So the time has come. In one to two weeks you will be crossing that stage. Your cap and gown on, your family happily cheering you on from the stands, as you take the diploma that will lead you out of adolescence and catapult you into semi-adulthood (Semi because we most often still depend on our parents, we just have a lot more freedom).
For some of you, that thought it is relieving. You’ve been waiting for this moment your whole life. Finally free to do whatever you want, without your parent’s permission.
No more being forced to spend 6 hours in a hell hole.
Others of you are mixed with a sense of nostalgia and fear. This place is comforting. You have your friends, you know where everything is, and your parents are there to provide for you and protect you all the time.
I’ve been there.
This time is scary, even for the one that is excited to jump in head first.
So today, if you are taking the college route. I would love to offer you some tips to keep in mind when entering this new stage in your life.
These are things that I would have loved for someone to have told me before I went to college, and I hope that you can benefit from them:
It’s totally okay if you don’t know what you want to do for the rest of your life. The thing is, don’t waste the opportunity to figure out what that is.
Every college has required classes you have to take. These can include science, maths, fine arts, etc.
Take as many different ones as you can.
Submerge yourself in the classes you take and allow yourself to truly learn and understand. Not only might you find your passion there but you will become a well-rounded person.
Don’t be afraid to experience new things. No, I’m definitely not saying drugs, alcohol or any harmful things.
But try out different clubs, go to activities that seem interesting but are out of your comfort zone.
Let yourself be challenged, it leads to growth, and I promise you growth may be uncomfortable for a bit but it feels so good in the long run.
It’s so easy to hide. Don’t do it. Whether you are commuting or living on campus, it’s easy to go to class, and then go home, or go to class and go straight to your room.
Trust me you’ll regret it in the end if you don’t make an effort now to step out of your comfort zone and meet new people.
To the commuter, it’s hard, I’m not going to lie. I did it for so long, but I can truthfully promise you it’s worth it. If you can afford it, get a meal plan, eat on campus and socialize. Join a club or two. You might meet some really awesome people.
To the resident, it’s right there, right in front of you, don’t let it pass you by. Hang out in the lounge, go to on campus activities, talk to your floor mates. You might meet some really awesome people.
Although I have encouraged you to be open to new things and to step out of your comfort zone, that doesn’t mean you should completely change who you are to fit in.
It’s one thing to be open to new experiences and another thing to let the pressure of what people will think or say about you cause you to change who you are.
Stay true to who you are. Yes, allow yourself to grow and mature. No, don’t change to be liked by others.
Get fit. It’s so easy to eat whatever you want, you’ll have a meal plan and everything good and bad will be set right before you.
The choice is totally yours.
But, let me tell you the “Freshmen 15” are real. Yes, you will gain 15+ pounds if you choose to eat all the chicken and fries and chips you can (been there done that).
But I promise you, your body and your mind will thank you in the long run if you don’t
So, join the gym if you can or watch fitness videos on YouTube if you can’t. The benefits of getting fit so much more outway the temporary pain you feel trying to get there.
Try not to lose sleep about lost friendships/relationships. I’m sorry to say this but it’s bound to happen (although I hope it doesn’t).
People change, you will too.
Yes, keep in touch, facebook message each other, text but understand that this stage is overwhelming. You will meet new people, try new things, be so wrapped up in a new world that you might not have time for your old one. Be aware of that, and don’t let it destroy you.
Especially for the college resident.
Keep in touch with your parents.
They will totally miss you. This is just as new for them as it is for you. So call them every once in a while. Maybe once or twice a week. Whether it’s just to fill them in or catch up or ask for advice. Call them. You will both benefit from it.
Again, for the college resident.
Yes, you will miss your parents, your friends, your pets,etc.
Don’t go home every weekend.
Especially not the first month of school. This is the time when it’s easiest to make friends with your roommate, with your dorm mates. So stay. Endure. And in the words of the late Whitney Houston, “You will survive!”
So dear friend, please do not fret.
Yes, this stage is scary right now, yes you will lose friends, change your mind about what you want to do probably like 10x a day, and find you really dislike some of your roommates. BUT it can actually be one of the best times of your life if you allow it to.
Step out of your comfort zone, and enter into this new stage with your head high, ready to have the best ride of your life.
Love you guys!