No idea where I got this pic from.
I’m finished with my fourth year of college and still have a year or so to go. There are plenty of things I wished I learned before college; I also went around asking my friends what they wished they knew. Here is a list that will hopefully help incoming students, or those who have just transfered. The list isn’t in any order (sorry I’m horrible at deciding what is more important than another).
1. Say bye to your high school friends.
Maybe when I was in highschool, I was even more naive than others. I thought that my high school friends would never leave me. I went to uni with 3 of my best friends, and sadly to say- I only really keep in touch with one of them. My other two best friends – my closest just lost touch with me even though they went to a school that was only 15 minutes away. One of them was also my neighbor. It’s sad, and sometimes I find myself thinking back on all the memories that we had together… but don’t fret – you’ll meet many more friends in College. Maybe some of them will last. College is about meeting new people, and it’s hard to keep up with your friends when everyone has different class schedules!
2. Join organizations: clubs, ASI, Coed Frats, etc.
People always complain that it’s hard to make friends in College. That’s true. You have huge classes with 100 other students and people sit in different seats everyday. Most of the time – people are there to just go to class, use their laptop to browse facebook and leave. Joining clubs or other organizations will allow you to make friends and feel a sense of acceptance. Also, you can put it on your resume. I see so many of my friends who joined clubs (and actually stayed in clubs) – they are always hanging out with their members and going on retreats. There are also plenty of events where you can meet other members from different schools. I joined VSA my freshman year and haven’t been active since… I really regret it since VSA members are so close together now.
3. Age does matter when it comes to certain things.
This isn’t that important, but age does matter. When I was a freshman, it was so easy for me to meet people; maybe it was because my classes were filled with freshmen who were also looking to make friends. As I grew older and older, people in my classes already had their group of college friends and honestly didn’t really care about meeting new people. Also for sororities, people ask you what year you are – the younger you are the better because that means you will be active. They seem to pounce on freshmen and sophmores. But, that doesn’t mean a senior shouldn’t rush for a sorority or frat; it’s never too late to join an organization.
4. Use your resources in college.
I didn’t use the gym until this year; I didn’t really know about it. The gym even offers free classes like yoga, etc. Also, we had free student tutoring that I was never aware of. I didn’t use the library or any of the writing centers or talk to my counselors. Now, in my fourth year – I have started utilizing those centers and it has really paid off. The counselors have made my life easier by helping me choose easy classes and giving me suggestions, while the library or computer lab really helps me focus. My school also has a movie theater that shows new movies for free; bowling alley, game room, and a nap room.
5. Watch your units.
Some people are not aware of the unit cap; I was one of them. I tried to change my major and was not able to because I had reached the maximum amount of units. I, instead, tried to add a minor and was barely able to add one because of my unit maximum. Also, FAFSA does not pay for your schooling if you go over a certain amount of units. I mean, you can’t possibly expect to be a 6th year and still get government aide to cover all your fees and tuitions. Remember that the school wants you to graduate as soon as possible and will set restrictions on you.
6. Internships are important.
I asked my sister and she immediantly said that she wished she did an internship. Ever since sophmore year, she has been working at a restaurant and although she makes plenty of money – she would trade everything for an internship. Now, she is graduated from a great University and is desperately searching for an internship. Her 3 years of restaurant experience did not help her land a job or even an internship (in her field of study) – now she’s volunteering once a week – making copies. Internships may not pay money but it is great for your resume and you will be able to learn useful things.
7. Learn time management.
My school has a center that teaches you how to effectively keep track of your time. You can also search online. Time management was the most popular response I got when I asked my friends.
8. Learn what study habit works for you.
I don’t really study… so I didn’t really find out the study habit that works for me until last year. Don’t worry though, I do care about school and do fairly well. Everyone has a different study habit that works for them, my sister loves to say the information aloud because she believes she will retain it better that way, I have a friend who teaches it to her siblings, another who records herself saying it over and over again and listens to it. My study habit is to type everything up, write it by hand and then in the end write it again.
9. Every major is impacted, so choose one you love.
I think this is the most important. My parents told me to choose health, but I’m about to graduate and I have no plans to go into the health care field. I should have done marketing or business. What I mean is – don’t let your parents choose your major for you. Do what you love. If your parents did choose your major for you and you’re about to graduate … don’t worry. 80% of people get jobs completely different from their major.
10. Step out of your comfort zone.
Join a club or a sport. My friend joined Karate and has madly been in love with it ever since. I joined a sorority and grew more assertive. Go on adventures, and live your life to the fullest. Do something new each day and find out ways to improve yourself – either physically or mentally.
11. It’s OK not to know what you want.
For the first two years, I was always stressed out because I couldn’t decide. Should I stay as an English major? Should I switch out of nursing and go to Health Care admin? I felt like I was the only person going through this but I found out that most people felt the same way. There are people who come into college, knowing what their passion is and others who don’t. Parents may go, “You’re already a sophmore, but you don’t know what you want to do with your life…” You aren’t going to find out who you are, what you want in a matter of years. Take your time, find out your true passion, it may take a while… but at least in the end you’ll know that you made the right choice.