Growing up, I was taught that if you didn't have good grades, you wouldn't get into college or have a future.
However, this didn't stop me from barely scraping by in high school before accepting admission at a tier 1 university.
As I sat in my dorm room, pretending to study for finals and packing up my little 12 x 12 life I shared with my roommate for the past school year, I couldn't help but think about how much I learned outside the classroom since August.
I so wish people would have told me about the true realities of college before I started.
Here's what I wish I knew ahead of time:
1. You will never actually get eight hours of sleep.
Trust me on this one: There were days when I slept for 20 straight hours and weeks when I slept four hours over the course of three days.
Late nights with your friends, your textbooks or with your Netflix account leads to a screwed up sleep schedule. My advice? Set alarms and stick to them.
You might be mad when you're waking up at 9 am on a Saturday, but you'll actually get to take advantage of the day.
2. Learn how to do laundry.
I cannot stress this enough! I was devoted to separating my colors for the first few months of college, but one late night during finals, I threw all my clothes into one washer at 3 am.
Pulling them out of the machine, I discovered several of my white shirts were tinted pale pink by red clothes, rendering them essentially unwearable.
Learn how to do your laundry before you actually move away for school so your friends and family can help you master the art before you get thrown in the deep end.
On that note, make sure you're there when your load ends because people will take your clothes out without your permission.
3. Keep an old Starbucks cup.
This probably sounds strange, but the next time you buy a grande mocha, wash out the cup and set it aside. Bring your cup to parties or large social gatherings and put your drink in it.
Using a reusable water bottle or another closed container works great, and as long as you do a reasonably good job of holding your cup at all times, people will have an extremely hard time putting something in it.
Whether you're drinking vodka or soda, the chances you'll get roofied are hopefully slim, but why put yourself in harm's way? Plus, a reusable water bottle looks way classier than a red Solo cup.
4. The golden rule of roommates.
If you're being assigned a random roommate, chances are you will have some kind of problem during your time together.
Living in a tiny room for an entire year can definitely build tension. Before you start screaming at your roommate for not making her bed, take a step back from the situation and think.
Getting frustrated with your roommate for small differences of opinion, such as fridge space or wall decorations, can lead to bigger problems.
If you accept early on that you will probably disagree at some point, you can decide to let the unimportant issues pass by without incident.
This will lead to a much happier and more peaceful time together. If your roommate decided to take residence on your bedspread, however, it’s time to sit down and have a chat.
5. Find your classes before they start.
Okay, let's be honest: You need to go to class to graduate college, and you can’t go to class if you can’t find your building.
The first day of classes, I was 20 minutes late to English because I genuinely couldn't find the building it was in.
Walking in late was mortifying for me, and the teacher never cared for me after the terrible first impression I left.
When second semester rolled around, my friends and I printed out class schedules and did a scavenger hunt to find our buildings the day before the semester started. We were pros after that.
6. Plan ahead for icebreakers.
You should try to meet as many people as possible on campus within the first few months. Orientations, club meetings and residence hall meetings will be full of icebreakers, so plan ahead.
Come up with a few creative facts about yourself, like “I rode an elephant last summer” or “ I met Jason Mraz on an elevator once.”
This way, you won't be the person no one can remember because your fact was “I like to read, I guess?”
7. Screw the comfort zone.
Take advantage of college! Whether you're at college to study, party, join the Greek system or take political charge, push the limits of your comfort zone.
Try clubs, smile at strangers or get a job on campus. Explore, challenge and discover what you're capable of. College is what you make of it, so make something incredible.