Opinion – Some motherly advice about college my mother never told me


Annamarie Parker/NW

LEARNING TO MOVE ON — Taking a self-reflecting walk along Little Presque Isle my freshman year, in the fall of 2019, after having moved eight hours away from everything I had ever known.

Annamarie Parker, Copy Editor

The world is flat. The moon landing was fake. Birds are not real – they are government spies. The Illuminati exists. Chemical trails are a thing. 

These are all conspiracies built to “stir the pot,” most of which do not have much – or any – backing behind them, similar to the way we abide by day-to-day things that have no actual proof of being effective. 

Being a senior in college, I can give you some friendly, “motherly” advice right off the bat on three things that I have learned. These will simultaneously break down some non-helpful advice and contradict some of the things I personally came to college believing.

Firstly, you have time. 

There is no “right time” per se – we all grow and experience life differently. I understand that things happen, and we are all on very different paths, but there is no rush and there is a reason that it may be taking more time. 

Somebody once told me, “If you cut the bud before it is able to bloom, you will miss out on the growth you could have had by just jumping ahead.” This applies to your personal life, including relationships, figuring yourself out, decisions and so on. 

Stressing about it is only going to stress you out more for something that, honestly, is likely out of your control. 

You may feel like you are aging every day and not taking advantage of college or are losing opportunities, and I know it is said that college is where you make life-long friendships, but nothing has to be done as fast as you feel like it does. It will work out in the way it is supposed to.

Pushing yourself into things because of these fears is not where you are going to magically find the answers. Frankly, you are just buying time until you come to that realization. 

Sometimes you get lucky right away and other times you have a handful of friendly faces and are working to figure it out, and that is okay.

This can also be applied to the way you carry yourself through college. In retrospect, everybody has different methods that work for them, but cramming everything at once can be draining and probably does more bad than good – especially if it is the only thing you do. 

How great will that exam be, with every flashcard memorized front and back if your brain is foggy and you are sleep-deprived the entire time, to the point where you reread the same sentence eight times and still do not understand it? 

Yes, college is important, but so are you. Eat something, drink some water, go to bed and try again tomorrow.

Second, taking an occasional mental health day does not make you a bad student. Not turning in an assignment does not make you a bad student. One C- on a test does not make you a bad student.

It is a process, and it sucks. I can agree with that because things get heavy, and it is so easy to be hard on yourself for “falling behind.” But you are not. You are human, and you are stressed, and you should be the last person turning on yourself when at the end of the day you are probably just overstimulated and need a break.

Some things are easier said than done, and the phrase “If you can dream it, you can achieve it” is one of them. Mental health is real, and it is hard, but it is important to take care of yourself. 

You can take a step back and breathe. Everything will still be there, and you can pick up right where you left off with a clearer mind. You are a living and breathing being that needs the same time and effort you give to everything else. 

Your teachers are people too. We all get overwhelmed with the amount of daily stress we probably go through balancing jobs, school, clubs, social lives etc. I am not saying you should make it a habit, or not care, but do not let your fear of a bad grade or somebody else’s opinion of you overrule your own personal needs. 

There are ways to get class notes – email exists and there are alternatives to help make up grades. If you cannot find one, know there will be other grades added to it. How much will that one grade matter when buried beneath all else?

And lastly, you do not have to “forgive and forget.”

Not just for yourself, but for others. You do not have to forget the way you feel. You are allowed to just forgive and move on. But honestly, I recommend keeping that version of yourself in mind because you will not leave here the same way you came here.

Change is inevitable.

I am not saying that everybody is going to have an epiphany and completely reroute themselves – though many do – but you are going to experience things, some of which you did not anticipate. It is a part of life, and there are going to be moments that are rough, but there are also going to be moments that are really great.

Two versions of yourself can coexist, believe it or not, and just because you choose to move on does not mean you have to forget. It is about the experience and seeing the growth of the person you were versus the person you have become.

You are going to love some aspects, you are going to detest others, and regardless of it all, you are going to learn.

Editor’s Note: The North Wind is committed to offering a free and open public forum of ideas, publishing a wide range of viewpoints to accurately represent the NMU student body. This is a staff column, written by an employee of the North Wind. As such, it expresses the personal opinions of the individual writer, and does not necessarily reflect the position of the North Wind Editorial Board.