5 Things I’d Tell My Soon-to-Be Collegiate Self

 1. You Probably Are NOT Going to Marry Your Current High School Boyfriend/Girlfriend

  • Of course there are always exceptions, but for an extremely large majority of those entering college with relationships, they will not remain with their significant other. Why? Because you’re growing and evolving into a better/different individual and your significant other will be doing this at the exact same time. It’s not that you no longer care about the person, but to truly immerse yourself in the college experience you need to have open opportunities and not worry about having to call your boyfriend/girlfriend at a specific time while you’re in the middle of enjoying yourself! Again, there are exceptions (especially if you end up going to the same school) but this is your big chance to change and learn without severe consequences (e.g., get evicted, go bankrupt or get fired by a big corporation); let yourself be free. Oh, and super long-distance relationships? Forget about it.

2. Join a Club, Take a Class at the Gym – MEET AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE

  • Honestly, you’ll never have another chance to meet this many people at one chunk of time! I wish I had been told this again and again and then had it tattooed to my forehead. Freshman year I really became close with my roommate (still my current roommate and best friend) and because both of us were out of state (in her case, out of country) we clung to each other constantly. This is not to say we didn’t go out there and meet people – we just didn’t enjoy it as much because we had gotten used to our small group. It took me until my sophomore year to really put myself out there and meet tons of people that I typically would have passed in the halls in high school and rolled my eyes at (hypothetically speaking, of course). Now, I am in Gamma Phi Beta sorority (more to come on Greek Life soon!), Alpha Psi Omega, the theater honor fraternity and Sigma Tau Delta, the English honor fraternity. Yet beyond these organizations, I meet others through expanding my own group of friends. So get out there and make yourself known!

3Do NOT Major in What Your Parents Want You To

  • DON’T. DON’T. DO NOT DO THIS! If you would like to know what Dante’s 7th circle of hell looks like, I’d imagine it would be close to this. Think about it – go to classes every day to learn everything about a subject you may not be interested in, simply because your parents pressured you into fulfilling their own expectations. After sitting through four years of classes, you then may have to go to grad school to continue your parents’ desire for you to gain the career they have envisioned for you … What kind of life is that? This is your opportunity to carve out your own niche by taking classes that YOU actually want to take. You are living YOUR life, not your parents’. So go out there and make yourself happy.

4. That Equation About Dividing Hours Into Study, Sleep, Eat and Social time? Total Crap.

  • Here’s the overall idea that nearly every college tells you to use: (12-15 hours of class per week, 2 hours of study per 1 hour of class, 35 hours of sleep per week, 8 hours of sleep each night, then FREE TIME!)
  • This equation has been around since our parents were in college and I have yet to meet one person who adhered to this idea and came out saying, “Oh ya! Totally true and doable!” You cannot easily structure college life; there’s an ebb and flow of class schedules, of social activities and of your own mental health. The trick isn’t to realize how many hours are in a week, since it always feels like fewer than the actual number, but to learn to be adaptable and gain time management skills. Each class is extraordinarily different from one another: professors assign different amounts of work, the level of difficulty depends on each person, and some nights you just want to come home and recharge by playing the Sims for four hours (or maybe that’s just me). This isn’t high school anymore, there’s no specific schedule that you can adhere to with your eyes closed, therefore don’t think you have an easily structured schedule that they explain to you on the first day of school. Know yourself, know your abilities, plan for mishaps and major “off” days and hit the ground running.

5. Your Relationship With Your Parents Will Change

  • So you go through the typical phases: you love your parents, you tolerate your parents, you hate your parents because they simply cannot understand you and then you’re somewhere in the middle of all of that by the time senior year rolls around. Well, in college there’s a whole new relationship that evolves, one that cannot necessarily be defined. For some, I have seen friends grow extraordinarily close with one or both of their parents to the point where they are far more friends than they are family members. For others, I have seen a drifting and separating of ways. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but rather an inevitable change that had been coming for sometime. Because the truth is, that your parents are entering a new stage just as much as you are (if not more if you’re the last kid to leave the house) and therefore you both are going to grow and develop into different versions of yourself.