Things I Learned Outside of My Major at Stillman College

Jalyn Dantzler / Stillman College »

When the topic of college became the most talked about subject back in middle school, I was scared. There was always talk about not having enough time to write your notes down, so when you walked back to your dorm, your notes would look like chicken scratch. Professors not having enough time to help the students because there are over twenty students in a classroom. No one remembering your name. There was so much fear, anxiety, and negativity put into my mind about going to college that I did not know what to think. The thought of college was overwhelming to my teenage mind at that time. Looking back at that, I experienced a lot of those issues in high school! Isn’t that something? 

Now that I have started a new chapter in college as a rising junior, I have learned so many new things, and many of my lessons have come not just from being in class, but from living, existing, and experiencing college life. I used to think that college students had everything figured out, that they were all the way grown—“credit grown,” to be exact. Now that I am a college student, I do not have everything figured out; I am “grown-ish,” I miss being a kid, adulting is difficult, and I am still trying to understand my place in this world. It is normal to feel this way. I am okay with understanding this reality because life is sometimes like a roller coaster. Everyone has the power to control what they want to do with their life, and we all have a different path in life. 

One of the first lessons that I learned for myself is this: not everybody and everything is for you. Freshman year and part of my sophomore year taught me just to take things slowly and take time to figure out what I like, what fits my personality, and what does not. Not only am I a student at Stillman College, but I am also a legacy, and I decided that I wanted to make my own legacy and not to live up to the expectations that other people have of me just because of my grandparents and the mark they left behind.  That just adds unnecessary stress. Transitioning from high school to college to having to deal with college drama is enough of a hassle for one person. 

Another lesson I learned is not to take everything personally. It is normal to make mistakes and, coming from a background where I felt I had to do everything perfectly, I have had a hard time accepting that reality. Mistakes are opportunities to grow, as long as those mess ups are understood and not repeated. Not being ashamed to be human and mess up sometimes is a part of life and a major lesson to learn. My freshman year, I made a mistake of applying for only one summer internship to a medical program. I believed I was going to get accepted and let my cockiness get the best of me. Obviously, I did not get accepted, but I spent my summer shadowing physical therapists at a rehabilitation facility. I definitely learned my lesson that year. 

Looking back as a rising junior at Stillman College, I am grateful that my college allowed me to make mistakes, take time to understand who I am, and make lasting memories. The people I am surrounded by make life worth living and add wisdom that lasts a lifetime. 


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Founded in 1876, Stillman College is a coeducational, private liberal arts college historically and formally affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). With an average enrollment of 780 students, a faculty of 41, 17 academic programs, and service- and value-added dimensions, the College offers an unparalleled education to the world’s future leaders. The College’s purpose is to provide a student-centered, fulfilling, technologically enriched educational experience that will produce graduates who think carefully and logically; exhibit competence in their academic discipline; qualify for admission to graduate and professional schools; and manifest the ability to do research, scholarship, and creative production/performance.