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College advice from a real life college kid

It’s that time of year again!

Summer is ending and recently graduated high schoolers are freaking out about college.

At least I was. I’m not joking. I got put on anxiety medicine AND had to wear a heart monitor because I stressed myself out so much about picking a school, picking a major, scholarships, financial aid, roommates, parking passes, scheduling my own classes, jobs, and OH MY GOD why did I have to graduate??????

If you know how that feels, this post is for you! Because maybe my past freak out can help keep your current one under control. Maybe.

I hope.

Here are all the things I wish I had known before starting college. 

  1. It’s actually not that different from high school. People always told me it was totally different, and I blindly believed them. It has differences, and major ones at that. But at the end of the day, school is still school. You know how to do school stuff… now you just have to walk more and sleep less.
  2. Your academic advisors can be your best friend or your worst nightmare. My first advisor is the reason I’m currently trying to catch up from my disaster of a first semester (more on this later). But my current advisor is great. She gets what I want to do, and will do anything she can to help.
  3. It’s totally okay to take a 13 minute nap in your car when you’re early for class.
  4. College professors do care about attendance. Most of my classes have had strict attendance policies, and you don’t want to be the person who never shows up because the professor will call you out. Show up to class unless you’re actually dying. (I once missed two consecutive days of my Civ class because I had my wisdom teeth removed and the professor refused to excuse me. True story and I hope you never have that professor.)
  5. Everyone wears pajamas to class. You can too!
  6. If you don’t know what to major in, chill out. Get some gen eds done and then decide later. Don’t do what I did. I decided I was going to be a doctor (HA!) and went pre-med biology, so naturally, my first semester was full of chemistry and bio classes. I called my mom crying after the second day of class and sobbed into the phone while babbling about how there was no way I could do it. So, if you’re not sure, (or if you live in fantasy land and think majoring in pre-med will look like Grey’s Anatomy episodes) don’t declare a major!!!!!!!! They can’t actually make you decide what you want to do for the rest of your life when you don’t even know how to schedule your own dentist appointments. You’ve got some time to figure both out. Chill.
  7. Roommates. UGH. Everyone dreads this part. Just don’t be a slob, clean your takeout boxes, buy your own tampons and don’t steal your roommate’s last one, and maybe, once in a while, get her a gift as a thank you for putting up with you in such close quarters. Also don’t talk on the phone at midnight in your bed. It’s annoying. *My roommate did none of these things and I thank her for that.
  8. Buy a good planner. Never used one? It’s time to start.
  9. Fire drills are the devil. Sleep in shorts. When the alarm goes off at 11:30 p.m. and you’re awakened from a nice sleep and herded down the stairs with 300 other students, you may forget to put pants on. Also, don’t take showers at night for this same reason. I can say that from experience. And if you’re one of those people who has to take showers at night, invest in a nice robe just in case.
  10. Textbooks in college are expensive! Don’t buy them until after the first day of classes, because sometimes your professors will tell you that you don’t actually need one. Go buy a new pair of shoes instead.
  11. Noise cancelling headphones are magical and can teleport you anywhere if you try hard enough.
  12. Don’t be that person who runs over people on a bike or skateboard. Everyone hates that person.
  13. Depending on your school, you may be overwhelmed with food choices or underwhelmed. Either way, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF! Mommy isn’t there to force you to eat, so it’s up to you. I’m not going to preach at you to eat normally, because I still don’t. My meal times are so screwed up it’s insane, BUT I eat relatively healthy most days. Cheese puffs, candy bars and gatorade is not dinner. Speaking from experience, you’ll hate yourself the next day (and your face will look horrible).
  14. Procrastination works for some people. Not for everyone. Figure out which category you fall into. I’m not going to tell you not to crank out a paper 4 hours before its due because my best grades are on papers written just like that.
  15. Professors aren’t as scary as you think they are.
  16. Coffee. Just coffee. (But don’t be Jordyn and drink so much you can’t make it through a 50 minute lecture without having to leave to go to the bathroom three times.)
  17. You will get lost for a good week on your first day. But here’s a clue: everyone was a Freshman at one point. We may huff a little bit if you ask for directions, but we’re not going to leave you standing there crying because you’ve got 5 minutes and can’t find your classroom. We may even be nice and take you under our wing… who knows.
  18. Call your mom. Just do it.
  19. Invest in a good umbrella and raincoat.
  20. It’s ok to stop talking to old friends. I think this is the biggest thing. I was told this but I didn’t listen because I didn’t want to lose those relationships. But you know what? I’m a totally different person now than I was in high school. I don’t attract the same people, and that’s okay. I found my tribe and I hope my old friends found theirs. You will find yours, just don’t be scared to look for them.

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