Advice for College Students from a College Student

I’m not going giving you the conventional college tips you’ll find all over the internet. We all know that sitting in the front of the class holds you more accountable and that going to office hours to speak with your professor gives you more brownie points… I wanted to dive deeper than just the classroom because college isn’t just classes. College is an experience and it lays not only within, but outside the classrooms as well. So here’s the college tips that as a college student, I would deem to be the most important:

1. Stay in School

When you start trying to figure yourself out and what you’re going to do with your life, stress and anxiety can pop up along with it. The modern stressors of society can be so great that they make you want to leave it entirely. Maybe even to the point where you’re ready to leave everything behind to go live in the wilderness. After watching the incredible movie, Into the Wild, which I highly recommend to everyone, I realized that sleeping in an abandoned van and dying from consuming poisonous berries, is a much less favorable option to sleeping on a plush mattress and sipping a warm cup of tea, as I do in my evenings. That being said, it’s still beneficial and wonderfully enlivening to spend time within the arms of nature, but not much as to isolate yourself from society. As my favorite and last line in the movie goes, “Happiness is only real, when shared.” It’s interactions and connections with people that will help us grow and it is people that make up our society. So, don’t try to flee from it, try to connect with it, and better it. 

2. Eat

This may not seem like college advice but, eating is what most college students forget to do, or don’t want to do because they don’t have enough money. Eating enough calories is pivotal, especially if you’re studying, because the brain is the fattest organ in the body (consisting of at least 60% fat)! Eating is not only fuel for your body, but fuel for your brain and it’s important what fuel you’re putting into your body also. Doctor Eva Selhub, a writer for Harvard Health Publishing, wrote, “Unfortunately, just like an expensive car, your brain can be damaged if you ingest anything other       than premium fuel. If substances from “low-premium” fuel (such as what you get from processed or refined foods) get to the brain, it has little ability to get rid of them. Diets high in refined sugars, for example, are harmful to the brain. In addition to worsening your body’s regulation of insulin, they also promote inflammation and oxidative stress. Multiple studies have found a correlation between a diet high in refined sugars and impaired brain function — and even a worsening of symptoms of mood disorders, such as depression.” In other words, eat. A common complaint I hear from my peers is that healthy food is too expensive, but you can buy 42 ounces of Quaker Oats for just $3.99 at Target (and there’s about 30 servings in that baby). Add some cinnamon and honey for some extra benefits and sweetness, and you’re good to go.

3. Forget the FOMO

FOMO is the abbreviated word us college kids have created for the “fear of missing out.” Even with loads of assignments and two tests on Monday, you will still see kids going out on Sundays because of the same culprit: FOMO. It’s this unrealistic fear that you’ll be left out or everyone will forget about you if you don’t go to this one event. I’ve fallen for the trickeries of FOMO as well. It’s hard to go against the grain but, it’s important to remember why you’re in school in the first place. You or your parents are paying $70,000 a year for school and, frankly, no amount of $5 shots of tequila are going to be able to the shove that debt away. Then again, it’s okay to have a few, college is also about meeting new people and enjoying yourself but, try not to make it the priority over class.

4. Smile

College is already a bitch so we don’t need more of them. Just smile. 16.2 million adults in the United States have depression and I personally believe that 15 million of them are college students squished under coursework, student debt, and the occasional dooming Donald Trump tweet. There’s a lot going on right now and, on top of all it, we have a tangerine as a president. So please, smile. Smiling makes you seem more approachable and trustworthy to others and it can even change how you feel. Smiling reduces stress and helps invoke positive emotions within you. And, if you still can’t seem to find a reason to smile, here are 100 reasons why you should.

5. Bring Band-Aids

You’re going to make many mistakes in college. Messing up is part of the process, and it serves a purpose. Ultimately, you’ll have to learn how to fix things yourself (without the aid of your parents) and this could be learning how to not fail another test or even learning to not hook up with your crush’s dorm roommate when under the influence of things. The possibilities of screwing up are really endless in college, but the important part is learning from them instead of letting them bring you down. You can spiral into negative thoughts or you can forgive yourself for your faults, stick on a Band-Aid, and move on. Because it’s when we put one foot in front of the other and we move on that we find greater things waiting for us on the horizon.

I’m a Junior in college and I still don’t know what I want to do with my life. When people see that I write articles, they think I’m the College of Communications, and then when they see me on the news analyzing stock charts, they ask if I’m in Questrom (the school of business at Boston University). I’m in neither, I’ve switched majors about three times, and now I’m a psychology major. The thing is, I don’t know what I want but, I’ve learned to stop worrying about it because college is about exploration—in all realms of life, not solely academics. These four years are regarded as the best four years of our lives. So, the ultimate college tip is just to focus on the present moment. What you do today will dictate what doors open for you later on. So explore, discover, learn, and have fun because there is no other time in your life with this much freedom and options to choose from. The options are endless and the path is a wild one but, by following these college tips and having friends by your side, there’s no doubt you’ll make it through. Remember, “Happiness is only real when shared.”