Hey guys, as I’m approaching my senior year (sobs) I thought I would share some of the things I have learned from being a university student. As a high school senior, I could not even begin to comprehend how much I would change, in a good way. You learn through the good and bad. P.S., sorry I haven’t posted in awhile, my class seriously took all of my time.
1. Take the Intiative
It’s really easy to just sit back and ride the wave. I learned that wouldn’t necessarily work for me my Freshman year with academics, but throughout my college years, I have started applying it to my own life. Tackle the problem head on. If you have a question ask it. If you need help, seek it. Start off with some academic things. For example, my freshman year I was really struggling with my English class. Usually, I just sit back and hope things get better, but I forced myself to go in and see my professor, and it helped so much. Now, I can extend this beyond my academics. If I feel like something is wrong, I go and try to find the problem and solve it as best as I can. If you want change to happen, you can be that change. I know it sounds cheesy but really give it a shot, you’ll be surprised what you are capable of.
2. Be Curious
The whole reason you’re in school is to gain knowledge, ask questions! If you want to know more about something, go and learn more. Be curious about people too. It’s the small things that count. You don’t have to ask them weird questions. You can ask “how was your day?” I find that people are the most interesting things you can acquire knowledge from, listen to their stories. I struggled my first couple of weeks at my school (like crying to my mom every day struggling). One day, which seemed like the same old bleak day, one girl in my class just asked me: “hey what are you doing tonight?” Like what? This girl, I barely knew was asking me to hang out with her? You’ll never know how much that made my day. She wanted to know more about me and that made me feel like I was actually worth something, imagine you doing that for someone else.
3. Be mindful of what you say/do
Even if it’s just a post on Facebook or a side comment, always think about what you are saying. Opinions are opinions and everyone is entitled to them, I understand that. But do not make assumptions about anything until you have done your research. Countless times I have seen people sharing Odessey articles like it is from the mouth of God. Technically, anyone can write an article on that website. You may think you know your audience but you might not know everything. Yes, you can have your opinion, but don’t state it if it tears down someone else’s opinion. First of all that’s just darn rude and words like that can stay with someone for a long time. Plus, I’ve heard some employers check your Facebook so you better watch what you say!
4. Learn how to say “no”
College is all about the amazing experience of course, but sometimes, we have to say no to certain things for our health and academics of course. When I first came to school, I had some trust issues and had some trouble making friends. It was weird because I even sabatouged relationships intentionally. Every time I felt someone get close to me, I would back off. I felt like I was alone. Once I joined my sorority, I thought that would change, but it didn’t. One of my sisters pleaded with me one night to come out with them and I gave in. Let me tell you, it was one of the best nights ever. I started to become close with people I never thought that I would. Then, it almost became hard to say no to things. I didn’t want to let people down, and it came at a cost. I took on two positions, went out a lot, and wasn’t making healthy choices. Sometimes, we have to take a step back and say no to some things. It’s better to take on one position and put everything into it than take on multiple and not give it your all. Some nights, while going out may seem tempting, you should probably get to work on that paper or study for that test. It can be hard, but you’ll be happier in the end.
5. Plan Ahead
From the moment you get to school, start planning. If you don’t have a planner or agenda of some sort, GET ONE. You can even use your phone, I prefer Google Calendar. But make sure you use it. Like write down (or type if you prefer) everything. The first thing I do when I get a syllabus is write down every due date in pencil because sometimes dates change and you can erase something without getting it messy. If you have a big project coming up, I find that if I break it up into smaller chunks over a longer period of time, it saves me a bit of hassle and I feel like I can breathe. Because I’m a nerd, I have to plan out my social time too. If I want to go out one weekend, I make sure that I get the majority of my work done before hand so I can a) have a good time and not worry about it and b) feel accomplished. I also plan out what days I’m going to clean stuff, what meals I’m going to have, and pretty much anything else that I can. For me, leaving things until the last minute causes me unwanted stress and when I haven’t planned out something that makes it even harder.
6. People Love in Different Ways
So we always have a dream of how the perfect significant other shows us love. Or how a friend shows their loyalty. Guess what? We all have different pictures in our head. Just because someone doesn’t do exactly what you want, it doesn’t mean that they don’t love you. My therapist told me about this thing called “love languages.” There are a bunch of different types like gifting, acts of service, words, touch, and quality time. You can even have two. I’m definitely gifting and acts of service. If I see something in the store that my boyfriend or friend might like, I give it to them. For a while I was frustrated with not getting the same back. I’m not saying that I’m this material person who just wants things, what I wanted was to feel like someone was thinking of me. I could care less what the item is. For someone else however, showing love may come in the form of words. This might not seem like it is much, but for them, words mean something really important. Once you know your own love language, it can be easy to see what other peoples love languages are and you can appreciate their type of love better.
7. You win a lot more with honey than vinegar
So, I’m naturally kind of a cold person. I’m not like mean or anything, but I tend to be a little more on the shy side especially when I’m meeting someone new. But I’m working on it. Sometimes you might get angry with a group partner or your roommate or even a friend. It can be really easy to just snap at them and say everything they are doing wrong. I’ve definitely made that mistake. By pointing out everything in an aggressive way, what is that going to accomplish? Yeah you might feel a little better, but that might have put an even worse strain on the relationship. I had a situation where I felt like one of my partners for a group project was not doing their part. I was frustrated and angry and just wanted to yell at them. But, I thought that it would be more beneficial for me to just talk to this person. It turns out that my partner was having health problems and was constantly going to doctors appointments. By sharing that information, we were able to make a constructive plan. Of course there are going to be people that don’t really have an excuse to act the way they do, but just reaching out in a friendly way is going to solve the problem instead of just making it worse.
8. Use your resources
I cannot stress this enough. In college, you have so many resources at your disposal to help you succeed. Professors have a wealth of knowledge and most are willing to help you. Just by stopping by their office your getting answers to your questions plus some, demonstrating that you want to do well, and are building a relationship to your professors. They always say that only a few people come to their office hours, which just seems silly to me. Librarians are also AWESOME. If you’re writing a paper, most of the time they will help you in planning your research. They have whole positions dedicated to helping their students with research. It can save you a lot of time and hassle. This even goes beyond academics. If you are on an executive board, reach out to other members and see what things you already have, chances are you have a lot of materials for whatever project you’re doing. Also reach out to other clubs, it can make your event have a bigger pool of people, you get extra help, they can bring in their resources, and you can plan more events together in the future.
9. Find quality friends
Throughout life, we meet people that we may think are friends, but really just drain us. I’ve encountered a few of those. Find that friend who always supports you (no matter what), listens to you, and that you enjoy hanging out with. Having a few quality friends around you makes your college experience so much more enjoyable and fun. When you hang out with those who disappoint you, you are saying that it’s okay for people to disappoint you. That friend may make a mistake, that doesn’t mean you have to get rid of them. If you’re friends you still accept each other.
10. Be that quality friend
When trying to find that quality friend, it helps if you are a quality friend too. Accept them, NEVER judge them, and always be there for them. Even if you want to stay at that party and your friend wants to go home, GO HOME. Never leave your friend. If your friend needs you to pick them up from somewhere at 2 am and you’re tired, PICK THEM UP ANYWAYS. If your friend is not making healthy choices, HELP THEM. Your friend would hopefully do the same for you so always be there. Even if your friend is with a guy you don’t like, support her and don’t bash him even if you really really want to and you just know this guy isn’t right for her. Let her figure it out.
Hope you guys enjoyed! Let me know some life lessons you learned in college!