I went to (and still go to) a conservative Christian university for college. Even though I only was on campus for a year, it taught me so much about life and how to survive in adult life.
College is one of the most fun, most frustrating, and most incredible experiences in life, because you learn so much about how to actually exist in the real world. You have roommates, you choose your schedule, and you have the choice to make your time there good or bad. For the most part, it’s all on you.
Over the past four years of balancing school and life, I’ve learned 6 key things that I wish I had known before I went away to college.
1. Always do the assigned reading
I failed at this miserably. I jacked this up and ended up having to fumble my way through many different papers, quizzes, tests, and homework assignments. The assigned reading may look daunting and cumbersome, but the content usually is worth reading when it comes to your major.
2. Don’t spend your graduation money all in the first semester
Yep, I did that. And I called mom for a LOT of help. Let it build interest in a high-yield savings account from your bank or credit union and live by the meal plan
3. Don’t get a job on campus (or off campus) your first semester
Yep, I did that too. I ended up leaving myself no time for school and didn’t get to sleep much. Wait until second semester, when you know what kind of job you’ll be looking for, and try to plan your schedule with the job in mind.
4. Join clubs/organizations/groups/etc. to get involved
You get out what you put in. So don’t be unsocial. Go and join an organization that fits who you are. If that’s Greek life, then go for it. If it’s RUF/Cru/IV, then go for it. Get into a group you can identify with and really work hard at giving your best to it so you can enjoy your time at college.
5. Don’t go home to visit until fall break
I’ve already had students and friends tell me that I’m an idiot because of this advice. If you’re going to really enjoy your college experience, then you need to actually be at college to experience it. I did this all wrong, and I don’t want anyone to make the same mistakes I did. Fall break is placed perfectly in the semester so that you can be at school for 6-8 weeks, then come home for a few days.
6. Don’t go to college having a significant other
Once again, I failed at this. Having a girlfriend, for me, kept me from building and investing in new friendships. I squandered my first two semesters by going home every other weekend and not getting plugged in on campus because I had a girlfriend. Every situation is different, but that’s just my advice.
Seniors, as you graduate and get ready to transition into your new life as a freshman, remember to get involved on campus. If you do nothing else, just get involved. Love your time at your school and be that obnoxious person who can’t help but sing the praises of your future alma mater.
And always remember that you’re not alone. You have a great support system back home to vent to, cry to, laugh with, process with, and everything else that you may need.
I mean this with all of my heart: if you need anything at all, I would be glad to help. I would love to help you succeed and move forward as you pursue higher education. Don’t hesitate to contact me via social media, email, and (if you have my number) calling & texting.
College can be the best years of your life. So go and make sure that they actually are.
What was your fondest memory of school (high school/undergrad/grad school)?