College Life

10 Things I Wish Someone Taught Me Before Going To College

I was the type of person who flew into college just wanting to escape high school, knowing that there were bigger and better things out there. Finally, the time came to go to college, but once I was there, I realized I actually had no idea how to live a completely independent life. The idea of it all seemed so simple, but the reality was so much more than I ever imagined. That being said, here are 10 things that I wish someone taught me before going to college.

1. How to write an email.

Well really how to write anything that involves adulting. How was I supposed to know what to say and how to say it? I wish someone taught me me how to make a phone call without sounding like an awkward idiot, draft a letter without sounding like a full-on robot or even address a professor without sounding like a child. Are you supposed to use their full title, what if you aren’t sure what their title even is? Why are just first names so informal? Is it okay to email just one sentence? If someone would have told me basic email etiquette before going to college, the transition would have been much easier.

2. The detriment of skipping class.

I made this mistake my first semester of college, and once I started I really couldn’t stop. Maybe it was just bad luck, but somehow on each and every one of those skip days there was always an assignment assigned or a pop quiz given. If you don’t have to skip class it’s not worth it. The more classes you skip, the more of a habit it becomes and the easier it is to convince yourself that it’s okay, so don’t fall into that trap.

3. The importance of joining a club.

Seriously, join a group, any group, right away! There are many groups you can join on campus so rest assured you will find something you want to do. Joining a group can really help you find friends right away. If i had known this before going to college, I would have definitely joined a club as soon as I got here! You don’t even have to stay in the group, but finding people you like is totally worth it.

4. How to try to make friends.

Your classes may be bigger than your high school’s graduating class, so it can be hard to make friends. You also aren’t with the same people every single day, which makes it so much harder to get to know anyone. You may not magically become friends with people in an instant, it takes work and time to make friends. You may even hang out with a few people before you find the ones you’ll actually form lasting relationships with. But don’t be discouraged, not everyone finds their best friend in the first month of college, a lot of people don’t even meet their best friends in the first year of college.

5. The crucial need for a mental health day!

While it’s true you shouldn’t start skipping class (see point 2), a mental health day is different. If you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed and feel like tearing your hair out, take a mental health day. This is something you should know before going to college – not after dragging yourself through a full semester, teetering on the edge of insanity. A couple times a semester it is OKAY to skip your 8 AM and take a long shower instead. Lay in your bed for a few hours and de-stress with cookies. Take a little time to catch up on your homework if you are behind. Go to the gym if you are feeling sluggish. Do what you need to do to lift your spirits.

6. How to ditch the childish drama.

Many people assume that when you go to college you will leave all the childish drama behind. Everything will be different in college, they say, there won’t be any drama, they say. This assumption is completely wrong. You will still encounter drama and it will be just as petty. A lot of the people you meet will be just as immature as the ones in high school and many of them will need a lot more time to grow up before they are datable or friendable – know how to cut these people out of your life.

7. The balance of having fun and staying focused.

Before going to college, understand the importance of finding a balance between having fun and prioritizing your studies. And remember, fun doesn’t always have to come from a party, but on the other hand, a good party can be a great way to let loose. Don’t limit yourself when it comes to your smile!

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8. To take full advantage of your gym.

I cannot stress this enough. Exercising is so good for you! Many schools offer a free membership, so sign up and start going. Exercise helps with productivity and it releases endorphins, which are great for those feel-good moments. Going to the gym can make you feel great, and boost brain function – utilize the tools given to you and start going today.

9. Don’t be afraid to ask question, to everyone and anyone.

College can be hard, sometimes you’ll get assignments or emails requesting you to do something that you’ve never even heard of before. If you don’t understand ask your friends, or teachers or advisors. Your parents may not know the answer, but you can ask them too. If you have questions on your homework, don’t be afraid to go in and ask your teacher. If you don’t know how to sign up for the next year’s classes, talk to your advisor. Even if you have questions before going to college – there are people at your school willing to help! Trying to figure out everything on your own will just make college more stressful, and no one wants that.

10. How to deal with difficult roommates.

Some people are blessed with wonderful roommate, but for others, maintaining a relationship may be a struggle. It is all about compromise. If you like to sleep until 11 AM and they get up at 6AM, try setting up room quiet hours until 10 AM. But also don’t be afraid to specifically call them out on something that’s particularly bothering you (especially if it could get you in trouble). And just remember – it’s only ONE year.

The lesson learned here is that college is hard and being an adult is even harder. Just take the time to learn what works for you and you will make it through, I promise! Instead of smacking your head first week in to freshman year, wishing you knew these pieces of advice before going to college, talk to your parents now and ask for some tips! Like point number 9 says, never be afraid to ask questions.

Featured image source:
Trista Miller

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