When you get to your senior year of college, a lot of things start to come into perspective. Sometimes, those things are more like, “How on earth am I going to survive the real world?” or “When did I get so old?” Other times, the thoughts you have center around should have/could have/would haves about your three previous years in college. “If I only knew ____ as a freshman…” you’ll say to yourself. Now, regret is never really a productive feeling, but learning from your mistakes and trying to tell others what you’ve learned? That’s always positive. As a soon-to-be graduate with steady pile of lessons learned in the last three plus years, I feel confident that I could give some advice that I wish someone had told me as a freshman. So whether you’re a freshman or simply a college student in need of some inspiration and encouragement, here’s a few things I wish I had been told as I started out in college.
1. Don’t Be Afraid To Say Yes More OR Say No More
It’s important that you’re always open to new opportunities in college. Saying yes to things that are out of your comfort zone (I’m talking, like, joining a new club not, say, streaking across campus at 3 a.m., by the way) is the best possible way to meet new people, and people have probably told you the same. But what people don’t tell you? Saying no is OK too. Whether it’s to that extra internship that you KNOW you can’t handle in your schedule or deciding to stay in a few nights instead of going out because, hey—Netflix is important too, learning when to say no is an important part of college in many ways.
2. College Is About YOU
College is THE best time to get to know yourself. Forget boys, girls, relationships, parties and do whatever it takes to reflect on yourself, your goals, and what makes you tick as much as possible. I was often forced to take time to get to know myself after breakups, but please don’t wait around for that. Take some time every week to be by yourself and journal or review your goals. Loving and knowing yourself completely is how you are successful in college. Period.
3. Friendships Evolve, And That’s OK
When you are leaving high school, a large part of you thinks that your high school friendships will stay the same, but as you go through college, those friendships change. Especially if your high school BFFs went to a different college than you, sometimes it’s hard to maintain that same closeness. Remember that friendships are always evolving, and just because you and your best friend have an off month or two doesn’t mean that she/he isn’t there for you. Respect and acknowledge that college is the most change-filled years of your life, and sometimes those changes affect friendships as well.
4. Life Always Goes On
College, like any time in life, is going to be filled with momentary defeats, embarrassments and struggles. Everything in college seems to be magnified at times; heartbreak seems more intense, social pressures more acute, and the work/internship/personal life balance more impossible. Remember that life always, always, always goes on. Whatever grade you got, whatever mistake you made, whoever’s heart you broke—despite all of that, the sun still sets and rises every single day. You can wake up the next day and make the best of it, or you can dwell on those mistakes. Choose the former, and remember that whatever you’re feeling right now will soon fade away into the realization that things happen for a reason. Take the lesson out of it, find happiness in that and move on.