Wow. I really only have two nights left of summer. I truly can't believe how fast it went. Sure, I am ready to get back into the routine of school. I'm ready for some great upcoming events with friends. Am I completely ready to be a grown up after this year? That is yet to be determined.
However, today I was thinking about my past three years of college...the good times, the bad times, and all the times between...and thought it would be nice to share with the younger generations of college students what I have learned so far in my college career.
My first two years were spent at a school down South. 10 hours away from home is far. I didn't think it would be, but it was...and after a hard decision, I decided to transfer closer to home.
Transferring in itself gave me a hard fall semester last year. There were days I would just drop all my books and cry. I missed my friends, and warm weather. I hated walking to class in the snow, and I hated people asking me why I transferred.
It was hard to make new friends. My boyfriend Pat, had gone to the Air Force Academy in Colorado for a semester, so I hardly saw him...and I was just plain lonely. However, looking back on last year, I am so happy I transferred. Everything has fallen into place. My parents get visited by me more than they would like now, I have a townhouse with two other girls, Pat is only a 3.5 hour drive instead of a 10 hour drive...I like my professors (except my Biology advisor whom I hope reads this). Things just kind of fell into place regardless of my resistance to them.
Everything works out for a reason. Yet, there are some things I definitely wish I knew before I started my freshman year of college. So hopefully my list will help you newbies out.
1. No, not all of your clothes will fit in your dorm room. Under bed storage is awesome, but so is the mail. You can always take your clothes home and switch them out during breaks depending on what time of year it is. Or worse case scenario, have you family send you clothes when you need them.
2. You will get annoyed with your roommate, and they will get annoyed with you. Don't blow up at them. Don't gossip about them. Just discuss the issue, CALMLY. This is extremely hard to do.
3. It takes a while to develop strong friendships. They don't happen over night. Put yourself out there though, and you will make some great college friends.
4. Facebook is not real life. Sure, it's cool to check up on friends and post pictures...but it is not necessary to be on it 24/7. Your peers are right across the hall, visit with them instead. Don't live vicariously through a virtual reality.
5. Furthermore, don't judge others based on their Facebooks. My first roommate friended EVERYONE at my school before she got there. I would bring up someone that I met...and she already had her opinions of them based on what she saw.
6. Join groups. I don't care what. Join them. It's the best way to get to know people.
7. Time management is key. College isn't harder than high school, the work load is. In high school you have structure, your parents force you to do your homework, etc...just do your homework before you play. That way you have a lot more playtime than you would if you're just procrastinating. Time management is the only way I have time to write in my blog during the school year.
8. Planners save lives. My planner is already full this week and school hasn't started yet. I have to do lists, lists of things I need, phone numbers. I promise you will forget something if you don't write your assignments down. Let me tell you, it is pretty embarrassing when you forget a paper is due and show up to class empty handed.
9. You can eat healthy at the Cafeteria. You want to know the thing I first noticed about the Caf at my school? You can get ice cream anytime of the day. I'm not kidding. Is that not amazing? I thought so. I even mentioned to a few girls on the swim team how excited I was for my future ice cream breakfasts. Well, coach nipped that one in the butt real quickly...and I see why now. My freshman year, I went for comfort foods. Pizza, fried food, dessert. It was just great. You know what? I gained more than the Freshman 15. More like Freshman 30. I have worked hard and lost it since, but it is definitely embarrassing to not be able to squeeze in your jeans only four months after school starts...eat well...lots of protein, veggies, fruits, and whole grains...which leads me to...
10. Exercise. It doesn't have to be three hours a day, but get in a routine. Take classes that are offered at your school, go for a run with friends...the benefits of this last a lifetime, and make you feel great. Honestly, when I am stressed and grouchy, I know it's time to hit the gym (and I am pretty sure Pat knows when I need to as well...Sorry to my Bubs for being a grumpzilla this week)
11. Actually read your textbooks. I know, I know, a very revolutionary thought, but so many college students never understand this concept. Please, for your sake, try to do so. Your professors will think your a genius. I'm not kidding.
12. Walk your little legs to death. Depending on what school you go to, you will or will not be allowed cars your freshman year. I don't care. Walk everywhere. It saves you money, gives you a little exercise and breather time, and it's just nice. I like walking. You have some great conversations with people that way.
13. It's okay to miss home. Oh my gosh, boy did I miss my family when I was far away. Talk about annoying phone calls to home daily. It makes you appreciate your life, and the people in it. I used to love just coming home and driving. I would just drive to my favorite places. Moments like those where you truly appreciate your life are just the greatest.
14. Just go to class. One day, I was super bored in some pointless class I don't even remember the name of. I was there. It was 8am, and there was five of us out of 20 students who made it. Boy, did my professor feel like a dweeb. The way I see it, what else do you have to do at 8am? OK, sleep, eat, watch Good Morning America, I get it. I hated my early classes. Anyways, so this dweeb of a professor asked me to calculate what a one hour class costs per class based on the average student tuition. You want to know how much? $365. That's a lot of mula you are wasting by not going to class. Now I am sounding like my parents.
15. Stay classy. College is about testing the waters, but you can do so in two different fashions. One, you can be the trashed girl everyone is laughing at as she makes a fool of herself by doing things that I'm sure you all have experienced...or Two, you can be the fun one that has a few drinks but not to the point where she's drunk, and is the life of the party. Make sure you know your limits. Sure, we all have our days...but make sure you are in a safe environment when testing those limits.
16. Fashionista v. Weather and First Impressions. Okay, so you wanna look good for those upperclassmen right? Trust me, they will notice you regardless of what you are wearing. Yet, what do you want them to notice? Do you want them to think you are pretty, smart, fun? Or for them to notice your skirt riding up? Present yourself in a way that brings honor to your name. For example, my first day of class outfit is always simple. An oxford button-down shirt, chino pants, and my glasses. In case you haven't noticed, I am a blonde biology major. It's sad to say this, but I have had many science professors who are shocked when I get A's on my first tests in their classes. People really do still judge by outer appearance, so I try to look the part now. I don't try to make a standout fashion statement. Those can be saved for after my first test.
17. Be a huge fan. No matter how big or small your school is, attend sporting events. Get involved. Be enthusiastic. You'd be incredibly surprised how much the cheering helps the teams, and makes your school that much more fun to be around.
18. The library is cool. How lame does that sound? I like the library. I only bring my homework, put my phone on silent in my bag, and grab a coffee and a pen. If you want to get your homework done fast, find your study place; a coffee shop, computer lab...whatever. It will help you so much, and will help allow you to do the fun things you want to do as well.
19. Be a good listener. College is a selfish time. Daily I have someone ask me my major, my plans for the future, what I want to do with my degree, or after I graduate. Me, me, I, I. We can all get so self-consumed going about our daily lives. We have our lists, the things we find important...but what about the other people around us? Do you ever stop to think what makes your roommate stressed or lonely? Take some time just to let them vent some days. One of my roommates my sophomore year was great at this, and you know what, we are both a different schools and haven't seen each other in over a year...and are still the best of friends. Why? Because we truly cared about each other.
20. It's okay to be vulnerable sometimes. I truly am the worst at letting myself be vulnerable. I consider myself strong and independent. I never fully put my heart into past relationships for fear out of getting hurt. Nothing hurts more than a broken heart or rejection. However, when you least expect it, something truly great comes along. You have to sometimes just take the risk. I never did until I met Pat, I never fully got involved. Pat came out of nowhere, and I am so glad he did. Who knows what the future holds for us. Yet, one thing is for certain, I will not regret any of my actions in our relationship; for I know I have done this full-heartedly and have always put him first, and loved him as best as I can. The way I see it, if we aren't meant to be, there is someone even better out there for us, and given that I cannot fathom that...I would say I am a very blessed girl for the time I've had with Pat.
21. Pickiness pays off. This applies to a lot of areas of life. Schoolwork, relationships, clothes...be picky. Put effort into your work, make your papers, projects, assignments as detailed and polished as you can; don't just slap something together last minute. This also goes for relationships; don't just get in a relationship because you are lonely. It won't work out... Finally, your clothes reflect who you are. Pick out your outfit the night before, make sure it's wrinkle free, you want to always have a good appearance. Why? For starters, then you have less worries about how you feel throughout the day. You will feel good about yourself when you feel put together, therefor, you will spend less time thinking about that, and more time on actually living your life to the fullest. Plus, when you look put together, it presents more opportunities, I promise. I am not saying curl your hair and pound on the makeup before class; I only wear a little makeup, and my hair is usually in a bun, braid, or naturally down...but just look neat.
22. It goes by too fast. I still cannot believe it's my senior year. Live college days to the fullest, because they are only a short chunk of your life, and it's the most freedom (financially, from family, from work) that you will ever have. Don't regret not doing something you wish you had. Study abroad, take a challenging class, go out. Live it up.
23. Nobody knows what you want except you. Write down your goals, desires, and wants. Go after them. Don't stop until you achieve them. Base your major on what you love, not what your parents what you to do. It pays off.
To the Undergraduate class of 2015...Best of luck this year! Enjoy every second!