Here are some of the life lessons I’ve learned in Sevilla that I want my children to know.
1. First impressions are important, but the second encounter is even more important.
- Everyone needs a firm handshake, great table manners, and the ability to small chat and network. While we stress the importance of the first impression, I think we should really stress the importance of the second impression, or the third or fourth. These are the impressions where you really get to know the content of someone’s character. First off, not everyone makes the best impression. Some of us are introverts and shy away from large groups; while others of us don’t have an opinion/ lack of information on the subject matter of the conversation so we stand on the fringe of the group looking awkward. Secondly, the person might just be having a bad day and thus in an instant you gather the wrong opinion about them. I like to say that 83.3% of the time my first impressions are correct, but I also tend to be more of an observer when it comes to first meeting someone. I gather my opinion on you, based on the way you treat and talk about others. However, I will say that I have been pleasantly surprised. I guess I want them to know to trust their gut (just like Colbert), but be willing to change their opinion.
2. Whatever you say about someone else, they are saying something even worse about you.
- Being a girl can be rough, even in college people will still gossip. People you think you can trust will tell your personal information to people who you would never share this information to. 1. I want my children to be like a girl in my program, who has never uttered a negative word about anyone. I want them to keep their opinions to themselves, and not be like their hot-headed mother. 2. I don’t want them to let gossip get to them, the way it bothers me. My friend and I discussed this last night and she said, “I think the best way to think about it though is to not take anything too seriously, it really doesn’t matter what people say anyway, and think of it as flattering that they want to pay attention to your life… it means its more interesting than theirs!” I love the optimism.
- It’s not about being the most well liked, it about being like by everyone. It’s not about being everyone’s best friend, it’s about having everyone only think nice things about you. It’s about showing everyone respect, and getting that respect back. I struggle with the thought of people not liking me. I think everyone does. While they may not like you, they probably just don’t know you.
4. Learn to say yes more
- You miss out on so many experiences by saying no. Being cautious is good, but learning to be adventurous is even better.
5. Listen to your Mother … or should I say Grandmother
- I should let the world know that my mom is the wisest woman on the planet. Yes that is right, the planet. She has taught me not only the basics like bunny-ear tying my shoes, how to make chicken noodle soup, but she has also built the building blocks of my character. I discovered this when talking to a girl on my program about why/how I could be so disciplined with my work. Even when it wasn’t exam time, I was staying in and doing my homework. This to a lot of people here is strange because all they want to do is go out. I have a good work ethic because my mother instilled in me the phrase “Be disciplined, you must be disciplined.” This plays over and over in my head when I start slacking off. More than just my work ethic she has taught me that killing someone with kindness and good manners are always the way to go. I hope that I can one day guide my children to have a great character just like my mother.
6. Nothing is handed to you, you must work for it.
- I come from an instant gratification generation, where we feel entitled to just about everything. What I have learned about Michigan, is that you have to work for everything. Yes, there are some students whose parents have connections just about everywhere. But what feels better in a job interview saying “oh my dad’s friend helped me” or “I reached out to them on my own.” I’ve never believed in short cuts. I’ve been blessed with a mother in business, who can look over my resume and cover letter for me, and can help me practice for my interviews. But all of the footwork I do on my own. I want my children to work hard for the things they want, because it is so much more rewarding when you do it on your own.
7. Life isn’t fair, stop whining this isn’t a new revelation.
- I’ve never known life to be fair. For example, I applied for a job at my University but they were looking at work-study students first (those who get scholarship but they need to work for a university department). Even though I was very qualified for the job, I knew I wasn’t going to get it. Someone asked me if that made me upset, that someone possibly less qualified would be getting the job over me. In all honesty I didn’t mind too much. Someone less qualified than you, will always seem to get things handed to them. You can’t let this get you down, you just have to keep working your way through it.
8. YOLO (you only life once)
- Do what you love. Don’t forget about your childhood dreams. In America, anything is achievable.
- Almost finishing exams
- Cool weather
- The apartment to myself
- 14 more days of work
- The heat