Monday, October 27, 2014

What College Taught Me... Outside The Classroom

I am a very organized, scheduled, disciplined, to-do list kind of gal.

So, when it came to my senior year of high school I did what was up next on the list.

I applied to college.

Where do you even start when it comes to applying to college?

How do you know where you should go?
What’s a good fit for you?
What should you even study?
Should I start at a two year?
What’s an AA?
Who would be a good roommate?
Should I do intramural sports?
What clubs do I join?
What differentiates a BA from a BS?

But hey, no pressure.

You know the saying, “College isn’t for everyone.”

Yeah, I couldn’t agree more.
College isn’t for everyone and college most definitely was not for me!

I had ZERO scholarships offered to me!

Does that make me non-athletic or academically challenged?

Those were the questions that ran thru my head.
College isn’t for me because...

    A)   I am not smart enough.
    B)   I am not athletic enough.
    C)   And you know what, I just finished 12 years of school and the last thing I want to do is go sit in another classroom.

So... the question is why did I go to college?
Well, like I said before; I am disciplined.

I applied to Washington State University, Eastern Washington University, and Arizona State University.

I attempted to apply to Gonzaga but the application required a five-page paper on why you want to attend the school and all I could muster up was a good laugh.

“Forget that!”

Anyway, I got into all the schools I applied to.
(Which is nothing special because just about 90% of applicants get in.)

Then at random I just decided to go to ASU since it was the furthest away from the small town I was in a hurry to get out of.

So, now I am graduated and it seems as if college went by in a blink of an eye.

And you want to know what I didn’t learn within my 4 years of “higher education?”


So, did I just waste not only 4 years of my life but also a big pocket full of my parent’s money?

After some long, hard thinking... the answer to that is no.

I think college taught me a lot. But most of what I learned in college was outside of the classroom.

You want me to elaborate?

You got it, dude!

Here is what I learned in college, outside the classroom.

  1)   Everyone finishes college at his or her own pace.

     From pre-K to twelfth grade we are taught that each age group should be reading, writing,    
     calculating, talking, walking and maturing on the same time frame! We take tests and assessments
     constantly telling us where we fall on the scale. It is literally drilled into our brains that if someone   
     your age is a step ahead of you then you are behind.

     It took me till my senior year of college to realize graduation wasn’t a race.

     Put the clock down and the comparisons away and just learn for goodness sakes. We may have
     spent twelve years thinking we are either below or above average but like Dr. Suess said,

     “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.”

22)   Don’t be so focused on the future that you are absent in the present.

      In college your whole mindset is on the future. I mean that is why you are there, correct? There are
      goals to be met, grades to be made and successes to be achieved.

      In college I was so worked up on making sure I made all the right choices and was on the right   
      path to my future that I was not living in the present.

            All thru middle school I wanted to be in high school.
            All thru high school I wanted to be in college.
            And all thru college I wanted to be in my career.

       I got to the point where I never felt like I had achieve anything because as soon as I made it to the 
       next step I was already focused on the next two steps.

       What a soul sucking way to live life, huh?

  3)   If someone doesn’t want to play with you, IT’S OKAY!

     In college it was a fantasy of mine to meet my long lost best friend or my soulmate.

            Four years later, neither one of those became a reality.
            My best friend is from my hometown & I am still single.

     I use to get my feelings hurt so easily when someone didn’t like me. But you know what that taught 
     me... Not everyone is going to love us and that’s how it’s supposed to be. If everyone loved me then
     I wouldn’t have any meaningful or deep friendships & relationships.

      Go find someone who does want to play with you and appreciates what you have to offer. 
     THOSE are the people who you should invest your time into.

  4)   Who cares what people think of you!

     Seriously... WHO CARES!!!

     In high school it was all about being accepted, cool and popular. You want to know what’s fun 
     about being popular?

     Because once you’re there, you’ll realize how empty & lonely it is on top.
     You have no real friends and it's boring up there.

      I use to really care what people thought about me.
      I always dressed accordingly, watched what I said, remained poise and never voiced my opinion if
      it meant arguing with the leader of the group.
      You know what’s fun, being the leader of your own group!
      I am the host of the Ashlee Show! (haha, sorry for the corniness)

      I finally let my true colors show. I stood up for myself and I voiced my opinion. I demanded to be  
      respected. When people have respect for you, you have respect for yourself. It is so vital to respect 
      yourself and feel confident in your skin. Self-actualization without it is impossible.

       I never tell people I changed, I tell people I ENHANCED myself. And that is the truth. I like who I
       am and I am finally at a point in my life where people’s opinion of me does not define my self     

       Do you know how much fun it is to be the crazy one dancing and singing karaoke at the bar 
       compared to the one who just looks pretty sipping a Cosmo?

        Well, speaking from my own personal experience... belting out and interpretative dancing to 
        Shania Twain’s “Man. I Feel Like A Women” IS THE BEST FEELING EVER!

        So seriously, next time grab the microphone and be the star in your own show. Oh and also, have 
        the humility to laugh at yourself! I promise you, it will fill your soul with JOY.

        And lastly, there is nothing more intimidating and admirable than someone who is confident!

   5)   It takes failure to succeed!

        My first class in college was English 101 and you want to know what the first words out of my 
       professor’s mouth were?

       “According to everyone’s testing scores in this room you are all in dumb English so.... pay    

       I was hand selected to be put in “dumb” English because of how low my SAT score was. LOL!   
      That’s encouraging!!!

       But you know what I did?
       I spent countless hours in my professor’s office after class and the writing help center with tutors 
      working on my writing skills and grammar.

      I got an A in the class; upgraded to “smart people” English 102 and now I write blog entries as a   

      (And no my blogs are not perfectly written but they are a hell of a lot better than they would be if 
       my teacher hadn’t told me I was dumb.)
       I have been rejected for multiple jobs, failed tests, and dropped out of classes. There are a lot of    
       things I really suck at! But at the end of the day I do not let these things define me. 

       I let them motivate me!

       And you know what? There are actually a couple things I am really great at.

  6)   Home will always be where the heart is.
      No matter how much I resented my little hometown growing up, out of all the places I have traveled
      to since moving out, it is always my favorite place to visit.

      As you age there is no better feeling than being home. Driving past my old high school, a quick  
     glance at my ex boyfriends house, the baseball field I slept on over night with my girlfriends, the    
     ballroom that held my senior prom, the Red Robin where I spent my 10th birthday, the canal I lost
     my first dog in, and the rink I spent countless hours in. These are all the memories that gave me the 
     best childhood ever and never again will I take my hometown for granted.

  7)   College isn’t the only time to find your soul mate.

      I am twenty-three and I have friends that are married, with kids, or still dating their high school 

      I sit at airports, coffee shops and parks admiring the grins on couples that cross my path.
      There are days I really question my self worth because I am still single.
      Days like those are no fun.

       But I think I had an “ah-ha” moment my senior year of college.
       “Singlehood” is literally your only time in life that it is acceptable to be selfish.

       I have embraced my selfish years. I know I want kids and a husband someday. But as for right 
       now, the only person I really have to take care of is myself. Everyday goes according to my plans.
       If I want to sleep in till noon on a Saturday I can do so in complete silence without anyone judging
       my lack of productivity. I go out or stay in on Friday nights due to my mood. I let my dirty dishes 
       pile up with no one complaining. And in my opinion, everything I do is right! HA!

       Of course there is occasional loneliness when you are single. We are humans.
       But I hear mothers and wives joke in conversation about how they’d do anything to get a moment 
       of their life back. Or how they wish they would have finished college or took that promotion
      when they had the opportunity.

       Being in that moment of life right now, I am going to   Live.   It.    Up.
       I do not want to look back and have regrets. I want to be able to tell my kids someday that I 
       worked my booty off in my twenties. I achieved a successful career and education before I became
      their mommy.

  8)   Everyone has his or her own idea of the American Dream.

       My last take away would be don’t go after a career just for the income .The goal in life should 
       never be wealth. Because...

            A) Money does not buy you love, happiness, and fulfillment.


            B) Everyone has their own idea of the American Dream so go after yours.

xo, ashlee

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