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The Stuff I Wish I Was Told and REALLY Embraced When I Went to College




It is hard to believe, but summer is quickly coming to a close as we step into autumn. Most kids are back at school or will be very soon.

My oldest daughter just started her second year at the University of North Carolina a few weeks ago. I remember about a year ago getting her prepared and ready to fly from the nest and spread her wings. This was a process of getting her ready physically and logistically. For example, bedding for her dorm, a garbage can, shower caddy, desk light, textbooks… And for me, it was also a process of hopefully equipping her mentally by offering her some unsolicited advice as she embarked on her college experience.


As I reflected back on my life as an 18-year-old leaving home and heading to school, I was inspired to create a list of stuff I wish I was told and really embraced when I went to college. I typed this up for her and gave it to her just before she moved to school. She kept it in her dorm room throughout the year. I entitled it, “The Stuff I Wish I Was Told and REALLY Embraced When I Went to College”.


We are all different with different paths and we have our own ways of navigating the world. I’m sure this list of suggestions I offered my 18-year-old daughter may not resonate with everyone.


I came across this the other day. I thought to myself, "Yes... hopefully, good advice for one heading off to college, but also these thoughts may be applicable to anyone... anytime." I personally found this list served as a good reminder for me and my life now many decades after I left the hometown I had grown up in and headed off to open a new chapter in my life at college.


So, for what it’s worth, I am happy to share this with you now...


Here is “The Stuff I Wish I Was Told and REALLY Embraced When I Went to College”.


  • Say "Yes!" Go do it. Find out what it's like. Learn, grow, and explore. Without trying there is no doing, or knowing, or learning, or understanding…

  • Learn the town. Find out what your new hometown has to offer. This town is now your new home, not just the campus. Explore the town. Learn where things are and what it has to offer. Grow your experiences of college far beyond the campus. Find your favorite coffee shop, grocery store, bookstore, bar… College towns are usually overflowing with diversity and opportunities.

  • Do something that scares you. Allow yourself to be uncomfortable. If you aren’t uncomfortable, you probably aren't growing. Now is the time to push yourself into growing beyond where you have been. Explore and find out what life has to offer. Give yourself the gift of diverse experiences so you can discover new interests, passions, loves, as well as things you don't like. Ultimately, what you discover is You.

  • Play hard. I think the purpose of life is to play. Truly I think we are here to have fun and to enjoy this human experience. While it is, at times, important to work hard, it is equally, if not more important, to play hard. Have fun. Handle your business and take care of all that needs to be done, and also always find time to play and enjoy the ride.

  • Get to know your teachers. They are human too and are probably eager to know that there are fellow humans in their classroom.

  • Be the friend you want to have. This will teach others how to be with you and also attract to you the people you desire to connect with.

  • Say "Hello." Introduce yourself to others. No one can have too many friends. A smile and a friendly gesture can change the world.

  • Recognize karma and make it work for you. Good choices make good consequences. Your today is defined by your yesterday and your tomorrow is defined by your today. If you desire to feel different tomorrow, do something different today.

  • Take advantage of the offerings at the university- the events, the mixers, the clubs, the gatherings… Sample it all.

  • Don't settle for less than awesome friends. There may be a tendency to have your main friends be the people that are convenient to be friends with. For example, your roommate or the person next door. While convenient, this doesn't make them someone worthy of being a good friend. Your good friends are out there waiting to connect with you… go find them.

  • Accept and assume responsibility for your life. Fully step into the position of being the CEO of your life. Accept the responsibility for living your best life. It is now your duty. It is now only up to you. You must grab and wield that power. If you do not rise to the occasion to become the best version of yourself that you can be… then it will never be realized. Your duty and your dharma this time around is to become the best version of you that there is.

  • While I didn’t need to be told this one back when I was your age, I will still offer it up to you now… It’s okay to break a few rules.



Article by Quinn Akira Takei, Doctor of Oriental Medicine(NM), Licensed Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist, Functional Medicine Practitioner, and Holistic Health & Wellness Coach.
The Center: Natural Health Specialists, 8404 Six Forks Road, Suite 201, Raleigh, NC 27615. (919) 848-0200. www.TheCenterNHS.com


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