Guest Post: What I Wish I Knew Going into College
A nearby conversation caught my attention during a recent subway ride. Three gents were talking about starting their freshman years of college. My initial thought was, “Lucky.” After that, I got to thinking about how I was feeling at their age about my upcoming new life chapter.
Don’t take anything for granted. People say your time at college will be the fastest four years of your life. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but time only gets faster when you leave the bubble that is college and enter the “real world”. Go out on a Tuesday night. Skip a class to enjoy time on the quad with friends. (But don’t make a habit of it – as a “student always” words cannot express my jealousy for not being able to go into a classroom daily. Take full advantage.) Choose courses for a reason. And then throw in some for the heck of it. Read the class assignments not because you have it, but because you can see how it will benefit you.
Leave behind your comfort zone. As someone who took her sweet time adjusting to life at college, I urge you to jump in without any reservations. College is the most ideal time to work really hard, play really hard (sorry parents) and fail more times than you’d like to count. You have your entire life ahead to be a professional – now’s the time to try, fail and give that whole trying thing another go.
Contribute to the community. Donate to a cause. Host a fundraiser. Chalk the quad. Join a club. Start a club if they don’t have what you’re looking for. Introduce yourself to someone new in class. Write an opinion piece for the daily newspaper. Run for student office. Do something to get involved.
Take road trips. Visiting my friends on their campuses created memories that we still laugh about to this day. Make sure some of those trips bring you home to Mom and Dad. Aside from the perks like free laundry and home-cooked meals, you will find that your conversations with M&D have reached a new level. You’ll appreciate them even more and your relationship will only improve with age.
Create a loose life plan. There will be plenty of time for tailgates and nights out, but it is important to remember that college is not forever (sad, right?) and you will need to land a job one day. You don’t need to know exactly what you want to do when you grow up – I certainly didn’t at your age. Internships, job shadows and informational interviews will offer you great insights into the working world. Instead of focusing on the title/department, I looked for companies I thought I would look forward to going to every day…knowing that the workload would inevitably interest me.
To the college kids, what questions do you have? To everyone else, what did I miss?
Stephanie Florence is a 20-something who can talk to a brick wall and dance to a kazoo. She contributes to the 40:20 Vision as the Millennial Editor and on every day that ends in “y” you can find Stephanie meeting people, telling exceedingly long stories and taking the approach of a student…always. Find her dancing around New York City in her personalized Chuck Taylors, complete with her Twitter handle: @StephanieFlo.
Posted on July 10, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged create a life plan, falling into the comfort zone, going to college, Stephanie Florence, student always, taking life for granted. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.