>25 Things I’ve Learned in College (but not necessarily in class)

>I am using the term “college” here to mean the time period of the last four years as well as the circumstances surrounding being a college student.
By the way, if you tagged me for 25 things or 16 things or 38.2189 things…this is my belated response.

  1. For me, numbness is worse than fear or pain or hunger, because feeling those means I’m still alive. I can usually remember this in the midst of suffering…usually.
  2. I process the universe through written words. This means I learn best through reading and writing. I don’t retain well what I hear unless I read it or write it down simultaneously or soon after.
  3. Breakfast is my favorite meal. There have been days (more often than I care to admit) when I have eaten oatmeal or cereal for two out of three square meals a day.
  4. I have a pathological fear of confrontation that I am trying to overcome without becoming a pain in the ass.
  5. I am not nearly as good at multitasking as I imagine myself to be.
  6. Vacations should not be about cramming in as many activities into the space of twelve hours as possible. I learned this traveling with Liz to Cabo San Lucas and Atlanta.
  7. One of my worst habits of action is not putting things where they belong right when I am done using them.
  8. I have a rather severe teacher’s pet complex, which I have fortunately never acted on.
  9. “Mostly harmless” is not a good enough reason to do anything. Life is too short and offers too many choices not to think carefully and choose to do only the things that serve some distinct purpose.
  10. I wish I had kept up my study and practice of music during college. When I have my own place large enough to fit it, I will have my piano shipped to me.
  11. I am not God, but I often try to put myself in His place by judging or condemning myself and others. I am desperately trying to unlearn this tendency.
  12. Whether or not one gets a happy ending depends entirely on where one stops reading.
  13. I am extremely bad at choosing superlatives, so those ubiquitous web memes about your favorite this or that are extremely difficult for me. This is a symptom of my larger inability to make decisions. Unfortunately, I haven’t actually improved much in this area; I get around by avoiding new decisions as much as possible, which is not healthy, and I am trying to turn these things over to God more.
  14. Even though I usually dig in my heels when it comes to change, when things finally do change I can usually adjust pretty quickly to the new “normal.”
  15. I tend to be kind of nearsighted about life; I believe, mistakenly, that the way things are now is the way they have always been. Coupled with my tendency to revise my own history, this is not always wise, but fortunately I have my journals and friends to remind me about things I need to remember but would sometimes rather forget.
  16. Apparently my favorite number is 4. I tell people I am either 4 years old or 84, the average of which is…44.
  17. Even though (or perhaps because) I try to keep my life fairly well planned, I LOVE surprises. (Benign ones, at least.)
  18. I am much more people-oriented than I used to be. I attribute this directly to being part of a community that visibly and intentionally cares after one another.
  19. I am very impressionable, to the point where I have trouble taking True/False tests because I think, “Well, if someone took the time to write this on a sheet of paper, it must be true!” For the most part I regard this as a good thing because it allows me to empathize better with people (see #18) but it can be also bad because I internalize other people’s [misguided] expectations and projected [negative] emotions very easily. I am slowly learning to let certain things roll off me more.
  20. I like hugs. The level of physical affection that I am willing to give or receive is directly correlated to my emotional state.
  21. I also really like making and giving things to people, whether it’s food or cards or letters or furry pink things. (One a side note, when I read Gary Chapman’s book about the five love languages, I almost got a little frustrated because I evince all of them toward various people. Then I realized this is a good thing.)
  22. I love analogies and object lessons and look for them in everything I experience.
  23. I tend to be very trusting of people in general and sometimes need to be clued in on “common sense” wariness. Paradoxically, I sometimes have trouble trusting specific people enough to let them fully into my life.
  24. Everyone has their own cross to bear. I am learning not to compare my trials with others’ and complain that someone else has it easier because they are most likely facing difficulties I simply cannot understand. I can help those whose difficulties I can understand, however, because I went through them myself. I used to grumble, “Why do I have to be hurt so that I can help others?” But the causality is quite the opposite: I can help because I was hurt but then healed.
  25. I used to think the world was all black and white, EITHER/OR, but I’m finding that God is really more a God of BOTH/AND, not in a self-contradictory way but like holding different things in opposite hands. (Chesterton explains this much better in Orthodoxy.) All my life I felt like a walking contradiction and thought something was wrong with me, but realizing this has helped me move toward wholeness.

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