Hint: Academics didn’t make this list.
1. You’re on your own
No one will be holding your hand through this experience. Get used to it. Your advisors are not there to register you for classes or create your life plan. They are there to advise you on what you should do. You have to decide what you will do.
2. All nighters are stupid
All nighters seem to be a staple in college. On Facebook people are all like “Yeah, pulled an all nighter and drank so much Red Bull!” This is bad for you. Don’t do it. I admit to doing it on several occasions (particularly around mid terms and finals weeks). Unless you’re doing it with friends to keep you awake and totally wired (in this case you probably aren’t getting anything done anyway), then you will end up writing something completely incoherent. I distinctly remember writing a paper that had a paragraph of nonsense that I was thinking about and didn’t realize I was actually writing it down. I was that tired!
3. Money doesn’t grow on trees
No, Seriously. It doesn’t. Learn how to budget the little money you have so you aren’t running to mom and dad for a loan. I wish I had been smart enough to figure this out.
Bonus tip: If you think you can afford something expensive, then you probably can’t!
4. Get a schedule
I cannot tell you how important it is to have some sort of a daily schedule for yourself. It really helps to know what you’re doing and when you’re doing it at least during the day. I preferred to keep my days really busy (i.e. homework, exercise, classes) so that my nights and weekends were mine to enjoy.
5. Work out
Just do it. Besides the freshmen 15 you have the chances of gaining you will be building up stress. Exercise of some sort helps with this. My sophomore year I went to a YMCA across the street from my campus and I would run or lift weights. My stress levels were a lot lower than the year before. I also succeeded in losing some of the 15 pounds I gained the year before.
6. Be involved
College is a hub of activities, clubs, and committees. Get yourself involved in one of them. Its a great way to be connected to your school and also find people that have the same interests as you. Plus, when you’re looking for summer internships (see next point) you will have something to put on your resume that says you are involved and dedicated.
7. Intern, intern, intern!
Internships are a God send. Sometimes. As long as they are paid (all of mine have been) and offer you substantive work to do then you have hit the jackpot. Don’t be afraid to branch out and go to knew places. You really don’t need to be at home with your high school buddies every summer. Just go and make something of yourself to improve your chances of being hired after college.
8. Read the textbook
I hate reading (thanks to college) but there are definitely times when I wished I had read the textbook. Particularly in my freshman year when I was fulfilling my general education requirements. I found that the best time for me to read was when I had gotten in my pjs for the night with a cup of hot cocoa or tea and just read. Not only did this slowly chip away at all the reading I had to do, it also helped me go to sleep a lot quicker because the material was so boring (bet you didn’t see that coming).
9. Build your professional wardrobe
After you graduate the world you will be entering is full of suits and pencil skirts. Prepare early. If you see something work appropriate on sale, buy it and save it for your not so far off future. If you do those internships I recommended, then you will be needing these a lot sooner!
10. Make memories
Don’t live your life in your dorm room. Get out, make friends, take pictures, and savor every last minute of this awesome time in your life. The college years (for most people) really are the best time in their life. It goes by so quickly. I know, everyone says that about something. But its so true. Have fun and live it up!
What were the 10 most important things you learned in college or even high school? Comment below!