There are certain moments in life that make you examine what a worthless human being you are.
Example: One time my junior year, after nauseously weighing the pros and cons of what would be a future terrible decision, my near-blackout self decided to throw up in my own bed.
Why did I decide that this course of action would be best in terms of maximizing my personal utility? I have no clue. All I know is that if my parents ever read this, they’ll know that the random bed sheets charged to the credit card the following afternoon weren’t because I donated my former bed sheets to a homeless shelter. RIP 350 thread count bed sheets. Also, RIP laundry basket. Different occasion.
Other moments in life make you realize that you aren’t as pathetic as you think you are.
Example 1: A couple weeks ago, the seventh-grade girl I tutor, who had previously been making D’s, called me to tell me me that she was now getting an A in math. Joy didn’t even come close to describing how I felt when I hung up the phone.
Example 2: Beach weekend for my sorority this past fall, I decided to wear a party hat all weekend because, well, I was partying all weekend and it seemed appropriate. The restaurant we went to that evening assumed it was my birthday and gave me a free piece of chocolate cake. Holler. For. A. Dollar.
I think it is the fusion of these two types of moments””screwing up and soaring high””that have made my college experience the positive experience that it was. I wouldn’t want it any other way. My screw-ups along with my successes have made me who I am.
And frankly, to the people who are badasses all the time, every night when I say my prayers I reserve a special ten seconds for you, hoping that you get an unmanageable bloody nose at a crowded Chili’s or something. (Okay, maybe I don’t actually pray for that to happen to you”¦ but whenever I’m in a situation where I don’t have 4G Internet access, I fanatasize about your public humiliation.)
You gotta screw up sometimes. The mistakes we make (as long as you can learn from them and *partially* recover from them) are what make us interesting “” and they’re the things that make us find out who we are. Also, screwing up is the only way to enlarge your bank of funny stories.
I’m only 22, so I can’t say I’ve discovered the key to a happy life. However, college has taught me that balance must be part of it. Balance work and play. Balance being social and being alone. Balance speaking and listening. Balance long runs and long blackouts. Balance making others happy and making yourself happy. Work hard, play hard, own up to the mistakes you’ll inevitably make and have fun. You’re in college once. Find out who you are and live those four years with no regrets.
Claire Hoffmann is graduating with a degree in economics.