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College. It's what we all dream about growing up. The new freedom, new friends, and new experiences that are all shown in television and movie portrayals of college. Well, I hate to burst any bubbles, but not everything on TV is true in real life. I am just going to be telling of my experiences and lessons learned as a sophomore in college. Who knows if you have come to or will come to my same realizations, but either way, this is what I wish I knew.
1. Making friends is not that simple.
I can remember hearing stories that my older sister would tell me about college and all the incredible, life-long friends she was making throughout her college career. I came to college two years after she graduated with my hopes set high to make as many friends as she did, with little success. I had my roommate and others from my hometown that came to the same college I did, which was a relief to know a few people! But as far as new friends, I was left questioning the college atmosphere I had seen on TV my whole life. The people on my floor in my dorm all kept to themselves. There was no time to talk during classes. Come to find out; everyone's somewhat shy when it comes to meeting new people.
Not only shy but somewhat incapable of face-to-face communication. It is so easy to hide behind our phones these days that often we falter when it comes to talking to someone in person. But if I have found anything to be true, it is that you do not need a giant group of friends to be happy. Eventually, you will be able to find a couple of people that you can vibe with that become your friends. The best way to find these people is to one join clubs and two be vulnerable. Most colleges have many options of clubs available to join that include a variety of interests. Find one or two clubs you are interested in and be vulnerable enough to introduce yourself to the members of the club and get involved.
2. You don't need to party every weekend.
If this is your thing, more power to you! But for those of you who lack the liver endurance to keep up with your peers, know what partying is not really all that it's cracked up to be. When I first came to college, I made partying a priority for the first couple months at school. I got invited to apartment parties and drank and felt the effects of the hangover the next day. Don't get me wrong, it was fun for a bit, a change from high school and being at home, but the fun was over once I realized how repetitive it all became. I was going to the same parties, with the same people, listening to the same music, drinking the same drinks, and having the same crappy feeling in the morning. Now maybe I was just partying all wrong, but I quickly realized partying every weekend was simply not for me.
Now the upside is that there are other people like me and like some of you who do not enjoy the partying scene all that much. Try and find those people and realize that there is nothing wrong with going to the movies, bowling, ice skating, or doing activities that don't involve alcohol.
3. Get to know your professors.
I'm not saying that you need to be the teacher's pet, but getting to know your professors and having them know you is something that can benefit you in college and the future. Now I understand this is sometimes difficult to accomplish if you are in a larger class. In smaller classes and larger classes alike it is beneficial, to speak in class, ask questions in person, or emailing questions to your professors. In doing so, you are showing your desire to learn and succeed in the class.
Professors can obviously have a positive effect on your immediate future grade-wise, but they can also have a positive effect on your future. Making and keeping connections with the right people is vital to getting a job in the future. Professors are an easy way to make those connects.
4. Take advantage of campus resources.
You are paying for them after all. The gym, writing centers, career centers, and many other resources are on campus for you to use! Academic resources especially are placed on campus to help you succeed. If your campus, like mine, has a writing center, go and get a second pair of eyes to look over your paper. Career centers have people who are there to build or revise résumés or even help you figure out what you want your future career to be. Same goes for job fairs. If your school has a counseling center and you feel the need to go and talk to someone, that's what they are there for! Please don't think it is weird to simply want or need to talk something out with a non-biased, third party, if it can potentially help, then it's worth it.The gym is another great resource to use, not only for getting in shape to prevent the "Freshman 15," but also is great to relieve stress.
5. Learn how to manage your time.
The easiest way to do so? Get a planner! Write down important events, due dates, and other things that may slip your mind. In college, you are ultimately responsible for your time. You can spend it however you chose to but do so wisely. Professors aren't going to always be right by your side reminding you when your papers or quizzes are due; it is up to you to remember. On top of being aware of academic due dates, be sure to schedule in some time for yourself too.
So these are my top 5 things I wish I knew about college before arriving. There are plenty more things, but these are just my highlights. Hope this is helpful!
Peace, Love, and Happiness.