At the ripe age of 20, and a junior in college, I like to think I have things pretty well under control. I’ve moved in twice, made more fast food runs than I’d care to admit, and spent way too much on textbooks, way too many times. In my experience at two different universities, I’ve learned a thing or two. Maybe you will find some of it valuable, or not. Take what you will.
1. Enjoy your cafeteria food
I know, I know. This one sounds heretic. But seriously, once we graduate, we’ve got to grocery shop, cook, and wash dishes for ourselves. So, I for one, want to take advantage of the (not really) free food and all you can eat buffet lines.
2. Go to all the events you can
Most universities offer tons of events (with free food, may I add) for students to attend. Yeah, they may be lame sometimes, but if you get a group of friends to go and be silly with, you’ll have a great time and maybe even meet cool new people. Basically, take advantage of everything free you can get, cause you’re sure paying enough in tuition! Make sure to take a pic or two for Instagram, so everyone knows you went.
3. Work hard
Okay, this one should be self-explanatory. But, honestly it’s pathetic how many friends I have that are constantly missing assignments because of laziness. Guys, just buckle down and do your work- you’ll be pleasantly surprised how fast you can get a paper done while listening to I Want it That Way and Hannah Montana. Plus, the bonus to getting work done when you need to is that you can actually enjoy your free time- without worrying about an assignment looming over your head. Who wants to turn down the cute guy/girl cause you have press releases to right? Not me.
4. Take every opportunity to socialize
This may sound like it’s conflicting with my last point, but I don’t mean for it to. If you’re not doing pressing work, and some friends want to make a Taco Bell run, go! We miss out on so many fun outings, bonding times, and future memories because we are either a) lazy, b) doing work we should’ve already done, or c) not wanting to be social. I didn’t do much branching out my freshman year, because I went to school with two of my best friends. Looking back, and now a stranger at school in an entirely different state, I wish I had gone out more when people asked. Hey, hindsight is 20/20, right?
5. Don’t obsess over guys/girls
This should be a no-brainer for any classy lady or gentleman, but tall boys with cute smiles (or pretty girls) can make us forget a lot, huh? This is especially important for freshmen. PSA freshmen girls: that guy you’re flirting with now (that probably flirts with every other girl in class) is probably not going to be your future husband. Don’t spend 24/7 with any guy or girl that isn’t committed to you. You shouldn’t spend all your time with a significant other because you’ll lose out on a lot of awesome relationships with other girls and guys. And knock on wood, but if you and your beau split up, and you haven’t made any other friends, what are you going to do? You’ll be way more likely to crawl back to the one who broke your heart- which is never a good thing.
6. Have school pride
Whether you go to a school of 500 or 50,000. Whether you’re an athlete or a Pre-Med major – LOVE YOUR SCHOOL. Even if you hate your school, love your school. You’re spending four years (hopefully) of your life there, after all.
7. Have alone time
This is probably one of the most important things I do at school. At college, you are constantly surrounded (and annoyed) by people. Sure, sometimes it’s great! Other times; however, you just want to be alone and think to yourself, but it’s hard to escape with a talkative roommate or friend. A lot of people (girls notoriously) hate spending time alone. They think it’s awkward and weird. FYI, it’s not. It’s the best. It’s said that you have to be able to be comfortable alone before you can be fully confident and comfortable around others. Now, I’m not saying you have to go on a dinner date with yourself, but just trying a few normal activities alone can be a real breath of fresh air. Learn to be your own best company! Some of my favorite things to do alone are: hiking, shopping, going to the beach, exercising, and getting coffee. Try one! You’ll feel so I-n-d-e-p-e-n-d-e-n-t.
8. Don’t create borrowing habits
This goes both ways. Don’t set precedents of letting people borrow your things- especially your valuables! Once in a while is not a big deal, but if you have a friend who constantly needs clothes or money, cut it off! Also, don’t become “that friend” that constantly borrows from everyone- no one likes that. In fact, we hate it.
9. Educate yourself
You’re probably thinking you are by being in school, but I’m talking about educating yourself outside the classroom. For starters, watch the news! If you can’t watch, read online. I can’t tell you how many folks my age I’ve talked to that didn’t know about the government shutdown. I mean, come on! Girls: guys like witty, educated girls. Don’t be the girl who doesn’t understand the joke because she doesn’t know what’s going on in the world. Do outside or pleasure reading… And no, magazines don’t count.
10. Don’t stress the future, but don’t blow off the present
This is one of the hardest ones for me to apply. We have to choose our major within our first two years of school (choosing what we think we want to do with the rest of our lives), that’s crazy! I mean, it’s great if you know exactly what you want to do and have a 5-year plan; however, some of us (me) have no earthly idea where our lives will take us, and are just trying to prepare as best as possible. GOOD NEWS- we don’t have to know everything just yet! Most people don’t even end up working in the same field as what they got their degree in – sigh of relief if you don’t like your major. Taking the pressure of the future off myself is one of the best things I’ve ever done- although, it never entirely goes away. Which is good, because my last point is making sure we don’t blow off the present because we think we don’t have to worry about the future – big mistake. These are formative years; especially if you want to go to grad school- what you do now does matter. So while we shouldn’t give ourselves grey hair over not knowing where we’ll intern, we should be preparing ourselves as best as possible for the future we want.