College is often referred to as “the best years of your life” by people who have already “been there, done that,” but those four years can seem like a stressful mess at times. Whether you’ll be starting classes for the first time this fall or already halfway into your studies, you’ll wind up realizing that the 13 following things are oh so true.
1. You might think that they’ve gone crazy or have become totally unreasonable, but your parents are just concerned about your well-being. Keep an open mind while you listen to their side of the story. Sometimes they’re actually right even though you’re angry about the situation.
2. Friendships and romantic relationships can change a lot during college. You’ve changed a lot over the past couple of years, so it makes complete sense that your friends and boyfriends/girlfriends have, too.
As people change, their relationships with others change. It’s not always the case, but some friendships and romantic relationships end when people “outgrow” one another.
3. There’s no rule that says you have to go out or go to a party just because your friends are going. Partying and going out are two of the favorite aspects of college life for a lot of students. Even if you love getting dolled up and hitting the town with your friends, life goes on if you decide to skip the club or a party every now and then. Your friends might whine and beg or even get upset, but if you have something else to do, stand firm.
4. Keep in touch with your high school friends. Even if you’re living across the country from one another and even it’s just with occasional emails or Facebook messages, you’ll be glad that you did. Mail postcards from your college or your new town, send birthday and Christmas cards, and plan get-togethers when you know you’ll both be home from college. Better yet, if your schedules allow it, visit each other at school!
5. “This too shall pass.” Seemingly impossible projects, huge exams to study for, annoying roommates, classes led by professors you can’t stand, depressing breakups … plenty of things can happen during your college years that seem like the end of the world, but eventually you’ll get over them. Even life’s most horrific tragedies become easier to accept as time goes by.
6. Take advantage of the free stuff and discounts. College campuses are loaded with free opportunities that most people never take advantage of. Chances are, you won’t be able to get a discount on common purchases by flashing a card again until you trade that student ID for an AARP membership! (And one day, you’ll find all those free T-shirts that you got at campus events in the back of your closet and smile.)
7. Your choice of major is more important than you think it is. Dancing or sculpting (or anything else for that matter) may be your life’s passion, but keep in mind that your post-college career possibilities and earning potential could possibly be severely limited by your field of study. It’s true that some employers aren’t incredibly picky about your major as long as you have a degree, but unemployment rates and lifetime earnings can vary dramatically by choice of major or degree earned. Declaring a minor or a second major that corresponds with your passion is often a good idea—for example, business or communications if you plan on operating your own dance studio.
8. Be responsible for your own actions. When you were younger, you were able to fall back on your parents when you made major blunders. Now you’ve got to deal with things yourself, even if your parents are helping you out financially. If you want to be treated like an adult, you’ve got to act like one. If you screw up, step up to the plate and face the consequences.
9. Never, ever drink and drive or accept a ride from someone who has been drinking, even if it was “just a couple of beers.” According to MADD, someone is injured in a drunk driving accident about every ninety seconds and one in three people will be involved in a crash that involves alcohol during their lifetime. It’s just not worth the risk—spend the night where you are if it’s safe, or call a cab or friend to pick you up.
10. Asking for help is completely acceptable. There is absolutely nothing wrong with raising your hand during class, calling or emailing your instructor, joining a study group, or heading down to the tutoring center. You’re paying to be there—take advantage of the assistance that’s available.
11. A college education is expensive. Don’t waste it by ignoring assignments or skipping classes. If you’re paying for college with loans, you’ll be making payments with interest for a long, long time. Make sure you get the most for your money.
12. Making fun of people can come back to haunt you. Laughing at people’s silly mistakes might seem like fun, but chances are you made those same mistakes or will at some point in the future. You won’t like it when other people make fun of you, either. Oh, and that professor you love to mock? You’ll wind up in his or her classes and feel like an idiot when he or she calls you out on something during class.
13. Time flies when you’re having fun. You can’t even fathom it when you’re a lowly freshman, but four years really can pass at warp speed. All of this will be over in the blink of an eye, so make sure to enjoy it! You can’t go back and change the past, and no one wants to look back on their college life and wish they had done everything differently. Make every moment count!
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.
Have something to say? Feel free to add comments or additional information.