5 Things I Wish I Knew Before My Last Year of Undergrad

Picture this: you’re a freshman heading off to university and moving out for the very first time. You’re enjoying frosh week, dining hall meals, and residence parties. If this is you right now, be prepared for the fastest four years of your life. As someone entering my final year of undergrad, I’m finally just figuring things out. These are some things I wish I knew while I was a young and naive frosh:

  1. 1. Things may not work out the way you think they will.

    Monica Stressed

    Maybe you’ll get to third year and realize you want to change your major. Maybe you won’t do so well in a course you thought you’d love. As students, we tend to plan out the trajectory of our academic experience. The truth is, you can never fully anticipate where life will take you. Don’t be hard on yourself if things do not go as expected - you’re probably on the road to something better.

  2. 2. Join extracurriculars.

    A great way to make friends, gain experience in your areas of interest, and make valuable memories is through extracurriculars. It can be intimidating to put yourself out there, but it will be worth it every time. You will have the chance to be part of something bigger in your community while doing something you genuinely enjoy. Find what you love and find groups on campus that share your interests!

  3. 3. Balance is everything.

    Government vs. Tiktok

    Your undergrad experience will be filled with many opportunities. The opportunity to spend your nights at the bar, to attend every lecture, to be involved in extracurriculars, and more. You will find out soon enough that you must find a balance that works for your life. Everyone is different, so don’t compare your experiences to others’. If you can make it out to the bar while successfully attending your 8:30 am lecture, go for it. If you need to study all day to do well on your exam, do it. Just make sure you are balancing your time between academics, social events, and what makes you happy.

  4. 4. Take advantage of the resources available to help you succeed.

    Gray Study Dice on Table

    Networking events, pop up booths, conferences, volunteering roles: they are readily available for you whether you are aware of it or not. It’s easy to overlook the academic opportunities that surround you in undergrad. Pay attention to those emails, reach out to others in your major and take part in building a foundation for your future. Making connections and gaining experience in your field will always be a beneficial decision.

  5. 5. Appreciate this time in your life.

    two friends laughing

    Sometimes it’s easy to focus on the negative aspects of your student experience. Drowning in coursework or feeling overwhelmed by life can definitely bring you down. All in all, it’s important to take a step back and remember that as important as it is to work hard and be successful at school, you have to enjoy this time in your life at every chance you get. University and all that comes with it goes by in an instant. Appreciate the nights out, the nights in, and the days, weeks and months you spent going to lecture or cooped up in the library cramming for finals. They won’t be here forever.