As it’s finals week and I’m busy finishing up the year, I’ve decided that I’m going to make a list of the things I have learned in college. I’ve learned a lot, and I’d like to share some of it with you.
1. Age/grade doesn’t really matter anymore
This is a wonderful fact. Get on it as soon as possible. Don’t take it as my okay to attempt to hook up with that cute guy over there, but as an opportunity to expand your horizons and friend group beyond your grade level. Trust me: college is a whole new playing field, and the petty groups of high school are (or at least, should be) no longer. You are no longer contained to your graduating class, so get excited to make lots of friends. 🙂
2. Class time matters.
If you go to a private school like mine, you pay about $400 a class. Go to class: it helps you get into a routine, learn the information firsthand for when you have things like tests, and just be a better person and student. College is a school, after all.
3. Procrastination is a choice
If you decide to put something off, you’ve decided to do that – just as much as if you’ve decided to do it right away. I suggest doing the latter as much as possible.
4. The freshman 15 challenge is real.
Get a scale (so you can track how much weight you don’t want to gain), and make an effort towards physical exercise. Trust me: you don’t think you can gain 15 pounds until you do. Tip: Teamwork makes the dreamwork. Work out with friends.
5. Amazon and slugbooks.com are God’s gifts to the college student
On Amazon, get all your cheap stuff like all. those. books. for those literature classes. On Slug Books, find the best places to buy/rent your textbooks that you’ll need for the more advanced classes. By and large, though, you won’t want to rent from your school’s bookstore – it’s much cheaper to buy on Amazon or find on Slug Books.
6. Naps were meant to be taken
If you are tired, need a break, whatever… find your happy place. Take a nap.
7. You make your own choices
Your parents aren’t around to tell you what to do anymore. Obviously. So, for better or for worse, you have to make these rules for yourself. Chose wisely, you’ll probably thank yourself for a good balance later. Just because you tell yourself that you’ll have a curfew of midnight doesn’t mean you’re not going to have any fun. You have to understand that you’re going to make your own choices, and those choices should suit you and your lifestyle goal. If you want to make a habit out of getting wasted on weekdays, your choices and lifestyle will reflect that. If you decide to be different and turn down a couple invitations, that’s your choice – and again, your lifestyle will reflect that.
8. Your college experience is determined by the choices you make
This is a biggie. The choices in friends, the choices in work ethic, the choices of time management – they all determine your college experience. Make good choices, and your time will be wonderful. Make not-so-good ones, and you can end up regretting some of those things that you thought were great at the moment.
9. An all-nighter does not equate to work being done all night
I don’t pull all nighters, but when I almost do, I do homework for about four of the six extra hours I’m up. Maybe. Be smart – don’t make those choices. And when you do have to pull an all-nighter or something similar, take out all distractions.
10. Finding a stress reliever – something or someone that will help you get the stress out – is important
Journal. Talk it out. Exercise. Find a friend. All of the above. Find something that will relieve stress – because you’re going to have a lot of it, and it’s important that you find the right ways to process it.
11. Be friends with everyone. Especially people in higher places.
I’m not trying to say everyone is going to be your best friend and you’re always going to be buddy-buddy with them. But relationship and conversational skills are important, and can help you out when you need it. Making friends with a lot of people can turn out to be useful later. When you are friends with people of higher rank, they can advocate for you. Besides, being a nice person really has no downside.
12. High school friends fade out of the picture
Sorry to break it to you, but your high school friendships aren’t going to stay as strong as you probably have hoped. Your daily FaceTimes will turn to weekly ones, and those weekly ones are going to turn into text exchanges every now and then, which will turn into meeting up once in a while on breaks when you get the chance. You’ll still be friends, but you and your friends will change significantly during college – your relationships will reflect that.
13. You can’t do everything, so don’t try to!
I think this is one of the biggest mistakes that freshmen make. College is new and exciting, for sure – but you have four years to do it all. So many people try to do everything: watch movies, stay up late, hang out with all these new friends, do well in school, get off campus – within the first few weeks that they have no time to themselves. It’s all gone. Well folks, I’m here to tell you that you do not, in fact, have to do everything. You also have four years. Your friends are in school as well – they should understand if you say no once in a while.
14. When you working hard and/or stressed, take a break. You will get it done.
But only when you’ve been working hard and/or are stressed. Breaks whenever are wasting time, breaks when you’ve been going hard are constructive.
15. Nobody cares what you’re wearing at 8AM.
8AMs shouldn’t need much more than a 20 minute preparation time period. Well, maybe you have to shower. Then you might want to wake up a little earlier. The point is, at 8AM, the people there aren’t awake enough to hate on what you look like or what you’re wearing. Waking up at 6:30 is just not necessary. Take advantage of the fact that you don’t have to wake up the same time you had to for high school!
16. Make commitments priorities
This can be accomplished through using your calendar on your phone, planner, wall, whiteboard, whatever. The point is, when you say you’re going to do something, make sure you are able to do it – if you’re not sure, let the person know. Not only does this earns you trust and respect from others, it is a good life skill.
17. You will find your caffeine outlet by finals week.
I came to esspresso during finals week of my first semester, when I had nothing else to turn to after I hit rock bottom, coffee brought me to where I am today. (Kidding. Jesus does that.) Whether it be coffee, diet Coke, really strong tea: a jolt is necessary for the average student to take them to their next level.
18. Finally: time flies. Treasure each moment. I don’t think you will truly understand this until you’ve experienced it firsthand for a few months, but time just goes by so fast it’s unbelievable. I can hardly believe that it’s May of 2014, I’m almost a sophomore – it all ends in two days. Time does things to you, so make the most of it.