You live and you learn, ey? It’s what makes life fun (at least, when it’s not for school)! And yet, some of the things I realize are so obvious that I’m just flabbergasted as to how I didn’t know it sooner. This whole article has been quite embarrassing to write, but hopefully someone can learn something from my own ignorance.
5. You can cover the toilet sensors (potential TMI warning?)
This one is just. Wow. How did I never think of this until I was 18 years of age. I always just suffered through the feeling of having cold toilet water splash up onto my butt when the toilet flushed while I was still using it. To be fair, I didn’t really use automatic toilets often enough for this to be much of an issue for me until I got here, but oh my goodness. Draping a piece of toilet paper on top of the sensor is such a wonderful quality of life hack.
4. It’s spelled “arboretum”
Someone tell me why and how I’ve managed to live my whole life thinking the word was actually “arboreum”. I only found out about my error when I was speaking to some people about my pollen allergies, which may have been made worse by the fact that we live on an arboretum (apparently the entire Vanderbilt campus is one!). The more ya know, I guess.
3. You can get a side with your 2301 smoothie
BEFORE YOU START TO JUDGE ME, please remember that the title of this article is top 5 obvious things I’ve learned this year. This one actually hurts to admit to, because how in the world did I not know this??? In my defense, I… Okay, I actually have no defense. Oops, I guess.
2. You don’t have to measure yourself in a vacuum
Whew, okay, getting into the deep stuff now! The heading is a bit confusing, but I couldn’t figure out how to word it concisely (sorry). Anyways, to elaborate: I was feeling a bit down on a random night because I randomly realized that I was always doing something—listening to music, working on a project, meeting friends, going places—in order to distract myself from the feeling that I’m not much at all without all of those things. But then I thought, “Why do I feel the need to measure myself in a void? That’s stupid.” And it really is!! Even the people that are universally considered to be successful wouldn’t be much on their own! Why do I, by myself, need to be something great? I don’t plan on living the rest of my life completely alone, nor am I going to do everything by myself. People and their lives are just accumulations of their relationships and accomplishments (“accomplishments” is used loosely here, since I’d say living well is an accomplishment), so why try to judge myself in a vacuum? If I really look at myself as I am—a person with a great family and friends I can rely on, a person who’s pursuing higher education, a person who is doing her best to live a good life—I’d actually say that I have quite a lot. And that’s something I can be satisfied with.
1. Living your best life takes a lot of effort
This one was probably the most impactful realization I’ve made this year. I won’t lie, my first semester here was pretty rough. No details, but it was a not very fun time, and I don’t like to think about it too hard anymore. Since then, I’ve done my best to turn things around, and I’d say that I’ve succeeded in doing so! Yay 🙂 But one of the things that I continue to realize every single day is that it is difficult as hell to actually live in a way that I’m proud of. It always looked so easy when other people did it, so I just lived my life thinking that it would just come to me one day. Nope. Turns out all the people I admired and envied actually work very hard to live good lives! Who woulda thunk, huh? Again, really obvious stuff. Anyways, I suppose this is sort of a flip side to the “everybody struggles, you just can’t see it” thing.
Alrighty! That’s the end of this one! We’re getting pretty close to the end of the year now, which is crazy to think about. I’m not sure what to say about it all, but at the very least, I can say I’ve learned from this whole experience (as you just read about)! Good luck on the final stretch everybody. We got this!