10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting College

1.Don't forget your parents

Don’t try to be “too cool” for your parents during move in. Trust me, I know how embarrassing it can be to have your mom introducing you to every boy who passes as her “single daughter,” but don’t get mad at her for it. When your dad insists on checking the oil for the third time, don’t get impatient with him. This is harder for them, than it is for you. Let them be embarrassing, overprotective, and anything else they want to be. I promise you will miss them quicker than you anticipate. Especially when laundry day rolls around.

2. It's NOT like the movies

I hate that I even have to explain this one, but life is nothing like the movies. If you thought that college was going to be like Accepted, or Pitch Perfect you were horribly misinformed. College is kind of like Saw, in the fact that we see some really messed up stuff, we don’t know what the hell we are doing, but ultimately we’re all just trying to make it out alive.

3. (Ex) Boyfriend

If you come to school with a significant other, there’s a really large chance things aren’t going to work out. There are the select few who make the whole “high school sweetheart” thing work, but it’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t. Looking back now, I would cry if I was still stuck with my high school boyfriend. College comes with lots of new people, and that means tons of dating possibilities. So stop stressing about love, having a significant other, or settling down any time soon. You are young, and have a new world of fun to explore.

4. Know your limits 

KNOW YOUR LIMITS. When it comes to classes, social activities, involvement, drinking, or anything else, you need to know your limits. There is nothing wrong with saying you have had enough of something. When you overcommit, you under-deliver, and that is no way to start your college career.

5. Get involved

I simply cannot stress this enough. I was that freshmen who didn’t get involved, sat in the back of my classes, and stuck within the same friend group. Now, as my senior year rolls around, I can honestly say this is my biggest regret. My sophomore year I got more involved, and made so many more friends because of it. Put yourself out there, try new things, and I promise, you will not regret it.

6. Don’t decide your major

You don’t have to have your life figured out. I know this sounds crazy, trust me, I had my life planned for the next five years. But you are going to change and grow so much in your time here. (Please note, I did not say 4 years, because for some of us it takes a little longer…) I have switched my major four times, been in three different colleges, and I’m not making any promises that this is the major I’m sticking with. My advice: Knock out your gen eds first. That way you won’t be a senior taking freshmen level classes. (I’ll be seeing some of you in Accounting 1010 this fall.)

7. Chance to start over

High school and college are two totally different playing fields. If you aren’t sure you liked the person you were in high school, great! Now is your chance to start over. If you liked who you were in high school, great! Now grow, and become an even better version of yourself. You aren’t here to impress people. So wear what you want, say what you want, and be who you want.

8. Be Smart. Be Safe.

I’m going to have “the talk” with you. College is about having fun. This means sex, alcohol, and possibly drugs. NEVER do anything you are not comfortable with to begin with. But if you decide to engage in any of these activities be smart about it. Don’t drink to get blackout drunk. Know your limits, and always have a plan for the night. Whether you are crashing on the couch, have a DD, or call Saferide, please never get behind the wheel while you are intoxicated. If you are going to have sex, be safe and be courteous. Don’t have sex on the bunk above your roommate. Always wear a condom, and make yourself familiar with Student Health on campus and all they offer to ensure you are safe in the bedroom (or wherever it is you like to get nasty). Now, I’m not going to be your parent and tell you drugs are bad, don’t do them, but I’m also not encouraging it by any means. If you feel that this is something you want to do, be sure you are in a safe environment, with people you are comfortable with, and you are knowledgeable about what you are putting into your body. You only get one body, so please take care of it during school.

9. You don’t know everything

I know for some of you this is hard to swallow, but quite simply put, you don’t know a damn thing. Do not argue with professors, upperclassmen, or even fellow classmates. If you are having a discussion in class, this is different. But when you are stopping class every three minutes to tell the professor he is wrong, people are going to get pissed. If you have a problem in class, stay after or go to your professor’s office hours. As far as being street smart goes? You still do not know everything. I can openly admit now, that I still don’t know half as much as I thought I did my freshmen year. Sit back, listen, and learn some things.

10. Enjoy the ride.

College can be a lot to handle. It’s a huge change, and a lot of adjusting. Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in the stress, over-planning, or frustrations that come with college. Remember to take a few minutes each day to do something for you. Go on adventures, make new friends, try new things, and enjoy the ride.