Labor Day is coming pretty early this year, and so summer is coming to a close. Admittedly, I’m very excited for summer to be over, as much as I do enjoy certain summer activities, I live for fall and winter. I’m beyond tired of feeling hot and sticky and like I need a shower about an hour after I shower. Now that the fair has passed, vacations have come and gone, and school is approaching, summer is coming to an end.
Even though I have been out of school for a semester, it still feels a little funny not starting up school this fall. It’s been a ritual my whole life that has ended. It’s pretty weird, too, because my baby sister is starting college this year. So since I feel like I got pretty good at the whole college thing, I thought I would pass down my knowledge to a new generation of college kids.
1. Get involved on campus.
Whether you’re interested in a sport of some sort, going Greek, or maybe getting into leadership, getting involved is one of the best things you can do during college. There are clubs for just about anything, and you’ll find people who like the same things you like. Any work you do for a club or what have you will feel a lot more worth it than that statistics class you had to take to finish off your general ed because you’re going to be doing work you’re passionate about. Plus, it’s no secret college isn’t cheap, so you might as well get your money’s worth.
2. Don’t worry- none of this is the end of the world.
There is a lot of pressure in college- between the fact that you’re probably working, the amount of homework and studying, and whatever else you get involved with, the amount of sleep is low and the amount of alcohol, stress, and tears tend to run high. You’re bound to make some mistakes- but it’s okay. That’s expected, don’t worry about them, just learn from them. Yes, this is the first serious step into adulthood, but it’s just the first step. None of this is the end of the world, you can always fix it!
3. Your teachers are real life adults who have also done this same thing.
Especially once you start focusing more on your major, your teachers can be your greatest friends and mentors. I went to a pretty small school and worked on campus, so I was very lucky to get pretty close to most of my teachers. I cannot recommend this more highly. I mean, I’ve always been a bit of a teachers pet, but in college you’ll get some really good advice from them. They know a thing or two about what you’re studying.
4. Learn as much as you can.
I know this seems intuitive, because it’s ya know, school, but when you have a test in bio, an essay due in English, and a project due the same week in film, it get’s pretty easy to just fake it on a few of those things. Which is fine, but remember why you’re in college in the first place. It’s to learn and be a more well rounded, educated person. Take as much in as you can!
5. You’re never alone.
It’s no secret college students have a heavy stress load, all of a sudden you are under a ton of pressure to be all different kinds of things. Mix that with the fact that most college students don’t sleep or take great care of their health. It’s easy to let all of this get the best of you, but just know that your friends are probably going through some of the same stuff and you might not know it unless you talk to them. If you don’t feel comfortable with that, I guarantee your health center has someone you can talk to. Just know, no matter how bad you feel, you are never completely alone.
6. Have a blast!
Seriously, you’re going to work hard, but you’re also going to play hard. Enjoy the freedom college gives. I miss being able to take personal days like crazy. If you’re smart about it, missing class from time to time is fine. Your teachers will tell you otherwise, but as long as you don’t let yourself get behind, know that it’s gonna be okay. Get some sleep if you haven’t all week. If you’ve moved to a new place for college, explore the city! Go to parties or school events and meet new friends. Get too drunk, this is the time in your life when it’s pretty socially acceptable. These four years ultimately are really about learning who you really are, and yes the class work is part of that, but the other part is out there in the real world. And for the first time ever, the world is open for you to explore. So go see it, and to quote the late, great Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society, “Carpe. Carpe diem….Make your lives extraordinary.”