Although it is true that most, if not all, of us have 20/20 hindsight and are keen on the coulda, woulda, shouldas of life, one significant chapter of my life still tortures me: college.
I look back now and think about how full of life and naive I was going into college, filling my ears with imaginary cotton balls -- choosing not heed anyone's advice -- and solely intent on having fun and studying.
As I now reflect on college life from the real world — whatever that may be — I want to share some advice for current undergrads and future college students that I should have taken:
1. Save Your Money For Graduate School
Boy, oh boy, what I wouldn't do to go back in time and not cosign my private student loans. I will be a slave to my debt for the rest of my life (or whatever the life of the loans are).
To say I should have listened to my parents and high school college counselor and gone to a public university (which is a fraction of the cost and often yields a better education) is an understatement. If you must incur loans, make a cost-effective undergraduate choice and save your money for graduate school.
2. Where You Go To School Doesn't Matter
Unless you went to Harvard or another Ivy League school, what matters when you go on an interview is you, not your school.
For the most part, college is college and having connections is what will get your foot in the door. A little hard work never hurt, either.
3. College Stresses Will Not Prepare You For Real World Stresses
During college, did you miss class because you were hungover or did you stay up all night cramming for finals? (I was never able to pull off that one.) Was your roommate a pain in the ass? Did you have a hard time meeting deadlines?
Well, boo hoo. Now, you have real deadlines that come with very serious consequences. Now, your roommate stresses are about making sure he or she pays rent on time.
4. Manage Your Finances Now
Looking back, I wish my school offered a class on how to budget your money and warn you about the dangers of credit cards.
Then I think, why would they do that? They have already robbed me of tens of thousands of dollars, leaving me reliant on credit cards. No matter what, make sure you keep yourself on a budget now to prepare yourself for post-graduate life, when you’ll really need to be on a budget.
5. Dating In College Is Awesome
Although I did not attend college during the Tinder age, I had my fair share of what I call “fun.” While in college, I met some very interesting and very uncomplicated guys.
If something didn't work out, the reasons for the relationship demise were not as complicated as they are now. Once leaving the confines of college, relationships become much more layered, complicated and serious. Relationships (of any kind) are much lighter in college than in real life. Enjoy it while you can.
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