No matter how many advice articles you read or stories you hear, college won’t be exactly what you expect. Each person experiences it their OWN way. You're going to learn new things, make new friends and find out who you are as a person. My college experience was everything I hoped for and more but that's not to say there were a few things I wish I would have done differently, so I thought I would pass down a little wisdom:
1. Join as many clubs as possible
My four years were spent at small, private university. There were many clubs and activities I could have joined to make myself feel more connected with my classmates. We struggled getting people involved. So step up to the plate and take charge. If you’re really interested in a specific club be the leader that turns it into something great.
2. Try things you've never done before (within reason of course)
Your school’s offering discounted tickets to go ziplining...underground?! DO IT. Jump on all those opportunities. If you chose to go to college in a new city explore everything it has to offer. Free museums, sporting events, art shows, etc. Get cultured!
3. The sooner you realize NO one cares what you do the BETTER
This one I wish I would have realized sooner. Being at a small school it felt like everyone knew everyone's business. But in the grand scheme of things. Who cares? Do what makes you happy. “Reputations” are for high school. Leave them there.
4. Cafeteria food will come back and haunt you
It may seem like a good idea to eat ice cream for lunch...because well you can. But low and behold it will bite you in the butt (freshman...hmm five?).
5. Friendships will fade
Don't get too caught up in how many friends you have. As the saying goes “quality over quantity”. Quality friendships last even after the studying stops. Look for those girlfriends who will be there for you through all the ups and downs college brings (breakups, bad grades, snow days…you name it).
6. Become friends with your teachers
If you think it's lame to be friends with your teachers trust me….it pays off tenfold in the end. It wasn’t until my senior year that I actually made a point to have one-on-one conversations with professors I admired or thought would have good insights. Yes at first it was a little intimidating but those relationships grew and they became references I have used for job applications.
7. Frequently schedule time at the Career Center...JUST DO IT
College is all about balance. When I was freshman landing a full-time job was the last thing on my mind but it's never too early to start planning your future. Schedule frequent trips to your career advisors office to make sure you’re staying on track.
8. Boys will come and go
People tend to put a lot of pressure on dating in college and frankly, there’s not point to fret. A lot of guys in college aren’t in the mentality of finding a serious relationship. So when a guy starts “ghosting” your best friend the best advice you can give her is “on to the next one”. Enjoy it while you can, dating just gets harder after college (yay)!
9. Stay on campus as long as you can
Moving off campus might sound like a good idea but it comes with a lot of adult responsibilities...like bills and adult neighbors who get upset at the slightest bit of noise (I’m talking to you wiener dog couple). Once I moved off campus I felt more disconnected from everything at school. It was harder to meet new people since I wasn’t at the dining hall or in the dorms at all times.
10. HAVE FUN
Last but not least don’t take anything too serious. Your grades are important but so is staying up a little too late bonding with your roomie over a favorite TV show. It’s all about balance but once you get the hang of it, it will be the best four years of your life.