1. Patience is a thing you never knew you’d need so much of.
But it will pay off. Nothing is certain — not for anyone. Nobody knows what job or internship they’re going to get, or where they’ll end up living.
I know it feels like everything has to get figured out at this exact moment, but it doesn’t. Some internships do rolling admission, which means that you can apply anytime. It’s helpful to research your options so you can be ahead when it’s time to apply. But don’t stress out too much, just take it day by day.
2. Life starts getting increasingly more expensive from here on out.
When I was in high school, I would always say, “I could never work in a restaurant, it’s so hard.” … Now I work four days a week at a local restaurant and guess what, it’s not that hard. You get the hang of it pretty quickly. Trust me, you’ll be needing the extra money for interview clothes and your last bar tabs in your college town and train tickets to interviews if you’re lucky enough to get them.
3. You have to start dressing (and acting) your age — or suffer the consequences.
At work or at school, you should try to at least look appropriate. The reality of it is that you’re not going to nail an interview or impress an employer or be considered a serious student if you are still dressing like you’re 12, or worse, like you just stumbled out of the club. At the end of the day, you can wear what you want, sure, but you’ll also have to deal with the consequences of that.
4. The gym is your new friend.
All those beers and cheese fries eventually have to land somewhere… and that somewhere is usually your ass. So get it to the gym. (Easier said than done right?) College is stressful, with classes, work, and keeping up your appearances. Working out is a great way to relieve stress, and it helps that it keeps your weight in check, am I right? Two for one deal. Just start now. Don’t make excuses.
5. There will always be difficult people in your life.
You think that once you leave your hometown, all the stupid and annoying people disappear? Nope, you’ll just have new ones at college. I know what you’re thinking, it’s not high school anymore, so you’ll be fine. While that may be true, these people will still come into your life. When you get a job or internship, you have to act professional, and you must know how to deal with people efficiently.
6. You have to educate yourself outside of the classroom.
I hate having class discussions where another student talks about something in the news or happening in the celebrity world, and they are wrong, just flat out incorrect on the facts. Knowing what is going on in the world outside of college is very important. Watching the news, or reading the paper every once in a while won’t kill you. If you’re going to debate with someone, at least have it right. It’s a great skill to be knowledgeable about world news, and something you should pick up on as soon as possible.
7. Being confused isn’t just okay — it’s expected.
No one honestly knows what their lives will become, and if anyone tells you that they aren’t confused about their future, they’re lying. Even as I get ready to graduate, I’m not completely sure what it is I want to do. It’s okay to try out different options, and if you don’t like one, that’s okay too. Interning is great because it gives you the chance to try out the job you may want. Don’t stress yourself out over being unsure, you’re allowed to be confused.
8. Losing friends is not as bad as it seems.
I had the same group of friends from high school to college, and now that everyone is graduating and moving away, some of us have lost touch. The people who are important will always be there, but sometimes, people won’t be there anymore. You’re busy with class, they have work, it happens. It’s okay to keep your memories of the person, but it’s also okay to say it’s time to stop trying. You can only reach out to someone so much, when they don’t reciprocate, it hurts. As hard as it seems, you’ll make new friends. Just keep those that truly matter to you and who make you a better person.
9. You have to enjoy the time you have. There isn’t much left.
If you’re getting ready to graduate and leave your college town, this is important. While school is the priority, you have got to have some fun. This is the last acceptable time for you to be partying on the weeknights and staying out until the sun comes up. Make some memories and then prepare to move on. The next page of your story is about to begin.