September 21, 2014

College Advice

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In honor of school starting, and in honor of the fact that exactly 7 years ago (dang, I'm old!) I was headed to my college campus ready to begin this grand new adventure, I am dedicating today's post to some bits of advice that I wish someone had told me about college.

1. Don't be shy! I know that this is really hard to do especially if you're like me and tend to be more of an introvert but I promise you everyone is feeling the same way as you are and everyone wants to make friends.  So don't be afraid to be the one that sparks up a conversation--be friendly! You'll be surprised at how quickly "cliques" can form and if you don't put yourself out there in the beginning it is harder to make friends later--especially if you live in a dorm.  I was waay too shy at first and had to really force myself to come out of my bubble but it was WORTH it.

2. Don't Skip Class  I know this isn't what you want to hear, but trust me on this one.  Unless you're sick in bed or reek of alcohol from your previous night of partying, really really try not to skip class.  I speak from experience in saying that getting up and going to all your classes really does make a difference.  At the minimum, it will get you up on your feet and you'll be most likely to have a productive day if you go to class--otherwise you might be tempted to eat cereal & doritos all day in your fuzzy robe and matching slippers.

3. Get a Part Time Job & Manage your Money Well   These two here are so important.  Although it might feel like college is this little oasis/bubble from the real world (and it kinda is) sooner or later you'll have to join the masses and trust me when I say having a bit of savings really does help.  No matter how little you can save each month it will add up through the course of 4 years.

4. Study Abroad   I have always regretted not doing this.  It was my plan to study abroad in Brazil or Spain (I even learned Portuguese in preparation) but things just didn't work out.  I had friends who did it though and they had the time of their lives.  I truly believe that there is no substitution for traveling. Studying abroad teaches you things you could never really learn in the classroom.  It teaches you to be self-reliant, it teaches confidence and you learn about other cultures and people different from you.

5. Discover your Passion   This is a big one.  I wish someone would have sat me down and told me how important it is to find what you're most passionate about early on in college. So many of us get caught up in doing what other people are doing or studying what you think your parents want you to study in.  I know you're only 18 when you first start college and you may feel way too young to really know what it is you want to do with your life or, you may think you have years to figure that out, but think of it like this: you have 4 years to discover your interests, what you don't like and what you could see yourself doing.  It doesn't mean you have to have everything figured out (no one does) but  you should  take advantage of this time, really think about what you want to do and the person you want to be, because guess what?  After you graduate and you're introduced to the 40 hour work week, you will find that you have many more responsibilities than you did in college and you may not have time or the opportunity to really think about your future goals and how to accomplish them.

And one last piece of advice, HAVE FUN! There will never be another time in your life where you get to focus on YOU and what you want and who you spend your time with.  College is liberating. There will be tears, sweat, A LOT of laughs, inside jokes and embarrassing pictures. Embrace it all because it goes by fast.


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