Today is exactly one year since I graduated from college. This year has had its up and downs but I wouldn’t change it for the world. This post has been in my drafts for a while but I felt that TODAY was the best day to finally post it.
When I graduated from high school I had a plan. I was going to college, I was going to make life long friends and I was going to get a great education. All of those I accomplished but there was a lot that I wasn’t prepared for. Thus the idea for this post came along.
*Disclaimer: Even though I may mention some harsh realities about my college experience and my school as a whole, college is a very good and important investment and I wouldn’t change my four years of college for the world.
I was a rather sheltered child. I was never really exposed to sex or dating. I had an eight pm bedtime until I was seventeen years old and my grandmother made my lunch almost every single day for four years. So needless to say going off to college gave me a tad bit of culture shock.
Freshman year definitely set the path for the rest of my time in college. With that I also went through a lot of challenges along the way. College is a once in a lifetime experience that I feel like everyone should have.
Below are 10 things that I wish I knew while I was in college
10. Make friends but don’t expect them to be there forever
I learned this the hard way. When I started college my roommate was my best friend from high school and I knew two other girls that went there. I befriended a girl was in my orientation class and we instantly hit it off. We ended being inseparable. She introduced me to so many great people, some of them I am still friends with today. Unfortunately this great friend left after fall semester and I was DEVASTATED! We had formed a bond and suddenly she was gone. While she left for good and reasonable reasons but it was hard for me.
What I learned was that you shouldn’t put all of your eggs in one basket. While there are lots of opportunities to make friends in college, people transfer elsewhere each semester. Meaning you should make the most of the time you have with the people that you meet in college.
9. You don’t have to have a complete plan on what classes you’re going to take or what you’re going to major in
I knew that I wanted to be a communication major when I first started college. That’s ok, but what wasn’t ok was the fact that I picked the exact classes that I wanted to take for four years. On top of that I rarely went against that list. In the beginning it seemed like a great idea but looking back I feel like it seriously effected my opportunities to take different courses. I wish I would have taken other courses. I realize now that it is good to be prepared and have an idea of what courses you might want to take but you should at least give yourself a little wiggle room.
8. Even if you don’t feel like it, go to school events
A lot of times when you start college you can get caught up in assignments, readings and other work that you forget that you’re supposed to have fun while you’re in college. Most colleges and universities have planned events on campus. For example, at my school there was a group that was in charge of putting on events during the semester. I was lucky enough to have a job like that and I got to meet so many new people and do so many great different things during my senior year.
However that wasn’t the case during my freshman year. When I was a freshman I hardly went to any campus events. I mostly stayed in my room and hung out with my roommate. The only time I went to events is when my other friends practically dragged me out of my dorm. Thus I missed out on a lot of fun opportunities to meet new people and make friends.
By my sophomore year, I participated in school activities and got out of my room more. So to all you freshman or soon to be college freshman, get out there and go to those school events even if they seem a little lame.
7. Office hours are your friend
On the very first day of classes when the professor passes out the class syllabus you can do one of three things. 1. Throw it away and forget about it all together. 2. Shove it in your backpack only to desperately search for it when you need during the last week of the semester. or 3. Read it, study it and guard it with your life. I recommend the latter. In the syllabus is listed what most professors calls office hours. Office hours are certain times during the week that a professor is free to help students with questions about assignments and help with other academic things. I didn’t take advantage of office hours until my junior year. I feel as though I missed out on some valuable help from my professors. Therefore I urge all college students and soon to be college students to use professors as a resource in your education. They get paid to teach so you might as well get some help while you can.
6. Raid is a necessity
Whether you live in campus housing that is brand new or really old. You are bound to have some bugs pop up in your room. Through out the four years that I lived on campus I had my fair share of run ins with unwelcome critters in my dorm room. Spiders, waterbugss, ants, silver fish and of course ROACHES!! When I saw one for the first time I was petrified. I am not a bug person at all and when it comes to roaches I can’t handle it. After my first encounter during my freshman year I learned Raid is the best defense against all college dorm critters. In particular, I would recommend the lemon scented one. The lemon scented one smells kind of like air freshener and if you dislike bugs you may end up spraying a lot of it.
5. It’s important to talk to your family at least once a week
My college was only about thirty minutes away from my house, so I wasn’t super far away from home. During my years on campus I was always busy doing something. Even though I had a lot going on, I did make sure that I called home a couple of times a week. It is important to keep your family up to date on at least some of the things you have going on. Call home is also a good way to de-stress and get some extra support.
4. If you don’t look really nice every time you go to class it’s ok
One myth that is shown in all films and television shows is that college kids dress really nice when going to class. That is partially true for the first day of classes but after that everyone usually dresses in whatever is most comfortable. I usually included going to the computer lab or library in my daily schedule. So for the most of college my wardrobe consisted of leggings and joggers. As time went on I was more concerned with how comfortable I felt rather than how cute my outfit was. However I do think it is important to at least look presentable. You never know who may be siting in or visiting your class on a given day, so it’s important to not look like you just rolled out of bed.
3. Talking photos is very important
I cannot stress how important it is to take photos in college. There are many fun and not fun memories to be made in college. Unfortunately you may not be able to remember them. Talking photos are a great way to keep lasting memories of your college years.
2. The friendships you will have will last a life time
I know I mentioned friends before and the fact that not all friendships last forever, but if you’re lucky that might not be the case. While I lost some friends during my time in college, a few of those friendships did stick. When you’re in college, especially in the beginning it’s important to have a support system of some kind. Having friends to study with and vent to over crapy assignments will make your time in college better. It always was nice to have at least one friend who knew the struggle of having a crappy professor or troubles with procrastination.
- You only get one undergraduate experience
If I could restart my undergrad experience I would in a heartbeat. I loved the fun activities I got to experience. I had opportunities that I never dreamed of having. I met some of the most interesting people and made friendships that I would trade for the world. Class assignments, group projects and long papers will come and go but memories last forever.
I could probably make this list so much longer but I stuck with the ten that I felt were most important. I hope these will be useful for anyone who is about to go to college or even in college right now.
Stay tuned, for better things have yet to be written. xx CG