Going to college is definitely a life-changing experience. It is an opportunity for you to grow as a student, but more so as a person. You take classes to learn about history and quantum physics, but there is so much you learn, both in and out of the classroom. Here are 10 lessons you learn in college.
1. It’s about more than your GPA/resume.
Grades and professional experiences are important and relevant, but potential employers need to see more than that before they hire someone. A well-rounded individual who has a the ability to think for himself, question what is established as the norm and hold an intelligent conversation is much more interesting than someone who is excellent academically but seems lost or uneasy outside of a lecture hall. Job interviews are about showing who you are as a whole, never go into one thinking you don’t have a shot because of your GPA.
2. Being tired is actually good.
A recurring theme when talking about college students is how they’re constantly exhausted and have no time for anything. This is a great problem to have. It may seem hard to juggle between classes, friends, clubs and everything else, but that is part of the learning process. You’ll start to realize quickly that college flies by and you only get this chance once, so do everything you can with it.
3. Staying open-minded will make you a better person.
Regardless of which school you go to, you’ll have a chance to meet drastically different people from all over the world. Not saying you need to become best friends with everyone, but you can learn a lot from simply talking to people and asking questions. You’ll learn about them, but more so about yourself. These people, whether fellow students, professors or staff members will equally learn from speaking with you.
4. There are few better habits than fully trusting yourself.
Throughout your college experience you’ll be exposed to a ton of different people, beliefs, lifestyles and opinions. College campuses are often vibrant settings of activism and discussion. While being open to all of that, don’t forget that you’re entitled to your own views and don’t afraid to disagree with people. Inform yourself, but stay true to what you believe because at the end of the day, that’s all that matters. Saying no to something because you just don’t want to starts becoming pretty easy.
5. You have the power to make it as fun as you want.
It doesn’t matter if you go to a party school or not, there’s always a way to have fun while you’re in college. People tend to complain about the party scene and circumstances but the grass isn’t always greener on someone else’s campus. If there is something you don’t like about your school, the only thing you can do is find something you do like and get involved. Outside of parties, explore the nearest big city or the town where your school is. Get involved both on and off campus. You’d have to try really hard to be bored for four years.
6. Nothing compares to your roots.
Once you leave for college and get attached to your new friends and surroundings, it’ll be easy to treat home as an afterthought. While it’s good to move on and adjust to where you are, you’ll learn quickly that it’s important to keep some contact with everyone at home. Nothing beats the smell of a home-cooked dinner, the goofy way your dad laughs and that milkshake from the diner on the corner of Main St.
7. There is life after college, and it is a much bigger picture.
No matter how fun and life-changing college can be, always keep in mind that it’s just a temporary stop. You don’t have to know exactly what you want to after graduation, or even next semester, but that’s not an excuse to see what opportunities there are for you. This will start becoming clear when everyone around you is landing their dream internships and planning their semester in Australia. It hits you hard when you realize you actually have a future to plan for.
8. It’s fun being in charge of something.
You kept hearing about how you need to hold leadership positions from guidance counselors or your parents throughout high school. This remains true for your college experience. You’ll learn a lot through these responsibilities and potential employers will see that there’s more to you than just taking notes or memorizing group presentations. Being on the executive board of a club, starting your own or writing for the campus newspaper are great examples.
9. Traveling will make you smarter, happier and more successful.
There are reasons why study abroad programs and summers away are offered and encouraged at colleges. They enrich your mind and your spirit. It might be hard to save and seem like a pain to plan for, but once you graduate and get a full-time job, you’ll have little to no time for these experiences. Even if it is just a long weekend a few states away, take the chance if you have it.
10. This time only happens once in your life.
You’re going to hear the overused “best four years of your life” many times throughout your college experience, and you’ll learn that there is some truth to it. College is a blast overall and four years will pass crazy fast. You are very fortunate to have this opportunity So, turn mistakes into valuable lessons and experiences, use successes as motivation and guidance to figure out what comes next and live in every moment you’re in.
Alexandra Smith is majoring in Psychology, with a minor in Creative Writing. In her free time, she enjoys running, hanging out with family friends, and roaming the world with her camera in hand.