Writing a senior advice column on my time at LMU is something I’ve thought about since I first started working for the Loyolan in Spring 2016. I always wondered what advice I would give. What wisdom would I have to impart on the grateful underclassmen who would take my advice and use it to drastically improve their lives?
Now that that day has arrived, I find myself with only one piece of advice to offer: be yourself.
Let me elaborate on that cliche that I know made you roll your eyes. I don’t mean “be yourself” like you need to disregard everyone’s opinions about you and act against general society. That kind of freedom is nearly impossible to achieve and I don’t expect us, as young adults who are dependent on our friendships, to pretend we don’t care.
I mean the kind of “be yourself” where you take the time to pay attention to yourself. Get to know your strengths, weaknesses and tendencies. These might not be apparent at first, but I wish I had taken more time to acknowledge that yes, I did have strengths, and it is not a weakness to admit that.
As a psychology major and member of Agapé service organization, I place a great importance on mental health, and I truly believe that one of the best ways to achieve a more positive state of mind is to focus on the good. A movement within psychology, aptly called positive psychology, believes that humans want to lead fulfilling lives and that the way to do this is to nurture what is already amazing inside them. (I really think LMU should offer at least a first year seminar course on positive psychology and mindfulness, but that’s an argument for another time.)
The takeaway from positive psychology, then, is to learn your strengths and weaknesses. Then, say to the weakness (in the words of Ariana Grande), “thank u, next” and focus on the good you already have inside of you. What do you enjoy doing? What do you bring that makes you unique? If your first answer is, “not much, really,” I guarantee you, you’re wrong.
Secondly, I mean “be yourself” in that through college, you’ll learn what works best for you and what advice would be best to just ignore.
Let me explain with some examples. Professors will tell you countless times that the day before a paper is due is not the day to start. But if you know you can write an amazing piece of work the night before with the pressure of a deadline sitting on your shoulders, just do it. Some people need to hear that reminder in order to begin working on a schedule to finish their work (a strength!).
However, others, like me, know that procrastination is how we operate. I don’t know how to sleep on a schedule. And when I say procrastinate, I mean really procrastinate — write a research paper the night before, print it and walk straight to the 8 a.m. to turn it in. This method, which people have advised me against, has gotten me fairly good grades, some close relationships with friends of similar mindsets and an almost-friendship with the grandpa-like man who works the library information desk in the early morning after the main desk closes (shoutout to him, that’s a thankless job).
This advice even applies to this column. If you find my advice to be something that you know will not work for you, I encourage you to disregard the entire thing. Move onto the next senior column; there are some great ones in this paper.
But finally, I mean “be yourself” as in just that. Accept who you are. This is much, much easier said than done, and it did take me until senior year to really learn this — but it’s worth it to try. I know, you’re rolling your eyes again, but I just want you to know you are enough. I hope you learn this sooner than I did.
While I did become the incredible, wise senior I knew I would turn out to be, I know my advice is not going to change anyone’s life. I’m not going to give you the secret to succeeding at college or how to have the absolute best college experience. At the end of the day, your college experience is going to be the best because it’s yours. And that’s the tea.
This is the opinion of Sami Leung, a senior psychology major from Cerritos, California. Tweet comments to @LAloyolan or email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.