What I Wish I'd Known About College
Hey friend’s, I’ve been gone for a while. Here’s a quick summary of what I’ve been up to in a sentence.
I sorta graduated college and I’ve been trying to figure out my life for the past four months.
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s chat about college from my weird perspective.
I would like to set a huge disclaimer that I did not have the most traditional college experience. I commuted to my college for all three years. Therefore, I was not emerged into the college culture of partying, hookups and living in dorms, so sadly I cannot give advice about the previously mentioned. However, I can talk about some other aspects of college that may help those entering this new stage of their lives come next month.
College is weird.
You’re in college from the age of 18-22 (normally). Those years alone are very strange. We’re entering young adulthood with newfound freedom even though months ago we still had to ask for permission to use the bathroom.
After my first few weeks in college, I quickly realized everyone is in the same boat of trying to fit in. Additionally, college is really a melting pot for so many people who come from so many different backgrounds. This equation alone makes college a weird place full of young adults who have absolutely no clue what they’re doing.
Professors make and break the class.
I’ve had incredible professors and I’ve had some not so great ones. A dry professor can make a class you’re so excited for, well dry. This has happened to me before. On the flip side, a really good and enthusiastic professor can make a boring class fun.
Rate my professor exists for a reason. Use it, but realize some ratings are biased so take reviews with a grain of salt. However, use Rate my professor as a guide for deciding classes.
Try to be active in student life.
This is something everyone tells you during freshman orientation. I was not active in any club at my college because I commuted and worked part-time. If I could go back, I would motivate myself to find time to join a club. This helps bolster your resume and you make connections.
Intern as much as you can.
If you are not active in student life, internships can help expand your resume. Begin looking at internships early on in college so you can prepare for the proper steps of obtaining one.
Your GPA sorta matters, but not really.
One thing I’ve learned since graduating is the fact that a high gpa simply impresses employers for a moment. However, it does not help you get the job. Today, connections are absolutely everything.
I am a huge nerd who cared deeply about her 3.9** gpa. So to me, my gpa does matter. However, do not allow your gpa to drive you crazy because in the end, it’s just a number.
Time management is everything.
Growing up, people spoke about studying for undergrad as if it were medical school. I heard so much about all nighters and having to always study. However, in my experience, college was nothing like this. If you manage your time properly, you do not have to pull all nighters. I recommend using a planner and writing down your assignments so you can see how many tasks you have. This allows you to plan out your day and week.
If you have a large chunk of free time, get ahead. This was super easy for me to do with my online classes because assignments came out every two weeks. In other words, I was able to complete work early which helped lower my stress.
Stick up for yourself.
In my major, most of my projects were group based. I’ve had to work with fellow students who really slacked leaving me extremely stressed and irritated. I quickly learned after one experience to speak up for myself. Be transparent with your group mate and communicate (in a nice way) your frustrations. If this does not help, speak with your professor. Most professors understand and will either speak with the other student(s) or grade the project individually.
You can graduate early.
If you want to finish college as fast as possible, speak with your advisor to plan out your entire college schedule. Going into high school, I had a semester worth of credits completed. My credits transferred to fulfill some gen-eds which was extremely helpful. Most of the time, financial aid covers more than 15 credits, so take advantage of that. At my school, I was able to take up to 18 credits a semester which helped me graduate early.
If you’re not into parties, don’t force it.
While I can count on one hand how many college parties I’ve been to, during these years I learned my limits with drinking (kinda). The media poses college as an excuse to heavily drink. However, if you cannot handle alcohol very well, do not push your luck. I understand the peer pressure to drink at parties, but you can still have fun without ending the night in the hospital.
I purposefully ended my undergrad a year early. However, I know I’m going to miss learning in the classroom. Partially because it’s what I’ve known all my life, but also because I genuinely enjoy learning. Luckily, school is always there. I still have the opportunity to continue seeking higher education. But, if you’re still in college, enjoy every second of your crazy, caffeinated journey.