Before going away to college for the first time, I did a few things: panic, read articles and stories about college, panic, shop A LOT, and again—panic.
That was a little over a year ago. If I could go back, I honestly don’t think I would change anything. Instead, I would give myself some pointers and words of advice that I didn’t see in any of the articles, movies, or television shows that I mindlessly consumed in search of answers. Real advice that doesn’t have to do with decorating a dorm room or dealing with greek life.
1. Invest in some waterproof mascara, you’ll need it.
You love doing your makeup and one of your favorite things is how big mascara makes your eyes look from behind your glasses. You know what sucks, though? When those big, brown eyes of yours give way to waterfall-esque tears, and you look like you could give Lauren Conrad circa The Hills a run for her tear-stained money. Whether you’re sweating or crying (you’ll do a lot of both!) you’ll be thankful that you don’t always look like it.
2. Repeat after me: It is okay to cry.
Cry in public; cry in private; cry in the shower; cry on a friend’s shoulder; cry in bed; cry outside a frat party (actually, please don’t); cry in the basement of the library. You grew up thinking of tears as a sign of defeat, but you were wrong. Even the strongest people cry, but they move on and so should you! Never cry over the same thing twice and if you do, whether those tears are over a person, place, or thing, K-Camp said it best—”It don’t take nothing to cut that ____ off.” You’ll be happier and healthier, trust me!
3. Not everyone is meant to be your friend, but the people who are…
You won’t be able to get rid of them. College is weird in so many ways, and I’ll admit that it’s very comforting to assume that every friendly face, awkward hello, or random lunch date could be another friend to add to your list, but chances are—they aren’t.
Friendship becomes more complex the older you get. We all have different things we care about, and sometimes those things don’t overlap. That being said, acquaintances exist, your true friends will make time, and your OG home squad may dwindle, but your true friends will always remain. Remember, “People come into your life for a reason, season, or lifetime.”
4. LEARN. HOW. TO. BUDGET.
This goes for both time and money. Like The Giving Tree, the Bank of Mom and Dad will only be so generous for so long. Going out clothes, endless new makeup, and late night bites are all fun indulgences. But, it’s called “treating yourself” for a reason. If splurges start to become more standard and less random, it is safe to assume that these aren’t treats anymore, just wastes of money.
As for time, you can’t nap away your problems (I know because I’ve tried). Keep up the morning meditation and pay attention to your body. Your life should not feel like it is always about to end and your concealer was expensive — so stop stressing so much! If 24 hours in a day are not enough for you, it’s time to give something up and prioritize.
5. “No is a complete sentence.”
This has become one of my daily mantras. Stop explaining yourself! Stop saying yes to everything! You talk a lot, and waste words on people who don’t deserve them. Some things are better left unsaid and other things are better said concisely.
6. You’re right; feelings suck.
People tend to suck (yourself included), life sucks… except when it doesn’t! Now get over it! Focus on yourself, your writing, your friends, and your schoolwork. Boys are just that, boys. Wait to have feelings in 10 years when you’re closer to being 30, flirty, and thriving. Now is the time to “do you” without any rules. What could you possibly have to complain about?
7. Get more involved on campus!
I get it, you were super involved in high school and now have no desire to join a club or sport for the rest of your life… BUT! One of the best ways to meet new people and form long-lasting bonds (outside of a frat basement) is by joining clubs, sports, and campus organizations. If you really hate it, you can always just quit.
College is a time of immense learning, growth, and for most of us, our first tastes of true independence. Have fun, but don’t burn yourself out. Freshman year rocks! If it doesn’t, there’s always sophomore, junior, and senior years.