Going in to my final year of college, I started thinking about what I would have liked to have known before I went to college. The past three years of my college career have been great, not bad at all, to say the least. But if I had known a few things first, it definitely would have been even better. So, here’s some advice to you, ladies, who just graduated high school and are getting ready to start a new chapter of your life.
You won’t regret a single second of any of it.
1. Don’t let your high school “sweetheart” hold you back from anything.
If you have a high school sweetheart, who’s planning to stick with you after graduation, even if they also graduated or not, then congrats. Kudos to you. I genuinely hope it works out. On the other hand, if it doesn’t work out, things start to get a little rough, or you’re the one that graduated and your “true love” is staying behind still in high school, going to a different college, joining the military, or starting that working life, just promise me you won’t let them hold you back.
First-hand experience talking here, I graduated high school with a boyfriend who was staying behind to finish out three more years of high school. My college was an hour away, I went home every weekend just to see him, and didn’t take advantage of making friends, joining clubs and organizations, or really going out and getting to know anyone at college. Spring of my sophomore year, it ended. All that time was lost. Thankfully, now I have someone much better.
Needless to say, don’t let anyone, or anything, keep you from fully experiencing college.
2. Your freshman year roommate should become one of your very best friends.
Again, I partially missed out on this experience due to all the issues and drama with lovely number one up above. Sure I hung out with my roommate during our “New Student Week” activities, but my mind was always elsewhere. We were mere acquaintances, nothing more. Most of the time I would just eat and study alone. So not fun.
So, whenever you want to do something, right from the start ask your roommate to tag along. Go get lunch or dinner, walk around campus, try and tackle your first college party together, study together. Literally, SERIOUSLY, do everything together.
Granted, that you two actually do get along well enough to do so.
And if you do, this might end up being one of your best and lifelong friends.
3. If you want to do something, join something, go somewhere, anything! Then do it.
You’ll kick yourself over and over if you wait to join any club or organization, don’t go to that party you kept hearing about, don’t hang out with a new friend when they ask, or don’t have that lunch/dinner or study date like you were really wanting to. These are some of the things that you’ll only get the opportunity to experience while you’re in college. And again, you might make some of your best and lifelong friends by doing this.
I always wanted to join a sorority since my freshman year, but due to all those other circumstances, I didn’t get to do it until the spring of my sophomore year. In which I had one choice, one sorority, the one that I thought I really wanted. Not doing formal recruitment, I missed out on finding that one place that was a really good fit for me. I quit the sorority fall of my junior year, for a number of reasons. I believe if I had joined sooner, went through the formal recruitment, and all that jazz, then I would have found the place for me, and gained some “sisters” too.
There are also other organizations that I wish I would have gotten involved with sooner.
Don’t delay, at all. Not one second.
4. If your schedule allows, find an on or off campus job that provides you with professional experience or just some extra spending money.
Work study has been one of the greatest things ever awarded to me. But even if you don’t have work study, federal or non-federal, finding an off campus job (internships, internships, INTERNSHIPS!) can be equally as great and rewarding. Finding the right job is also an absolute must as well. A job will help you define your professional career, or even just be a place where you have a great group of friends and make some cash along the way. The less stressful, the better, since you’ll have enough of that with learning how college works in the first place.
My freshman year, my first job was as a “Student Technology Assistant”, sounds really nerdy, right? Well, basically I sat in the basement of one of the buildings on campus and did homework. Occasionally I would get a call into the “help line”, for a professor needing assistance with classroom equipment, or I would go clean projectors, or help set up equipment for a campus event. Needless to say I found it quite boring for my tastes, and I wasn’t really close with any of my co-workers.
I worked there for a semester, and then I found the job I have now. My current job is a great place to be at; rewarding, fun, I’m gaining professional experience (and possibly a job offer after graduation!), and I have met some of my best friends through this job. It was so worth it to switch.
5. This is truly your time to shine and you should own every second of it.
Going to college is a lot like having the chance to start your life over. Nobody cares what you did and who you were in high school. Everybody knows nothing about you until you share it with them. You can be anything you want and whoever you want to be. You’re not defined by what you decide to study, who you hang out with, what classes you’re in, nothing. It’s all up to you.
Feel free to be yourself, be anything you want to be. I know that sounds cheesy, but it’s for real, so just take the advice, and make some memories with it. Again, you won’t regret any of it.
While I personally may have missed out on some of these things, I still wouldn’t change anything about my college career. I love my what I’m studying (I’m a double major), I love my job, I love my friends, and I love my school. I have great classes and wonderful professors. I’ve studied abroad, tried new things, and continue to learn more and more about myself each and every day. My family has watched me grow and develop into a strong woman ready to take on the professional world after college. I found a boyfriend who supports me in everything I do, and doesn’t try to hold me back from doing whatever I set my mind to. My college experience wasn’t typical, or traditional, to say the least, but it was still worth every second. I hope my advice prepares all you young ladies reading this to take on college whole-heartedly, and take advantage of every opportunity you are given.
I can’t say it enough, you really won’t regret it!