College is a great time to make mistakes; students have ample freedom and are protected from the consequences of full adulthood. During this time, many students display embarrassingly impulsive behavior. As sobering as these experiences can be, students should not wallow in their mistakes forever.
To begin with, the University is known for its party spirit. Many students partake in the vivid nightlife and find themselves in unforeseen situations. With a host of clubs and bars surrounding the University’s campus, drinking heavily is a pretty common experience here.
However, not every glimmering moment builds into a night of rhapsody; instead, it can lead to bad decisions. Lots of unnecessary drama has erupted from these inebriated highs, leaving the perpetrators afraid to show their faces the next day.
To the person who had a drunken brawl at Tigerland, don’t do it again. Your embarrassment is a greater teacher than D.A.R.E. Learn from it. There’s no need to hide in shame. It will be tempting to pity yourself, but learning a lesson the hard way is sometimes the best way to develop discerning judgement.
Even if a drunken stupor has led to less mortifying deeds, like a bad hangover or unpleasant pictures, there is always something to gain from a negative experience. It's imperative to embrace your mistakes; they are the key to personal growth and prosperity.
Aside from drinking, common mistakes for students involve driving. This type of irrational thoughtlessness on the part of college-aged drivers is beyond me. The parking lots at the University can be a war zone, with raging snipers coming out of hidden nooks. Commuters face a scary situation at 4:00 p.m.
Throughout my time here, I have seen many hit and runs, unprecedented wrecks and wrathful chases between drivers. No one wants to intentionally damage anyone’s car, but it is important to not run away from the accident. Be remorseful and apologetic, yet responsible. Don’t cry. Use the accident as a learning opportunity to pay attention to your mirrors and use your blinker.
A lot of people also make mistakes with friendships and other relationships. Even with a busy college career to juggle, one of the most important parts of life is to remain true to your real friends. Authentic friendship is difficult to find, and you should cherish the relationships you build with fellow schoolmates.
We all get mad at our partners and friends, but it is crucial to remember the reason you are together. It is easy in the heat of the moment to fly into a fit of anger and do something you’ll regret, and many of us have done that, but the pain that follows hits harder than any fight.
It is better to forgive yourself and accept the pain you have caused. Use the experience to become more self-aware. Impulse can be one of the most effective teachers, teaching us skills many professors could never explain.
Overall, don’t be ashamed of your impulsivity. Students are human, and more importantly, we are inexperienced and naïve. It is impossible to avoid making mistakes, but you should always approach them with dignity and accountability. Own up to your faults and learn from them. That's what mistakes are for.
Erin Stephens is a 19-year-old journalism sophomore from Brusly, Louisiana.