I like to think back to my senior year in high school; I knew I wanted to go to college, I knew what profession I wanted to go into, and I knew the steps to take to get where I wanted to be. But the first obstacle was taking that first step. I had to accept that college would be the closest thing to the ‘real world’ I would experience. I would be all alone, hours from any family or friends, and surviving on my own. Getting over that was the first big leap into the college experience, the first of many things I would learn.
I’ve experienced a lot during my time at college: I’ve learned a new language, I’ve learned how to improve my writing, and I’ve made a lot of new friends. However, the most valuable things I’ve learned in college wasn’t in a classroom.
1. Put Yourself Out There
You’re not guaranteed anything, so you have to take initiative. It’s hard to not sit back and wait for good things to come to you. Do you want that job on-campus or the sales position down the street? Go for it! I had never made a resume before until I came to college and I needed one for a position I wanted. Imagine my surprise when I was told, “Send me your resume and I’ll take a look at it.” I must’ve sat in one spot for five or six hours working on a resume!
This isn’t confined to being interpersonal. Do things you like to do and don’t be afraid of being judged because more than likely, your interests aren’t solitary.
2. Keep Yourself Busy
Trust me, classes and classwork will keep you busy, but depending on how efficient with your time you are, you may have quite a bit of free time. Personally, I’m usually done with classes around 3 p.m., I spend about two or so hours on work, and then the rest of the day I have free time. This isn’t the case for everyone. Some degrees require more work than others, leading to less free time.
Don’t get me wrong, free time is great, but if you have too much of it, you can become bored rather quickly. The second semester of my Freshman year gave me 5 days of free time and 2 days of classes and I was bored senseless. Find things you enjoy doing, find new hobbies. I fell in love with the tabletop board game Dungeons & Dragons and crafted a newfound love for storytelling and writing. Whether it be taking a walk or mastering the ancient art of ping pong, find something to do!
3. Not Too Busy Though, Make Time for You
Despite what you’re told by some, it’s okay to be most concerned about you. You matter and for that reason, you need to keep yourself happy. College can be a stressful place. You have deadlines to meet, events to attend, and sleep to get, but you only have so many hours in a day.
It may seem scary, but take a day off from classes. Having an extra day and free time to get ahead on projects is valuable, especially if things begin to pile up. Don’t take too many days-off though, just when you need it. Your mental health is important to your physical health, and college shouldn’t drag you down; you’re stronger than that! “This is your world, you can do anything you want to.” – Bob Ross.
4. Failure is Okay
No one is perfect, everyone has to fail at some point in their lives. It’s a part of life that you cannot avoid. The most successful people know these hardships just like the rest of us. Don’t be worried that your grades aren’t as high as you would like, work hard and get them up! You didn’t perform as well as you wanted on that test? Don’t be upset, just study harder next time!
There are almost always second chances at something, and I’m not saying that you shouldn’t try hard, I’m saying that you can’t deem yourself worthless or bad at something for one hiccup. You can do anything you set your mind to, and achieving your dreams requires a few bumps in the road.
5. Surround Yourself with Great Friends
I don’t know how I would get through my daily life without my friends. They’re there for me every day, and I’m there for them. I know when I walk through the lobby of my residence hall, someone will be there that I can talk to and call my friend.
We’re all in this together. We’re all here taking steps to achieve our dreams, so we have to feed off of each other when we’re at our highest, and our lowest. I love all of my friends dearly and I would do anything for them, just like they would do anything for me. Find those friends and stick with them. If you do, they’ll stick by you. It makes things a lot easier, I promise. It’ll begin to feel like this is where you belong, like a home.