5 Things I Wish I Knew Entering College

Fresh out of high school, I did not have any idea what college was really going to be like. Of course, I knew I would go to school and I assumed that life would just be the same with more responsibility. Which is true, however, there was a lot more to it than I really had expected. I have learned a lot and I wish I could say I went about it gracefully, but I didn’t. I have decided on five things to touch on that I felt are hard truths. 

  1. 1. Gaining responsibility

    I’m sure everyone has a different sense of responsibility and carry stress differently as well. When I got out of high school, I was a bit clueless about all the responsibilities of an adult. The first step of gaining responsibility is to get a job. The second step of gaining responsibility is to not spend hard earned money on frivolous things— something I still struggle with to this day. The third step of gaining responsibility is to SAVE, SAVE, SAVE! Saving money for your future is so beneficial. These are only a few responsibilities of being completely independent, but they are crucial!

  2. 2. Social life

    Your social life is going to change. As you begin to really find who you are, it is important to remember a cardinal life rule— surround yourself with people whom you want to be like. If you want to get good grades, then surround yourself with people who get good grades. If you want to be a socialite, you’re going to surround yourself with people who are socialites! College is all about the experience you make it to be. There are so many clubs and organizations you can sign up for, many extracurricular activities to be a part of, but if you just want to focus on school that is perfectly fine too. I would suggest, however, to be a part of something that would look good on future applications after graduation. Because it’s winter in Alaska about eight months out of the year, it’s good to surround yourself with people you share interests with to help endure the dark winter months. 

  3. 3. Time management

    As you get older, you’ll realize that there is not enough time during the day. That being said, no matter how crazy your schedule may be, you can get the most bang for your buck if you can manage to get up a bit earlier. Managing your time wisely means creating a schedule for yourself that you can follow. I like to use a planner to help myself visualize the free time I have that can be used for things I need to do. Procrastinating is the worst habit to have because in the end you could have avoided so much stress if you would have just planned (and stuck to it). To make sure I stay on track with school I enjoy studying at the Murie Building or the Rasmuson Library at the Fairbanks campus. UAF has a lot of different study areas in each building, but if you need a quiet area definitely check out the different quiet floors at the library.

  4. 4. Relationships & love

    In college the best relationship you can have is with yourself. Find yourself and love yourself and don’t worry about other relationships more than the one with yourself. The hard truth is that you’re going to lose some friends during college and you are likely to experience heartache from an ended relationship as well. The silver lining is that you are also going to find really great friends during college while simultaneously learning about yourself! I have met some of the greatest friends through having class and/or lab with them. College is a great time to be open to meeting new people. 

  5. 5. The unknown

    Whether you are just entering college or currently enrolled, the thought of the future could be overwhelming. You might be panicking internally because you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing. That’s totally okay because truth be told, I don’t think anyone really knows what they’re doing. It helps to know that you’re not alone! No matter how scary the unknown may seem, it really does not have to be. You can achieve great things as long as you do not give up! Rest assured because the unknown is what you make of it!

The key to knowing what you want in life is to understand who you are. I have found that meditating and doing things I really enjoy help me to stay motivated and happy. All of the UA campuses offer many extracurricular classes that are enjoyable (and for credit) like yoga! Taking fun classes can help you decompress and not stress too much. Try to relax and take care of yourself in the present time and it will surely help ease your thought about the unknown future.