Cartoons, chemistry and college experiences

Nicole Stejskal

I think it’s best to start off the school year with a short disclaimer: giving me a column in the newspaper to share my thoughts and ideas with readers was probably a bad idea.

In my new position with the Review, I have found myself fighting the urge to impart the wisdom I have gained thus far in college upon newspaper readers. Past ideas for this column included everything from creating a solid sleep schedule to fighting off the procrastination plague. But let’s be honest. I am in no position to be giving you advice for college. I hardly take my own advice. And I am not prepared to start sounding like my mother.

The best way for me to help you through your college experience is to share a little bit of my own. One of my favorite stories to tell people comes from my first semester in college.

After graduating at the top of my high school class, I was destined to conquer the world of academia, so I chose to enroll in 17 credit hours my first semester. It took me approximately two months to realize that my relationship with chemistry was much like that of David and Goliath, and there was no way I could tackle that giant and survive the semester. So after a lot of thought, I made the decision to drop the class. I was thrilled that I’d actually have a life again.

Unfortunately, my parents didn’t share that excitement. The phone call later that day involved 45 minutes of crying, yelling and a lot of “I told you so.” I felt guilty for admitting that I had made a mistake and that I should have listened to their advice about college. But, I knew that I was putting my health at risk by continuing the class, so I dropped it anyway.

So you’re probably wondering, what is the point of the story? How is this different from any other advice you’ve received? The story is not about what happened to me, but rather what I had to go through to learn from the situation.

You see, some people are full of wisdom and advice, ready and willing to share it at a moment’s notice. But no matter how much you learn from what other people tell you, the best way to figure things out is to experience it for yourself.

You may be miles away from friends and family, or you may still be living at home. Regardless, the only person who knows you best is yourself. In many ways, you’re on your own now, and it’s time for you to make decisions for yourself.

Looking back, there is not a single piece of advice that has benefited me more than one of my own personal experiences. So while this may seem like advice, I hope you’ll take what I’ve learned into consideration.

You’re in college now though. You can take it or leave it. I’ll leave the decision up to you.