Back-to-School season is in full-swing, and although I’m long graduated from both high school & college, I still feel a familiarity in the air and the urge to buy school supplies.
Both my younger sisters head back for their 2nd and last year (!!!) of college, respectively, today and it got me thinking about my own college experience, what I learned, what I missed, and what I certainly do not miss. (2 jobs, an internship, and 18 credit hours. Never again.) So in the spirit of my sisters not always loving me trying to impart my big sister wisdom on them, I thought I’d share my thoughts with the rest of the free world.
It seems tough, but it gets better
This is a cliche as old as time, but it’s actually true here. When I first started college, I had no idea what I wanted to major in, no idea how to live on my own, and no idea how to balance my suddenly super unstructured lifestyle. Eventually though, I found my groove. I learned that if I wanted to keep my scholarship, I’d make studying a priority. If I wanted to eat, I’d go to work. If I liked having running water, I’d pay the bills. Your fight or flight instincts will always take over and suddenly you’re wondering what you were so worried about anyway.
Take care of yourself
Of course school and work are important, but so is your health, both physical and mental. So many college students get stressed out & their health really takes a toll. I know mine did. My anxiety was at its height in college. I learned quickly to take advantage of the free counseling services and health clinics that most colleges provide. You can schedule appointments around your school schedule and of course, saving $$$ is always a bonus. Also, FOMO is so real in college. Unlike high school, your course schedules don’t always match up with your friends, so while they’re Snapchatting pictures from the Kendrick Lamar concert, you might be holed up in the library cramming for tomorrow’s history exam. Don’t let the FOMO get you down & make the most of the free time you do have. Quality of free time activities > quantity of activities accomplished.
You actually have to study
In high school, I didn’t really have to study. When I got to college, I quickly realized that I didn’t have any studying skills. For my first semester, I let it panic me. I actually ended up in the free clinic with a caffeine overdose from trying to cram for my biology exam. I had to find things that worked for me, that weren’t going to send me into an early onset heart attack. For me, notecards & highlighters were the move. I probably should have bought stock in Post-It for all the notecards I was going through. Find a study tactic that works for you & use it. It will be your college bff.
You don’t have to be friends with everyone
Speaking of BFF’s, you don’t have to be friends with everyone in college. Not to say you shouldn’t be friendly towards people, but unlike high school, you don’t see the same people every day depending on the size of your university. If there’s a girl who’s mean to you, ignore her. If someone is toxic for you, don’t surround yourself with people like them. In college, I learned it’s best to stay open. Be open to people that may have not been in your clique in high school, be open to forgiving that high school bully should you guys end up at the same university. If you stay open, you never know what friendships you’ll find.
My very proud parents bombarding me with hugs on my college graduation day.
Good luck to everyone starting school this year! And if you’re at KSU, go have a bowl of soft-serve in the Commons for me. Go Owls!