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What I Wish I Knew Before Going to College

Whether you’re established in school, almost outta here looking for a good cackle at your underclassmen, whether you’re a freshman looking for something to relate to and look to, or whether you’re a high schooler looking for some insight into this weird new world called a university, the following list reaches out to all. I’m the first of my family to be attending a university. This means I had to wade the waters of my nearly-ended adolescence alone, off to figure out how things go without an instruction manual. Along the way, certain ways of life have remained constant, and as I’m still learning how this works, obviously this list goes far beyond what is written here;  


Things I Wish I Knew Before Coming up to College (With the Help of Some Parks and Rec GIFs):

  • You’re gonna be alone. A lot. You’ll learn the difference between being alone and lonely really fast. You will go to dinner alone. You will get coffee alone. You will be seen sitting somewhere without the social gratification of having a human being also sitting in your vicinity. That’s ok.

  • The syllabus is your FRIEND. Print it. Mark it up. Chances are it has the curriculum calendar and your assignment list. When your prof tells you to print it,  99% of the time its for a good reason. It’s also a remarkable organization tool.

  • List-making will save your life. Keeping your life organized via list or planner will give you a sense of productivity, even if the only things on your list include netflix and naptime.

  • You’re gonna have to learn how to self medicate- Emotionally AND physically. I promise, you’re gonna get really sick at least once.

  • Learn the ins and outs of financial aid, banking, anything money related. You can’t rely on your parents to always be there to make sure deadlines are met.

  • DO NOT overload yourself ever oh gosh. Do not take too many credits at once. Know your limits.  

  • Load up on credits during times when you know you’re gonna have lots of freetime (i.e winter quarter. Are you really gonna be doing much?)

  • You’re gonna friend hop, a lot. Don’t be upset if you find yourself jumping from group to group. Finding your support system is very important, and with enough patience you’ll find yours.  

  • Study and study all the time. It’s so easy to fall behind and get pulled into the tide. Then before you know it something that was once a little fuzzy is now a full blown foreign language and you have a test coming up in this class and all of your others too and you have no time at all to prepare and oh gosh you’re so behind. Avoid this.

  • That being said, KNOW WHEN TO ASK FOR HELP. There’s a tutoring center and tons of professors that would be willing to help out. The tutoring center (Wilson 280) has saved my life and I’ve met many nice students sharing my struggle. Nothing really bonds two students together quite like, “Do you know what you’re doing? Good me neither.”

  • THAT being said, prepare yourself. Take really good notes in class. Understand and be in-tune with how you learn. For example if you’re a visual learner, watching people to the work and color coding notes will make a huge difference. If you’re auditory have someone explain and read the material to you. Lots of the material you have to teach to yourself when you’re studying, so knowing how you can memorize content is major.

  • Use. Your time. Wisely. If you find yourself lingering through snap stories and newsfeeds for an hour between classes, study instead. Your grades and your afternoon nap will thank you.

  • It’s really important to add, treating yourself is OK. Have you been stressed? working hard all week? Perhaps it was a particularly rough week, and the dining hall cuisine just isn’t gonna cut it today. If you have the funds and the time to do it, absolutely go buy yourself something yummy. Indulge in a nap. Part of being an adult is knowing when the appropriate times to reward yourself are. It’s not all about bills and school and stuff all the time. Take care of our sanity and allow yourself to have fun too. Worried you may be treating yourself TOO much? Believe me. You’ll know.

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