Life as a college student can be challenging. Every turn feels completely unpredictable sometimes, making our next move seem impossible. When we start college as freshman, everything feels like a brand new start. Everything feels amazing: our new home away from home, our new friends, our new extra-curricular activities (does going to every happy hour at Pots count?) Nothing could change this feeling… Until reality starts to set in and here you are, a senior in college, panicking about finding a job before you throw off that cardboard-esque graduation cap. While entering the “real world” seems daunting at times, college truly is a wonderful experience in figuring out who you are, and the ride isn’t over yet. We are just getting started. What we take with us after college is very important in becoming real adults doing adult things.
1. You learn to be self-sufficient.
Starting out college, I couldn’t figure out if I should call my mom every time I had to do a load of laundry. Sometimes I had to call her just to make sure I was doing it right or whether or not I was being super selective on my laundry detergent. It is a learning process, but college helps us learn how to do things on our own. Yes, even making your own doctors appointments.
2. You will have $3 in your bank account some weeks.
Being broke is NO joke. When you have $3 in your checking, are you going to save that money for the small amount of groceries you can afford or will you use that as part of your cover to get into The Strip? By senior year, priorities start to fall in line and missing one night out won’t kill you.
3. Wearing Nike shorts and big t-shirts are great, but dressing for success does set the tone right for your day.
Comfort is key in college. I cannot tell you how many days I spent wearing gym clothes that would never actually make it to the gym. What I can tell you is that putting on real clothes makes a world difference in how you feel. When you actually wake up early and put effort into the way you present yourself, big things happen and look at you; you actually got something done for the day!
4. Loneliness is real.
Watching movies about college makes it seem like finding and making friends is as easy as it can be. That is not the case. Making friends in college takes effort. You actually have to go out of your way to go up to people and see if they want to hang out with you. It can be awkward, but it can also be so worth it. Chances are, they are probably feeling the same way as you.
5. Juggling fives classes and a job can be stressful.
Life sucks, man. There is a lot on our plate as college students, but it is preparing us for what is to come. As that old saying goes, work hard now and party later.
6. Gaining weight happens.
This is something that seems impossible when you come to college. “There is no way I will gain the freshman 15… I can eat McDonalds after going out every time and it won’t impact me!” Lies. You actually have to pay attention to your health and listen to your body. Eat the broccoli, it won’t hurt.
7. Know your limit.
Drinking is a part of college. That is inevitable. On the other hand, getting belligerent at every party or event is probably not your best bet. Drinking is a great social activity. Feel free to have a few vodka soda limes or beer, whatever you like, but just make sure you even it out with some water.
8. You won’t meet your Prince (or Princess) Charming at a bar.
If only. It’s hard finding a significant other as it is, but when that drunk guy at the bar tells you that you are pretty and he wants to buy you a drink, just keep it at that. I guarantee you that he isn’t looking for the long term.
9. You will learn how to cook.
Cooking is not as scary as it is looks! Learn a few easy recipes and you’re set. I know it feels like it’s the move to eat at Chipotle or Chick-fil-A at every meal, but your bank account will be screaming for help.
10. People come and go. Value the ones that stick around.
Shout out to the real MVP’s.
11. Take every opportunity you can to travel or to at least get out of town.
College is stressful. The real world is even more stressful. Taking a break to explore the world is one of the best gifts we can give to ourselves. You don’t even need a lot of money to do this. Find deals at different places online, split gas with friends, use Airbnb, and bring meals with you.
12. Parties are fun, but staying in with friends can be just as fun.
Some of your best nights might be spent playing board games and drinking three buck chuck wine from Trader Joe’s.
13. Finding a hobby is more important you think.
Time for yourself is crucial. Our lives are constantly busy and we need something to relax our mind. It doesn’t have to be a complicated hobby either. Anything as simple as reading, journaling, cycling, collecting, or even singing in your spare time. You are important.
14. College might not take four years.
And who cares? Our plans may not always go according to plan, but that is life. When we are given an obstacle, we get right back up and try again.
15. Treat yo’self.
Get that fro-yo every once in a while, or treat yourself to a new shirt because you made it through a tough week. There is nothing wrong with making yourself feel appreciated every once in a while!