5 College Life-Lessons
Hey everyone! I can't believe I am officially a college graduate... This past week of post-grad life really has me reminiscing about my time spent in college. I remember how scared and worried I was on my freshman move-in day. I wanted to go home, I wasn't ready to be so far away from home, I had no friends here... Fast forward 4 years later and I am in tears wondering how I am supposed to leave. I've had so many incredible experiences like joining a sorority where I met my best friends. I studied abroad where I had the amazing opportunity to live in Florence, Italy for 4 months and travel all around Europe, crossing off so many bucket list items like eating a giant macaroon the size of my head under the Eiffel Tower, sipping a genuine Guinness beer in Ireland, paragliding through the Swiss Alps, hiking up Mount Vesuvius, holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and SO much more. If you would have told me I would have experienced all of these things day one of freshman year I would have never believed you. Freshman year is such a vulnerable time in the life of young people, and so I hope you are able to take some of my life lessons I learned in college to help you adjust to a new chapter of your life in college... or even help you remember some of your favorite college memories if you've already finished this chapter!
1. You might not have the same best friends you met your freshman year when you graduate.
I know everyone says this, but from personal experience I can tell you this is so true! With that being said, it isn't a bad thing! You'd be surprised how busy you will get once you start involving yourself on campus. You'll meet new friends through this involvement, you'll meet new friends in class, and it isn't uncommon to lose touch with those people you considered best friends your freshman year. This isn't to say you can't be best friends with your freshman year friends, or to say you can't keep in touch and keep those friends even if you don't see them as much as you did. College is so much different than high school in that you now have THOUSANDS of people that you can make friends with, and you're not just stuck with the same people you've known since you were 10. Don't be afraid to get out there and meet new people, you never know who you are going to meet.
2. STUDY ABROAD!!!
I know this isn't always an easy thing to do for everyone. It can get expensive, not all schools offer the opportunity to study abroad. BUT, if you have chance to study abroad.... DO IT!!!! Those 4 months of college I spent abroad were the greatest 4 months of my life. It was so surreal and I still can't believe all of those things I was able to experience at the young age of 20 years old. I traveled to Ireland, France, Croatia, Switzerland, Germany, England, and went to several popular cities in Italy including Pisa, Capri, Positano, Sienna, Naples, Pompeii, Rome, Venice, and I had the amazing opportunity to call Florence my home through all of this. I would have never believed you if you told me that I would be getting lost in Germany with friends that would become some of my best, strolling through Pisa totally lost with luggage looking for the airport with my boyfriend I would meet in college, paragliding with girls who have become some of my closet friends, and so much more. It was an amazing journey of self discovery that has shaped me so much into who I am today. If you have the chance, even if you're scared or have never been away from home... DO IT. You'll be surprised how much you'll change when you see how many amazing places and people are out there in the world.
3. Not having a 4.0 is OK!
If you're anything like me, you're used to getting As on everything in high school. I never got a B on anything until I got to college, and I was devastated to see a B as a final grade for a class. Eventually I realized how much different college is from high school, and not having perfect grades is totally OKAY! As a fashion design major, a lot of my project work was very subjective and almost impossible to get an A on. I soon realized that if I tried my best, was happy with the work that I turned in, and knew there was nothing else I'd change.... that THAT was good enough for me. Not everyone is going to love your work and that is just life. I also realized that I was a lot busier than I was in high school. I had a social life and was making friends, I was joining clubs and trying to get involved, and all-in-all, I didn't have 100% of my time to dedicate to school. I was building my resume... I realized that having a 3.7 and being involved on campus was totally fine! Now, if you're currently in college and have a 4.0 and are super involved, you're awesome!! Keep doing what you're doing! But if you don't, know that is okay... you're still awesome!
4. Time management is hard!
High school puts you in a routine. Maybe you're involved with sports, or maybe you're involved with after school clubs, either way, your high school routine probably went something like this: Wake up, eat breakfast, go to school, go to your classes, head to your club meeting or sports practice, come home, eat dinner, do your homework, shower, go to bed... and repeat. College doesn't really have this routine. You'll make friends that you'll hang out with all night long, you'll eat dinner at different times, homework time is whenever you have a free minute throughout the day, and there were nights I would forget to sleep... Time management is hard! You'll soon realize that your college professors don't have your first exam until the 4th week of school, your project isn't due until the end of September, your homework assignment is only due every Sunday at midnight. So, you put it off, and put it off...and put it off. NOW, your exam and project are both due tomorrow, you have 10 assignments due by tonight at midnight, and you are so stressed you don't know what to do with yourself. I know I can't be the only one that did this... not just once either. Time management was something that took me a little while to learn. I got a planner and would write everything down for the month and would try to set mid-week goals for myself. "Okay, by Wednesday I need to be half way done my physics homework, I want the dress I'm making all done except hemming and the zipper, and I'm going to study a little tonight for my finance exam, so tomorrow and the next day I'm not cramming to fit it all in one night." Obviously I still had assignments I procrastinated until the last second, but even doing the smallest things to help with your time management can help keep the stress down!
5. Push yourself out of your comfort zone!!!!
If I could tell an incoming freshman one thing to take with them when they start college it would be this. I guarantee you that when you graduate from college, you will NOT be the same person you were before college... and that's okay! I've noticed so much change in myself. When I started college I was super introverted and not one to make friends or initiate conversation. I wasn't used to being away from home. I was very scared to start college and that transition was pretty rough for me. I found myself not making friends, and not pushing myself to get out on campus and experience college. Eventually I started to make friends and get involved and I could feel myself opening up and I started to become more ME. Now, I'm a chatter box who isn't afraid to get out there and meet people, I have a travel bug to get out and explore the world even more, and I hope that I can help one person who is starting college feeling the same way that I did get out there and push themselves out of their comfort zone. College is HUGE, talk to someone, either they aren't interested and chances are you probably won't see them again, OR they might end up being a bridesmaid in your wedding... who knows!
I'm forever grateful for my 4 years I spent in college and am so happy it shaped me into the person I am today. If you're entering college in August, still having a tough time adjusting in college, or a graduate reminiscing about your time in college, I hope this post can bring you a little hope and a smile!