What I Wish College Taught Me

As I wrap up my junior year and head into my last year of undergrad, I realize that my education has been limited in subjects other than what is taught in typical college classes. Some of these things I wound up figuring out myself the hard way and others are things that I still have no idea about. Granted, I don’t think it’s really possible to teach many of the things in school that I’m going to discuss. They may be seen as controversial, they may not apply to everyone, or they may not be something a class could be based around. Regardless, these are the things that I wish college taught me.

1. Don’t compare yourself.

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This is something that I’m still learning not to do. I can’t stress enough how important it is to realize that everyone is in a different place in their life. Yes, you may be taking the same classes as the person next to you. But they may not internalize stress the way that you do, or they may not have other obligations outside of class that you do. It’s easy to try to see where you stand in a class by comparing yourself to other students. And I agree sometimes it can be helpful. However, you can’t beat yourself up over it! No one is in the same situation, and it’ll just cause more stress to compare yourself. If you know you’re doing your best, that should be good enough.

2. Taxes

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I still have no idea what I’m doing with taxes. From working, I’ve learned a tiny bit about W2 forms and getting a bit of money back that gets taken out of your paycheck, but really, I have no idea. Can we have a class about these?

3. College “Friendships”

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If I’m going to say it, I may as well be blunt about it: some people are really going to try to be your “friend” just for their own benefit. Maybe it’s because you’re good in a class—they’ll befriend you to study with, but that’ll be about it. Or maybe they just want to let you know, all the time, how much better they’re doing in a class than you. This is different from being friendly with someone you see in class but don’t see outside of it; that isn’t in an attempt to get something that benefits only you. With these sort of “friendships,” when push comes to shove, they won’t be there for you in the end. And quite frankly, you don’t deserve that. It’s hard to protect yourself from these sort of friendships because they’re not super common and hard to classify until it’s over. Luckily, a lot of true friendships you make in college are amazing and will last you a lifetime.

4. When to move out

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There’s not exactly a set time when you’re meant to officially get your own place, but it seems to happen pretty quickly after college for many people. I’m just looking for some facts or tips on when I should be where in my life. Aren’t we all?

5. Take time for yourself!

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Taking time for yourself is one of the most important things you can do. I’ve gotten so much better with it over the years, but I use to never take time to relax and would only study. Yes, it paid off grade-wise. But, in the long run, I was a wreck, and not healthy mentally or physically. Taking time to chill out for a little bit, or even a day, is something that you need to do!

College is amazing with education in the most typical sense of the word, but there’s so much left to learn. Sometimes you need real-life experiences to discover these things, but I wish there was a way to teach them sooner!


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