When I was a first-year at Miami University and new to the opinion section here at The Miami Student, a senior opinion writer named Kirby Davis closed out the year with a column listing everything she’d learned during college. Inspired by her work, I began to write my own rules over my time at Miami, starting a list that has spanned these last four years.
That was back when senior year seemed so far away, when an editor’s role at The Student was just a dream — when I hadn’t even met any of the people who would soon become my closest friends at The Student. I had found a home here, even if I didn’t know how far I would go — or how many articles I would write (this makes 65).
I think it is only right that, like Davis, my last article here be the “rules” I wish I had been told when I first got to Miami — some important things I learned about the world during my time here.
- Not everyone is as excited about snow as you are. But hey, you’re allowed to love things. Don’t let anyone make fun of you for that.
- If you feel like people are shutting you out, they probably are — and they’re not worth it. People change — that’s out of your control. You’ll find people who won’t ever treat you badly, and those are worth knowing.
- Always add an extra cycle in the dryers in residence halls.
- Sometimes it’s worth it to wake up early, and sometimes it’s more worth it to get extra sleep.
- Put an energy drink in the fridge the night before an early morning so you have a cold one when you wake up.
- Don’t be afraid to realize you’re an adult one day.
- If a get-together starts at 10 p.m., don’t show up at 10. You will be embarrassed, and your Snapchat memories will remind you of this day every year for all of time. Being late is not the monster you grew up believing it to be — nor is skipping class sometimes.
- Buy a hand vacuum.
- Every relationship takes work, and you might learn this the hard way. But if you cling too hard to something dwindling, it’s going to crash and burn — so trust your gut.
Metamora, Indiana, should be more beloved by Miami students, especially during October, when it turns into a city-wide “haunted house.” On that note, curate a silly little playlist for the 30-minute drive there — and beware of the ghost dog on your way.
- Learn to budget.
- You’re not better than other people for not laughing at stupid stuff — and no one likes a holier-than-thou attitude.
- When you feel your emotions too strongly, write them all down. It may save your life.
- Take pictures and videos of everything, lest you forget.
- The things that are out of your comfort zone might just turn out to be your favorites of all. (The Student, I’m looking at you.)
- You’ll wait a really long time to get things you’ve earned sometimes, but it’s worth it in the end. People notice the effort you put in, even if they don’t tell you.
- You know what’s best for yourself in the end, but other people have great ideas, too. Let them help you. (Some context: one of my professors, José Domínguez-Búrdalo, convinced me to add a Spanish major and join a Combined Spanish BA-MA that then set me up for a dream career. Thanks, José!)
- By the end of college, not everyone is going to like you, and that’s okay, no matter how much you may want everyone you meet to love you. No matter what, even if you lived life your way, and you’re proud of what you’ve accomplished, you can’t control other people. All you can do is live.
- Go do that thing you’ve always wanted to do, because when you succeed, you are going to be so ecstatically proud of yourself. (This one’s for Onyx.)
- Here’s the most important one of all, so if you skipped the previous 19, read this one: for every day you wish you were someone or somewhere else, you will have two days during which you wouldn’t trade your life for the world.
I’ve had bad days here at Miami. I’ve sobbed in my bedroom at 2 a.m. and gone to Student Counseling Services. I’ve gone 24 hours without talking to another human soul or eating a meal. I’ve failed exams and had my heart broken. I’ve wished I could transfer and start over somewhere new, give myself a new name and pretend I’d never heard of a Miami outside Florida.
But I’ve also had a life I loved here. I’ve met people I can call family, more than just friends. I’ve fallen in love and danced in the rain. I’ve done shots with strangers and stayed up all night with classmates, taken first-years under my wing and won awards.
I’ve studied abroad. I’ve pounded on the glass and screamed chants at hockey games, performed under the lights on the football field and finished essays bleary-eyed at 4 a.m. in King Library during exam week.
I’ve toured hundreds of prospective students around campus and had people say to me, years later, “You were my tour guide!” I’ve eaten at nearly every restaurant Uptown and gone on a girls’ vacation for spring break. I’ve had snow days. I’ve cried happy tears.
I’ve had a whole, full life here, with all the ups and downs of a roller coaster — and that’s what college is meant to be. I’m proud of what I’ve learned and who I’ve become.
Now all that’s left is to get my degree.
I’ll be back, Miami. Thank you for everything.