College is a once-in-a-lifetime period in your life, and for me, it’s almost over. But as I look back, there are a few things I wish I knew and so I’m sharing them here.
1. Don’t get caught up in having “the college experience.”
First of all, there is no typical college experience. Every school and city is different and that’s a good thing. However, especially because of social media, it can be hard to not compare yourself to people at other schools. Instead, focus on what you want specifically to do when you’re in college. It can be something big like landing an internship or a certain GPA or something small like going on a date with a stranger, cutting your hair or getting a tattoo. In the end, it is much more fulfilling to do what makes you happy than trying to fit into some version of life that someone decided was the best.
2. Be nice to yourself!
Seriously! Remember that at this point in your life, you’re as pretty, smart and free as you’ve ever been. And even though you might want to always succeed at everything, sometimes you won’t. Sometimes you won’t get a good grade, or you’ll feel antisocial and get FOMO or you’ll look in the mirror and not like what you see. But these college days are too short and too numbered to waste on wishing you looked different or had the qualities of life that other people have. At the end of the day, you’ll always have yourself and if you wouldn’t let a friend say something to you, you shouldn’t say it to yourself.
3. Always be open to making new friends.
Freshman year, it feels like friends are everywhere from the clubs you join to the building you live in. But as the years go on, the people you see the most will probably change and that’s OK! College is a time where a lot of people grow and change and as a result, not every friendship you’ll make is meant to last long term. That’s why even if you find a core group of friends right away, always be open to meeting new people and forming new relationships. You never know who will surprise you.
4. Listening to people’s advice is not the same as taking it!
People will tell you that you shouldn’t date anyone and then others will tell you college is the best time to date. People will tell you what to study, what your career goals should be and how you should spend your college years. But despite however good their intentions may be, only you can know what will truly make you happy. So, in other words, don’t be afraid to do what you want, even if it’s a little unexpected.
Overall, just enjoy these years as much as you can. Trust me, when LinkedIn is your most visited website and your apartment is all packed up, you’ll be wishing for just one more day.