Perspective From A Graduating Senior: The 10 Most Important Things I’ve Learned at UCF

Graduation is approaching quickly and my time at UCF is almost done. Over the past four years, I've learned a lot from my professors, and I am so grateful for that—but the most important things I have learned from my time in college were not taught in class.

1. The best study spot is anywhere none of your friends hang out.

Study sessions with friends are fun for casually flipping through a textbook, but they won’t help you finish your 10-page paper by 11:59 p.m. It's too easy to waste an hour dissecting every detail of the Jonas Brothers' new music video when you need to focus on work.

2. Buy party accessories you like but don’t love.

Your go-to party bag and shoes should be cute enough to go with anything and inexpensive enough that you won’t cry when someone spills a mudslide on them.

3. Being a good roommate is work.

If you don’t feel like your living situation is demanding any effort from you it’s probably because YOU are the bad roommate who never washes a dish, vacuums or buys tin foil. If you have a roommate that is difficult to live with, talking about it might help, but realistically you may need to start using paper plates.

4. You can’t open a wine bottle with a knife.

Technically, you can do this—but you shouldn’t. Either buy boxed wine or get a bottle opener so you don’t risk maiming yourself for a glass of wine. Learning to make some basic mixed drinks so you aren't always stuck with wine, beer, or shots is also a great idea.

5. Change your major and change it again.

I have switched majors so many times I’ve lost count. All the classes I have taken in majors I ended up not pursuing have helped me figure out what I want to do with my life and given me a well-rounded perspective to draw on for other classes.

6. Choose your friends well.

College is a chaotic time and there's a lot of pressure to make the best memories of your life with the people you first surround yourself with. Just because you met someone nice at orientation does not mean you are obligated to be best friends forever. Friend breakups are extremely difficult, but it's important to recognize when you outgrow a friendship and move on.

7. Mistakes and failures are just as important as successes.

You're going to mess up a lot and it'll be hard, but it will teach you a lot about yourself. On that note, let your friends make their own mistakes. Your advice, while well-intentioned, is not going to change their decisions. If you love your friends learn to support them even as they make choices you don’t fully agree with.

8. Travel.

Take advantage of all the built-in breaks that college has and explore. There are a lot of things I regret spending money on in college but I have never regretted spending money on a trip. Go alone, go with friends, go often, just go.

9. Getting involved on campus makes school so much better.

I felt disconnected from UCF during my freshman year. I went home often and stayed holed up in my dorm room binge-watching Netflix when I should have been out. Exploring RSO’s changed the way I view UCF. The organizations I joined as a sophomore led me to amazing friendships and eventually leadership positions.

10. Get an internship if you can.

I love a lot of my classes, but taking on internships allowed me to gain practical skills and test out a career. Working as an intern has helped me develop skills that are extremely valuable and has helped me form connections that have helped me secure a job.

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