Take a Breath: Keeping Things in Perspective in College

By Stella Yeong

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[4 minute read]

It’s easy to feel like college is supposed to be the most important and formative part of your life. At least, that’s what many of us have been led to believe through media and film. However, after some time, I’ve come to realize that’s not true for everyone. It’s hard to not get muddled up in what you think your experience is supposed to be, but it is best to focus on making it the best version of what it already is. I felt the same way about high school — like everything that happened was the most important thing in the world. Yet, the number of people that I still keep in contact with that I used to see every day can now be counted on one hand. Even my most embarrassing or happiest moments have all become a blur.

Photo by Fuu J on Unsplash

High school and college can be all-consuming while you’re in them, especially because they are a cesspool of unhealthy comparison. However, everyone is on their own path — it may take longer to get from one place to another for some, but that doesn’t determine your destination. Trust that everything will work out, and if it doesn’t, worry about it when it happens because everything, good or bad, eventually comes to an end.

Here are a few tips I’ve gathered over time to help remember how to keep things in perspective in college:

1. Start studying early to minimize stress around exam time.

Photo by Matt Ragland on Unsplash

Annoyed how tests, projects, and papers all seem to pile up at the same time? Start studying early by going over your notes for a few minutes each day so you don’t have to cram for four classes at once. When you have some free time, study even if you don’t think you have to because exam time can sneak up on you before you know it. Easier said than done, but try not to procrastinate! This way you won’t be so concerned about where you stand in relation to others when you are cramming during exam week.

2. Don’t get caught up in other people’s success

Recruitment season can be a real bummer. Even if you didn’t get into the club you really wanted to join, or your dream internship or job picked someone else, that doesn’t mean there isn’t another opportunity around the corner. Or maybe it’s taking longer to graduate than you once anticipated. That doesn’t mean you are behind, just that you have a different path than others. Staying positive during these times and not constantly paying attention to other people’s success can help you to maintain a better outlook. 

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3. Branch out and meet everyone you can!

USC can easily feel like a giant high school, sectored off by each individual school or department. Don’t be afraid to join a club totally unrelated to your major or something you’ve never tried before. It can feel like you have to fit into a certain mold to be happy but it’s actually super cool to embrace if you are a biology major who plays the trumpet and dances in their free time.

Most importantly, remember to breath. Regard your own values highly, and only then happiness and prosperity will follow.

Featured Image by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash

Stella is a recent USC graduate. She majored in Marketing and Communications Design in hopes of eventually starting a business or designing for a business. She grew up in Cambridge, MA until coming to LA for school. Her parents moved to America just before starting a family so she has experienced a Chinese upbringing at home while living in American culture. She understands the cultural differences and how important it is to integrate but to also stay true to your roots. Stella loves movies, music, going to concerts, trying new things, and good conversations!