College is a dream come true for so many of us. It's a fresh start, and gives you the chance to create your life from the second you step foot on campus. You'll get involved in all sorts of activities and clubs, and meet a bunch of new people. Once graduation rolls around, you'll miss college life more than ever, but realize that it's still a crucial part of your story. To be honest, some of the
best decisions I ever made in college changed my whole life. Four years truly turned into forever.
I remember my first day of freshman year like it was yesterday. I packed up my backpack and said, "See you later," to my roommates. Grabbing coffee on the way to class was necessary, even though the lines in the cafeteria were through the doors. The professor introduced herself and told us her extensive background in art history. I daydreamed from my seat about studying abroad in a beautiful place like Florence, Italy, where textbooks truly came to life.
Little did I know that those four years would be filled with lots of memories and episodes of
Chopped on Food Network. Every Saturday morning, my friends and I ate breakfast sandwiches on the couch and talked about our weekend plans. Those girls remained in my life years after graduation. (Seriously, the group chats are still going strong.) Sure, we all made some mistakes, but also some of the best decisions ever in college. These seven choices changed my life, as dramatic as it may sound.
As a freshmen, I knew that recruitment was something I wanted to do. What I didn't know is that I'd meet one of my best friends on the first day, just because we were standing next to each other in line. We found one organization that we were passionate about, and both got a bid. Within the next four years, we found even more forever friends and made memories that were sealed in Polaroid pictures at formal events. (*Cue all the cheese.*)
Being part of Greek life isn't for everyone, but it's definitely a great way to get involved. Campus felt so much smaller when I found girls who were just like me, and they'll always be an important part of my life.
Going into college, you may think that you need to have it all figured out. You're supposed to know exactly what you're passionate about, and take classes that will drive you into a certain field — right? Well, that's
so not the case. What they don't tell you is that a ton of people change their major, or even transfer schools. It's normal and all part of the experience.
During my sophomore year, I switched from a basic media studies major to journalism. This changed everything for me, and put me into classes that felt so interesting and worth my while. I started participating in discussions about popular culture, and was introduced to video editing programs. Without making that change, it may have taken me years to discover and learn what I know now.
Studying abroad is by far the best decision I ever made in college. (You'll likely hear that from most of the students who took an entire semester to live in another land.) Since I was a freshmen, I thought about going across the pond, because my older brother had done the same a few summers back. When junior year came around, I packed up my suitcase and hopped on the plane.
There's truly nothing like surrounding yourself in another culture and exploring different parts of the world for the very first time. Prior to my semester abroad, I did some traveling, but this was an entirely different experience. I found myself wandering down the artsy streets of Florence, and fell in love with
checking dreamy things off my bucket list. A few years after graduation, I'm still catching flights as much as I can.
At some point, you need to take your life into your own hands. You have to put aside the books and syllabi, and figure out what you really want to be doing when these four years are all said and done. College is a unique time, because you have so much space and energy to explore your passions and try something new. Your world gets bigger from the second you step foot on campus, and the possibilities become endless.
When I realized this for myself, I started working on a side hustle. I built a website, sold art prints, and wrote as much as possible in my spare time. These are all things that I couldn't get out of class or from spending hours in the library, and launched me into my career later on. It was all very
Girl Boss-esque, and I wouldn't trade it for the world. 05
Finding My Own Internship
Aside from starting my own side hustle, I was persistent in college about finding my own internship. Although my program had great connections into all kinds of opportunities, they just didn't seem like a good fit for me. So, I took matters into my own hands and landed myself a position in my desired field.
My professors were amazing at keeping me on course, and networking was key. I worked hard on resumés and cover letters for weeks, and then had a phone interview. To this day, that internship is one of my favorite parts of my college experience, even if my advisor didn't think it was the best choice. You have to go with your gut.
Choosing to follow my inner compass was one of my best decisions. 06
Staying Close To My True Friends
Friends sort of come and go in college. It's natural, because everybody is on their own path to success. You might get close to your roommates, and then live with a whole different group of girls the following year. Finding your true friends and then staying close to them is key.
One of my best decisions was giving myself time to figure out where I fit in. By the time senior year came around, I was living with my best friends and having way too much fun shopping in the local grocery store. Sometimes, everything doesn't fall into place right away, but you'll get to where you want to be. Just know there are girls out there who will keep your pinky promises until the end, and bond with you over something as simple as fried potatoes.
Not Getting Over-Involved In Campus Activities
The first few weeks of college, most of the people you run into will be very persistent about "getting involved." They'll tell you to join certain clubs, or reach out to the captain of the dance team. It's honestly a great way to build some connections on campus and make new friends. But, there is a such thing as getting
too involved, which I learned the hard way.
One of the best decisions I made in college was to back off from activities that weren't a good fit and focus on what I loved. Truth is, you'll spread yourself too thin, and need to
put your priorities into place. You can't do it all, and should enjoy every moment while you're in college. Don't just rush to your next commitment. Soak up these four years that'll have an impact on the rest of your life.