ‘why’ before you act. Reflect on why you are inclined towards a particular decision and consider the role of external influences or biases.

2. The Holy Trinity: Survival, Pleasure, and Meaning

Life is an intricate balance between survival, pleasure, and meaning. Survival encompasses our basic necessities like food, water, clothing, and shelter. Pleasure is derived from activities and experiences that bring us joy, such as games, hobbies, and social interactions. And Meaning, the elusive third pillar, originates from a purpose or a mission that is not easy to achieve – something internal and unaffected by the external world.

Actionable Steps:

  • Survival: Master basic life skills that will ensure your basic needs are met, providing you with a solid foundation.
  • Pleasure: Explore different activities and hobbies. Find out what brings you happiness and make it a part of your daily routine. Don’t feel bad for indulging yourself in guilty pleasures once in a while.
  • Meaning: Seek what brings a sense of fulfillment in your life. Whether it’s a personal project, contributing to a community, or making a positive impact in the world, strive to find that purpose and relentlessly pursue it.

3. Navigating the Noise: Building the Shield

The vibrant journey through school and college bombards us with a plethora of external stimuli. The unending hustle and bustle could be exhilarating but equally overwhelming. Amid this constant buzz, it becomes critical to sift through the noise, to discern what truly matters and impacts us in a beneficial way.

A sturdy mental shield is your best bet to navigate through this chaotic labyrinth. This shield should filter through external factors, letting in only those that help enhance our motivation or aid in critical self-evaluation. The trick is to recognize non-critical feedback and opinions that have the potential to perturb our peace and self-confidence, and block them outright.

Actionable Steps:

  • Develop a strong sense of self-awareness to recognize what truly motivates you.
  • Nurture a growth mindset which views criticism as an opportunity for improvement. Don’t hesitate to ignore non-constructive feedback.
  • Invest in self-care practices like meditation, journaling, or even a leisure walk in the park to maintain your emotional wellbeing and mental strength.

4. Grasping Time’s Trickery: A Perspective Shift

Life is frugal, and time is an elusive artist, painting illusions of longevity. Particularly in our youthful years, a year or a decade might seem like an eternity. However, as we age, our perception of time subtly shifts. Our brain doesn’t process time linearly but in ratios.

For a 10-year-old, one year represents a significant 10% of their entire existence. But for a 50-year-old, it shrinks to a mere 2%. This disparity in perception explains why as we grow older, years seem to flash by at a breathtaking pace. Hence, recognizing the invaluable nature of time at an early stage, such as during college, can enrich our life experience significantly.

Actionable Steps:

  • Make every day count. Set daily goals and strive to achieve them.
  • Adopt a balanced lifestyle, dedicating time to study, leisure, personal development, and rest.
  • Embrace new experiences and opportunities to learn, keeping in mind the fleeting nature of time.

5. Embracing Diversity: The Open-Minded Odyssey

Diversity is the spice of life. A wide range of experiences, cultures, and perspectives enriches our life, fostering respect and appreciation for the world’s variety. College provides a fantastic opportunity to embark on this journey of open-minded exploration.

Be it trying a new cuisine, learning a foreign language, or participating in an unfamiliar sport, each new experience broadens our horizons and enhances our understanding of the world. And this journey isn’t limited to extroverts alone. Even if you’re an introvert, stepping outside your comfort zone can open the doors to a world teeming with diverse experiences.

Actionable Steps:

  • Actively seek diverse experiences – join clubs, participate in exchange programs, and interact with people from different cultures and backgrounds.
  • Cultivate the habit of learning a new skill or hobby regularly.
  • Make travel a priority. Visit new places, try local cuisines, and learn about different cultures.

6. Learning from Loss: Building Resilience

Loss is an inescapable part of life. Whether it’s a fractured relationship or the demise of a loved one, every loss leaves an indelible imprint on our life. However, it’s these experiences that often shape us, strengthening our resolve and resilience.

The ability to value the experiences gained from the people around us, despite the eventual loss, is essential. It teaches us to appreciate the moments shared, the memories created, and the lessons learned. This realization doesn’t merely help in making peace with the loss but also underlines the gratitude for the shared journey and the experiences it encompassed.

Actionable Steps:

  • Reflect on your losses. Identify the lessons they taught you and the growth they sparked.
  • Practice gratitude regularly, acknowledging the positive experiences and lessons from each interaction.
  • Seek professional help if required. It’s okay to ask for support in navigating through challenging times.

In conclusion, enthusiasm isn’t merely about brimming energy or constant engagement. It’s about cultivating a mindset that appreciates diverse experiences, values time, and embraces growth and learning. It’s about fostering an internal drive that helps you navigate through the labyrinth of life with a sense of purpose, resilience, and fulfillment. Embark on this journey today, and open doors to a life full of rich experiences and profound learning.


More Blogs