Think back through your years in school. Who can you say is your favorite teacher? Now, as good as that teacher may be, does he or she compare to your kindergarten teacher?
Kindergarten is your first real year of school. What you learn there affects how you live the rest of your life.
I’ve been thinking about my educational roots as professors have been assigning piles of homework, and justify it by reminding you that they finally know your name.
College is difficult and stressful. You stay up ridiculously late. You study books in six different subjects. And, you tend to eat food that isn’t very good for you.
These crazy things we do to survive school and ease ourselves into the real world go against everything we were taught during that tender age of six.
My kindergarten classroom had a calendar with every day of the week on it in bold, colorful lettering. Each day had a Velcro sticker that said what we were scheduled to do. Monday was art, Tuesday was music, Thursday was computer class and Friday was gym.
Nowadays, college kids have scheduled weekdays for partying, and they wake up the next day not remembering anything that happened. If you don’t fall into some type of stable routine, you will definitely slip up when it comes time for your academics.
The simplest lessons are the ones that can transfer to our lives today. In college, we tend to over-complicate things. We shouldn’t be afraid to try new things and join that club. Yet, we constantly worry about what others will think about us if we decide to sign up.
We should interact with our classmates and try to make new friends on campus. Yet, we are afraid of rejection if we smile and wave to someone new while walking to class.
I remember going to work with my mother during a holiday break. She is a yard monitor during recess at my old grade school.
After her shift, we went and peeked into my old kindergarten room just to see what it looked like. There were so many colors and posters that I got distracted just standing there. I couldn’t imagine being a 6 year old attempting to learn numbers.
I then spotted my kindergarten teacher’s old rocking chair. Mrs. Whittaker would sit there and read us stories with simple morals. But, the most important thing she ever taught me did not come from a storybook. She said, “Sometimes you just have to go like this,” and then she took her palm and slapped her forehead with it.
She had forgotten her storybook with the little moral in it at home that day, and yet her action of slapping her hand on her head was the only lesson I needed.
If things are getting rough at any point in your life, know that you can’t remember everything. Sometimes, you will slip up. You can’t control every situation and sometimes you just have to slap your forehead and move on.
Do not forget the simplest lessons of playing nice, being organized and making a new friend. My best friend from kindergarten is someone I still call yearly to wish “happy birthday.”
So when your significant other in college is controlling or infuriating, dump him or her after the recess wedding just like in kindergarten. When you are hurriedly trying to schedule your time, make a colorful chart with big bold names of the days, and write down what tests and homework you have to do. Treat everyone you see like it was kindergarten all over again.
If we can retain just a little of the innocence and simple lessons we learned in grade school, maybe we could be kinder and more self-reliant college students.