Entering college can be one of the scariest and most exhilarating points of your young life. It’s the mix of emotions, thoughts and expectations that are completely overwhelming.
Looking back, there are certain situations and decisions I could've and possibly would've made differently knowing what I know now. As they say, hindsight is always 20/20.
From the late-night eating habits we pick up to making friends, here's a list of just a few things real-life college grads would’ve done differently entering freshman year.
If you’re off to college for the first time, maybe you can learn from some of this firsthand advice. I can guarantee there are still plenty more mistakes for you to make on your own.
I was so nervous to look or sound stupid when trying to make friends. I wish I could tell myself to calm down and not worry about it. Making friends is so much easier when you’re comfortable with yourself. – Sam, 21
You have to remember that everyone is in the same boat as you. They’re all trying to meet new people, make friends, find out who it is they fit best with and how to meet them.
Just let friendships and relationships happen naturally. Forced friendships don’t last and they’ll just create more stress when you’re trying to create some sort of connection. I’m sorry for the cliché, but just be confident in who you are.
The right friends will come to you because they’re supposed to. I’m not saying to sit in your dorm room and literally wait for them to form a line outside your door, but just go into activities and class with a positive attitude. People are attracted to positive and confident energy. THAT’s when you’ll make your friends.
Trust your instincts and don’t just follow the crowd. – Bronwyn, 22
If you know partying isn’t your thing, you don’t have to party. Just because your roommate, all her friends, everyone in your class and the cafeteria lady are going to that frat party doesn’t mean you have to.
If you’re curious what all the hype is about, then no harm; check it out. If you know for a fact you’d just be sporting a fake smile in the corner next to the bathroom all night while drunk girls cry on your shoulder until you carry them home, then don’t feel forced to take part in something you aren’t interested in.
Use your time more wisely to explore other interests like that poetry reading or live band.
Take advantage of the convenient and free resources around you. They aren’t always that convenient and they’re almost never free. - Kelly, 22
When you go to college, the programs and services offered are one of the most overlooked advantages college students do not appreciate. Things such as free or discounted shows, concerts, health services, etc. are great things to attend and take advantage of on campus.
It isn’t until you’re paying for your own $1,500 trip to the doctor or $200 concert ticket that you realize how dumb it was not to go when it was offered at school. Students tend to think of the programs as lame and the services unnecessary because partying is top priority, and every now and again, you’ll fit in classes.
Looking back, do and see what you can for the free and discounted price the college offers. It’s not lame.
Order out less. You have a meal plan, dummy; stop wasting your money and ruining your waistline! – Kenny, 23
You’re finally out of the house and get to completely dictate what you eat. This is what leads to the all too familiar freshman 15, which then leads to your ordering-out habit.
It’s just oh-so-tempting when the dining hall seems so far away and it’s beginning to look like it might rain a bit. Why would you risk it when you can get dumplings and egg rolls delivered right to your front door? You don’t even have to put on a bra.
Make the walk; you’ve basically already paid for the dinner that is waiting for you in the cafeteria. It probably has more vegetables than all that fried Chinese you were going to order, too. Your wallet (or your parents’) and the scale will thank you in the end.
Pursue hobbies and interests that have nothing to do with your career. Personal development is equally important as professional development. Suppressing personal interests will make you less happy in the long run. - Chelsea, 23
A lot of people go to college with the mindset that it is four-year preparation for a career, and to a certain extent, that’s exactly what it is. You are learning and mastering the proper skillset and building a résumé to advance your career.
However, college is so much more than that. It’s about finding out who you are, not just professionally, but emotionally and personally, as well. The people you meet, the things you do and see, the failures and triumphs you have through college are what prepares you for the real world.
You aren’t always going to be working, so learn what else it is you love to do.
Face the challenges. When you tell yourself you’ll eventually get to something, you’d be surprised how quickly ‘eventually’ comes. – Jesse, 23
You go in thinking four years is an eternity. You’re only a freshman; the seniors are so much older and it’s going to be so long until you’re just like them.
So, you tell yourself you’ll eventually go to a football game (there’s, what, like, 100+ more opportunities?); you’ll eventually ask that guy out you’ve been crushing on in your econ class; you’ll eventually take the philosophy class that piqued your interest when you feel more prepared.
There aren’t as many opportunities left as you think. You may be young, with your whole life ahead of you, but take advantage of everything here and now.
Photo Courtesy: We Heart It