Y’all probably know by now that I graduated from college this past weekend, and it’s definitely been a whirlwind. In fact, the past 3 and 1/2 years have been a whirlwind! It feels like just yesterday I was moving into my freshman dorm and completely terrified. After all, it was the first time I was away from home for an extended period of time, I didn’t really know anyone there, and I had no idea what the next few years would hold.
It wasn’t too long before I found my true friends and the best friend that a girl could ever have. Honestly, she’s probably the only reason I made it out alive! I’m sharing her words of wisdom towards the end of this post, so stick around to see what she’s taken out of her years at college!
Anyway, even though I had a pretty good college career, I would definitely take the chance to travel back in time and have a conversation with my freshman self. Obviously that would mess up the whole time-space continuum and what not, but hey, it’s always good to look back and reflect!
So whether you’re already a college grad or just beginning your freshman year, I hope that these life lessons resonate with you.
Don’t dwell on discouragements
Sadly, there will be some discouragements during your college years. You might get a bad grade on an exam or not get chosen for a position you really want, but the important thing is to remember that there will always be another chance. If you keep on trying, someone will notice and recognize your capabilities.
Don’t date the first guy that pays attention to you
Ugh, I still kick myself over this sometimes. I was so excited that a guy was showing interest in me that I just jumped in without really thinking about what I actually wanted in a relationship. Hint: he wasn’t the right guy for me. If I could do my freshman year over again, I would definitely stay single.
Utilize your university’s free services
There are so many things at your university that you can use without any extra cost! Recreation centers, gyms, health centers, academic help, and more! You’re basically paying for it with your tuition, so definitely utilize them if you need to.
It’s okay to struggle in class
I did very well in high school. If there was an honors level available for a subject, I would take it, even for subjects I didn’t necessarily like. That being said, it was hard for me to get to college and take some of those more difficult courses. I had suddenly gone from top of the class to scraping by in Accounting with a C on every exam. The thing is that struggling a bit in class is totally normal in college! The good thing is that there are plenty of resources to help you if you can’t figure something out yourself!
Switching majors is normal
It’s not really spoken about much in the beginning of your college career, but it’s totally normal (and somewhat expected) for people to exit college with a different major than they started with. Personally, I never switched my own major, but I did go back and forth a lot with what I wanted to do after college. Take advantage of major fairs and career fairs, and see exactly what your university can offer you! You might find that you’re in the right place, but you might also find there’s a major better suited for your needs!
It’s okay to not want what others want
You’ll come across a lot of people in college that have different priorities than you, and you shouldn’t change your priorities based on theirs. It can be tempting to veer off your own path, but try your best to stay on it! In the end, you’ll be much happier that you stayed true to yourself.
You will change throughout your college years, and that’s okay
I know I just told you not to veer off your path, but there’s a difference between derailing and evolving. Just like any journey, the person you are at the end likely isn’t the same person as you were in the beginning. You’ll have new experiences and meet people that will shape you and help you along your journey.
Personally, a lot of things changed for me in college. I became more independent, I realized what I really wanted out of life, and I’ve just matured in general! I’m still me, but I’m a better version of myself!
Call your parents (and/or other close family members)!
This one gets an exclamation point because it is VERY important! Some people aren’t very close with their parents throughout high school, but I guarantee you will appreciate them more than you can imagine once you get to college. Your family will guide you through your struggles, help you make big decisions, and give you all the support you need!
Remember to have fun
Yes, the main reason you’re at college is to continue your education and get a good job post-graduation. That being said, don’t forget to enjoy your time at your university! Take part in activities that interest you, make friends that will last a lifetime, and do the things you want to do! The next four years are yours, so make the most of them!
What other people wish they knew:
I asked people on Twitter to send me their own lessons they learned in college, and I got a couple great responses!
“I wish I would’ve done more activities/clubs because thats the best and easiest way to make friends, since you’d have similar interests. I was too shy back then to even join anything alone so I definitely wish I would’ve forced myself to step out of my comfort zone!” – Kelli
“Never underestimate chicken strips that are available as a freshman. Ramen will one day be your best friend. One day you will stop crying over boys and start crying over exams. Sometimes wine will be the only solution. You start going out of your way for anything that is free!” – Camila
Kelli’s response definitely rings true for a lot of people! Joining clubs is such a great way to meet people that you have similarities with, and it’s also a great way to have fun! Even though I joined a couple clubs, I wish I branched out a little bit more in them to meet more people.
While Camila’s advice is funny, it’s still 500% accurate. I doubt I’ll ever find a chicken strip that matches up to the one in one of the dining centers. I definitely cried over a class I was struggling in, but wine was always there to make it better. And yes, “Free” will become your favorite word!
Your college career will be one of the best 3-5 years (or more!) of your life, and if you’re a freshman reading this, I hope you make the most of it!
What’s something you learned during your college career? Let me know in the comments!
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