College is a time for change, meeting new people, trying new things, & adjusting to being away from everything you’ve ever known for the first time. College is a different experience for every single person. It can be hard sometimes, but if you take advantage of it all, I’ve heard its the best time of your life. Here’s what I’ve learned in my 4 1/2 college semesters so far:
1. C’s do get degrees, but you should do better.
We’ve all heard the saying “C’s get degrees” but personally, a C isn’t acceptable. I’m not talking about the C you get in a super hard class with a stone cold professor that you tried your hardest in but the C was the best grade you could manage. I’m talking about going into the class with the mindset of “oh I can do bare minimum and still pass? Thats what I’m doing!” You should be going into any class with the mindset that you’re so lucky to be here, you’re paying a lot of money to be here, and you’re so eager to learn. Learning is one of the most exciting things in life. We never stop learning, you will never learn everything there is to learn in this world, but you should try. Everything you’re reading about & listening to is making you a smarter, more well rounded person. I know this mindset can be hard when you have 50000 tests & 200 essays due, but just remember that these are all stepping stones to making you a complex, interesting, smart human. Those who constantly seek knowledge throughout life are never bored & see life through such a wonderful lense.
2. Yes, people suck, but not all of them.
One huge thing I was looking forward to was meeting new people outside of my hometown & meeting kids my age that don’t suck. One huge thing I’ve learned is people suck everywhere. Throughout your whole life you’re going to meet people that just exude rudeness, laziness, & hate. That’s part of life. But, you will also meet people that are just balls of light that want to be your friend & better your existence just by being there. Those people exist, I promise, & there are way more of them than you think. It can be so easy to get discouraged after meeting the wrong people for you, but keep searching & find your right friends, it’s worth it.
3. Getting involved it key.
My first year at college I thought grades were everything. I never went out or joined any clubs. I had such a hard time struggling alone, away from my family with no friends. This year I decided to join more clubs, go out more, & out myself out there. That changed everything. You have to put yourself out there to get things in return. Volunteer, apply for an internship, join a random club even if you haven’t found your niche yet. I have met my best friend through going to a concert alone, I’ve gotten brand deals & a position on a writing website from starting a blog, I’ve gotten an internship from posting on facebook. Good things happen to those who work for them.
4. It’s ok to stay in.
I am not a partier in any sense of the word. There are countless clubs around Orlando, which I have yet to set a single foot in. If you are a partier, this isn’t a slam to you, keep on partying & having a great time! I salute you. But, I always felt this constant pressure to go out on weekends & even weekdays because thats what everyone else was doing. it took me a little while to convince myself that staying in & studying or binging your favorite show is ok! Though, you should go out & explore the town you’re in & take advantage of this period in our life where free time is a infinite resource, that doesn’t mean you have to party. Do what you feel is right for you. Don’t force yourself to go out because you think its the “normal” thing to do. Do it because you want to.
5. Budget, budget, budget.
Getting a job or your financial aid refund makes everyone feel like Bill Gates. It’s nice to have disposable income, but it is wiser to save it. Most every college student I know will come out with student loans. Start saving for that now! Groceries are a necessity, but its easy to go into Publix alone for the first time & buy everything you see, because for the first time, you can. But, that adds up fast. sit down at the beginning of the week & make grocery list of just what you need. Stick to that. Put 60% of your paycheck into savings. Look for student discounts everywhere (check out the website UNidays for killer discounts), cook at home, look up free events. It will pay off in the future.
6. Keep in touch with family.
Most of the friends I know barely call their parents. I can’t even fathom that, I call my mom at least 3 times a day just to tell her I ate a banana or something stupid a kid in my class said. I also keep in touch with extended family. Life can get hectic for everyone, but family will always be there. The days of having your mom in the next room & watching Netflix all night with your siblings is over, the least you can do is call them. You’ll feel better & it shows you care. Growing up doesn’t mean you have to grow apart.
College is hard. But college is also amazing. Take advantage of everything life is giving you right now but don’t forget to work hard. Home is always home. I wish you a happy & successful semester!