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You’re starting college and I’m sure you’re excited (and nervous) for your fresh start: new friends, new lifestyle, not to mention a whole new level of independence. College is going to change your life. You think high school had some milestones? You have so much more waiting for you.
It’s easy to get caught up in the beginning making sure you get off on the right foot with your roommate, finding the right group of friends, and figuring out your roster. But, I’m going to ask something of you. I want you to take a step back from it all for a moment and look at the big picture.
Why? Because I want you to make it in this world.
I’m a college graduate, a successful one at that. Just today, I was asked by my alma mater to participate in an alumni night event where I’ll be giving advice to students like you. I have a full-time job (that I adore), a retirement plan (Florida is in my future), an apartment with my significant other (so cute), and bills in my name (ugh). You could say I’m doing a damn good job at what our generation has coined #adulting.
You're probably thinking, “Whoa, you must be SO old.” Well, I only graduated last summer. So many people graduate every year only to end up unhappy and distraught with what reality has handed them. I want to change that and it starts with you.
I’m here to help by hooking you up with some things you should need to keep in perspective as you enter college because it’s all so much easier the earlier you start. I won’t let you board the #strugglebus when you graduate. I’m saving you a seat for something much better.
College as a Career Path (Hear Me Out, Please)
It’s a well-known fact (and a complaint) that to get a job out of college, you need experience. I graduated with over three years of experience in my field and that’s how I landed my first job out of college. Now you’re wondering, “How the hell am I supposed to do that?!”
Head to your university’s career center (yes, there’s one of them, I promise). With the help of counselors, I applied for part-time jobs and internships that were relevant to my field of study. Yes, in the beginning the job may only be busy work and administrative duties, but you will learn about your field. Do it, do it, do it!
College as a Balancing Act (Learn How To Juggle, Kid)
I didn’t have to sacrifice my entire social life just to build my resume. As one of my highly successful English teachers in high school said, you’ll learn how to cut corners in school and still succeed at it all. I managed to attend parties, remain fit, achieve a high GPA, and work one to two jobs. But it wasn't easy.
Some nights you’ll have to stay up later than you’d wish. Some afternoons you may have to skip lunch with your friends. Some mornings you’ll have to learn how to recover quickly. But it will all make for a great story… Believe me, your college confidence will rise to the roof the minute you find out you can manage to write a nine-page paper AND go out on a Wednesday night.
College as a Reward System (Ya Have to Earn It, Hunny)
If you want to be any form of a social butterfly, you have to grow your wings first. I don’t judge, whether you want to go to the parties or join every club, do you, boo boo. But, no form of social life should topple and take the place of school work as a priority. Memories and fun nights are great and all... but is all of that worth thousands of dollars in debt?
You’re going to need to afford that same lifestyle when your college days are over (the fun doesn’t stop after you get your diploma, believe me).
If you have plans to go to a football game, see a movie, or travel into the city, make a promise to yourself that you’ll complete part of an assignment before you go AND see that promise through! You’ll soon learn that you can enjoy yourself so much more if you don’t have assignments to worry about after the fun is done.
If you have plans to stay in the library all day, keep your nose in a book, or finish a paper, make it a priority to give yourself a break AND don’t feel guilty about it! Go for a walk, eat a snack, meet up with a friend for a little bit. You’ll avoid burnout if you give yourself time to re-energize yourself. You’re welcome.
Ugh, there’s so much more I have to tell you, but your first few days will be overwhelming enough. Don’t worry, I’ll be back to walk you through all of this college shit. Until then, I’m rooting for you.