10. Get INVOLVED and get yourself out there
There is nothing more impressive than having achievements to put on your resume. More amazing than that, it’s absolutely ESSENTIAL to make connections with all sorts of folk (Professors, Bosses, other students in your field of interest, etc.). The more you do, the more successful you’ll be. Don’t stress yourself out though and do too much; one cannot afford to feel weary during college. Pick and choose exactly what you want to do, and make sure you make a positive impression on those around you.
9. Take a class or two for fun
You may think it’s crazy or just a waste of money, but I cannot emphasize how important this is to your mental health. I took two random classes my junior year “just for fun,” and I gained far more than I ever imagined. You may make an unexpected friend, find a different passion, or even completely change your degree. If you don’t have any reasons to say “no” to the course, then why not try it?
8. Take advantage of the different types of living situations
I have lived in all sorts of places: renovated dorm, run-down dorm, apartment, sorority house, and an 800 year old top floor apartment in Italy. Not only will you learn to appreciate what you have, you learn to make do with what you don’t have. You will learn a lot about yourself and how to work with others on a different level. Even if one situation doesn’t work out the way you think it will, you will appreciate each experience. Sometimes you just have to make the best of it.
7. Be careful how you spend your money
It’s extremely easy to not properly manage your money in college. Many people tend to overspend on food, soda, alcohol, or shopping. You may even need more than one job to make ends meet. If anything, remember that every bit counts in saving AND spending. Think twice before buying a soda or a pair of desirable shoes, and keep in mind your future and where you really want your money to be spent.
6. Don’t be afraid to join Greek life, and don’t be afraid to quit either
I’m happy that I joined a sorority, but I’m also happy that I quit it too. Without a double, both decisions were the best for me. This goes for any extracurricular activity as well. I understand the idea of “quitting” has a negative implication, but sometimes it can be for the best, for your mental and emotional health. Also, keep in mind that you want to focus your time on activities that will benefit your post-graduate life/career. If an organization isn’t doing that for you, don’t be afraid to move on.
5. If you know what you want to do with your life, go at it in full force
If you know what you love, go do it. Get involved with the department, get a job related in that area, and work hard in your classes to prove your dedication. If you do these things, you will go far. If you still don’t know, YOU HAVE TIME. Analyze your skills and know WHERE you would like to end up, even if you don’t know WHAT to end up. You do have time to “explore” around in college with classes, but be careful not to go overboard. It costs a lot of money and time to complete a degree, and you don’t want to get behind.
4. Maintain your health and fitness
Although you should be doing this if you’re not in college, maintaining your health and fitness is absolutely essential. People talk about the “Freshman 15” and whatnot, but it’s REAL!! It happened to me, unfortunately, and it definitely was my fault. I wish I had gotten a grip on this earlier, however better late than never to turn your health around and change it for the best. Go to the gym 3-5 times a week, and be mindful of your food/drink intake. You are in the prime of your life, make your body feel the same way.
3. Don’t be afraid to try new things
You will be amazed and surprised how much you’ll enjoy something new. It’s important to veer outside your comfort zone because only then will you grow as a person and learn to appreciate the world around you. Some of these new things may become hobbies, passions, goals, or permanent pastimes. Don’t be afraid to try them alone, either. Buy that Groupon for boxing classes, go to that funky hole-in-the-wall restaurant, and take a dance class!
2. Study abroad
Oh my goodness; if you don’t study abroad, you are missing out on life. I cannot emphasize how incredible this experience was for me when I lived in Florence, Italy. I explored a new culture, met new friends (including my maid of honor), traveled all over Western Europe, and experienced moments that I will never forget. You will learn so much about yourself and the world around you. You won’t be the same person when you return to the United States, you will have changed for the better. Also, you will have amazing stories (like Oktoberfest in Munich or singing “Galway Girl” in an Irish Pub) that will always stay with you.
1. ENJOY EVERY SECOND
As what seems to be the trend in life, time flies. Especially in college. But seriously guys, enjoy it. Live your life. Get crazy drunk and survive to tell the tale(s). Explore your town and try every new restaurant. Laugh with your friends. Don’t severely stress out or let trivial things get to your head. Smile and be happy that you’re lucky to be receiving such high education. Challenge yourself and reap the benefits of success. Make new friends, and don’t thrive in petty drama. You get what you put in, so put it in with all your heart. And most importantly, enjoy every freaking second, because suddenly you’ll be graduating and wondering what the hell happened.