The Most Important Things You Actually Walk Away From College With

by Ashley Fern

College is one of the most amazingly unique experiences you will have throughout the course of your life. You will learn things here that no other setting or situation allows for. Your sense of street smarts will develop and be put to the test. This is the place where you will learn to navigate all different types of relationships -- platonic and romantic. You will meet people from all different backgrounds who will expose you to new things. Take advantage of this great time.

Let’s look into 10 of the most important lessons college will teach you:

1. The Importance Of Privacy In Relationships

Regardless of whether you had a high school relationship or not -- you're not prepared for the world of dating in college. No matter how privately you think you are behaving, there is always someone watching. You have to be exceedingly careful with how you conduct your relationship for this reason. As you venture through college, you will become more aware of how crucial this actually is. As much as people blackout and forget things, it's quite difficult to forget witnessing a full-blown war between a couple.

If you date someone your own age, your circle of friends will more than likely overlap. This puts another kind of pressure on the relationship itself. The partying and drinking culture will more than likely pose a problem. Try to keep the issues between you and your partner between you and your partner. The more people who know the inner workings of said relationship, the more room for speculation. You want to keep an air of mystery around your love life. Don’t give people something to gossip about.

2. Going Abroad Is Everything It's Cracked Up To Be

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity that needs to be taken advantage of if possible. Immersing yourself in another culture will broaden your views and expose you to another way of life. Interacting with people of varying nationalities will teach you how to communicate across cultures and will help you to develop an appreciation for traditions that differ from your own.

3. All-Nighters Aren’t Worth It

It's in your best interest to plan out studying for an exam or writing a research paper. As often and as common as all-nighters are, they will only make you feel like sh*t. There’s a point where your brain will stop retaining information if it's put to work for more than 8 hours daily. We all know how to fuel all-nighters: coffee and Adderall. As much as this little pill is wonderful, the side effects it causes are most definitely not worth experiencing.

The headache and the moodiness are enough to make you never want to pop this pill ever again. It is much more beneficial to plan out a study schedule and to start studying as early as possible. Procrastination will cause endless amounts of stress and college is already a stressful environment.

4. How To Black Out The Right Way

College teaches you this lesson the hard way. Everyone knows how vital drinking is in the world of college, so you don’t want to end up as that person who always needs a babysitter. No one will want to hang out with you and you just make yourself look like a fool. When you go out in the future with your co-workers, you need to learn how to pace yourself. Corporate social events are plentiful in the future, so this is truly a lifelong skill.

It’s not a good look to enter your 20s and not remember the events of the previous night. This is a sign of immaturity and no one wants to hook up with or date a person who can’t hold his or her liquor. Also it's not fun to hang with someone who doesn’t understand the proper way to drink. Here’s a life tip -- stop taking shots. I know this sounds lame, but you can pace yourself a lot better this way.

5. The “Lifelong” Friendships You Make Aren’t Actually Lifelong

Maybe you went to college thinking that you would meet people who would be in your life forever. You join a fraternity or sorority and think you have just gained 80+ “brothers” and “sisters.” These may be the people you are closest to in college by proximity, but this doesn’t guarantee these friendships. Just because you are in the same organization does not ensure that your personalities will match up perfectly. There’s no way to get along with that many people, especially when you are together essentially 24/7.

6. The Difference Between Fun Friends And Real Friends

Whether you realize this or not, your friends are going to fall into one of two categories: party friends and real friends. This doesn’t mean your fun friends can’t be real or your real friends can’t be fun, this just means there's one type of person you go to with your innermost secrets and problems and there's another you hit up for tequila shots. People in your life will serve different purposes, just as your friends will. College is the time where you are exposed to the most amount of people that have the potential to be your friends. Find the person you want to become by exposing yourself to all different sorts of people, every chance you get.

7. Keeping In Touch Is Harder Than You Think

Thanksgiving vacation, Christmas vacation and summer vacation give you a little taste of how difficult it actually is to keep in touch with your college friends. Typically your friends are dispersed all over the country, so in-person visits become scarce. Technology helps us bridge this gap, but there are only so many times you can text your friend, telling them you miss them, before it becomes redundant and overused. In-person interaction is completely different than via technology. After graduation, this becomes even harder. The breaks between visits become increasingly longer, especially after you begin working.

8. Your Major May Have No Relevance To Your Career Choice

The classes you take towards your degree in college are in your area of interest. Within those interests are the remedial, general education requirements. None of that sh*t is going to pertain to any industry you will ever enter. You really think anything you learned is going to benefit you in the real world? Come on now. How many stupid classes have you taken or will you take?

Of course there will be certain classes where you will learn things you will take into the working world, but a significant amount will be wasted in irrelevant classes. This is just the way college works. It’s an enterprise just like any other business. As pointless as these classes may be, there is a breath of fresh air from the more difficult, major requirements.

9. You Can Bullsh*t Your Way Through Anything

If you really work at it, you can manipulate any situation with your mannerisms. At one point in college you’re going to bomb an assignment or a test or forget to turn a paper in on time. You may have a conflict, aka Spring Break, and you will need to weasel your way out of a deadline. Getting an extension on any project is a lot easier than it seems.

As long as you are nice, confident and emphasize your dilemma to your instructor, you are probably good to go. The more uncomfortable an excuse you provide, the less likely you are to be questioned -- keep that in mind for the future.

10. Your G.P.A. Isn’t The Most Important Statistic

As much as your grades are important for your future, they are not the determining factor of a career or admission into a secondary education institution. Both sectors want to give opportunities to people who demonstrate impeccable moral character and other personality traits/qualifications pertaining to the industry. Many graduate school options also look at standardized test scores, such as the MCAT and LSAT. While a solid G.P.A will help your future, it cannot be the sole determinant. So that random C you got on one exam back in sophomore year, don’t worry about it.