Whether you are a part-time college student, or full-time, there is a lesson to be learned from college. When I graduated high school, I was so excited to embark on a new phase of life. This is the case for a lot of students entering into college, whether it is immediately after high school, or after other ventures. These experiences may not apply to everyone, but these are the lessons that this experience has taught me.
College can be your best friend and worst enemy.
When speaking to several college students and graduates, they will give you mixed reviews about the college experience. It can be one of the best experiences possible, but it can be your worst nightmare. Becoming active on campus allows you to meet new, great people. You get to experience fun times with others who are your age, experiencing the same things. Everyone decides to go to college to better themselves, and those people will be there to stress with you when you have a project due. They will be there to experience the joys of joining a fraternity/sorority. The best thing about college is graduation. When it is time to walk across the stage, you realize that the great and terrible experiences were worth it in the end.
You can never satisfy everyone.
One of the frustrating aspects of colleges is having a professor that refuses to give perfect scores. You can work on an essay or project for weeks, proofread, cite sources, and wrap it in a beautiful bow. All of your blood, sweat, and tears go into this work, only for you to receive a 97. One way to insult me is to take off points with no explanation other than “there’s no such thing as a 100”.
On the other hand, some friends and peers will never be happy with decisions that you make. Some friends will not be satisfied with only talking once every couple of weeks, because you are busy. Some peers are not satisfied with not holding study sessions on campus several days a week, when you are a commuter. Regardless, in life, not just in college, you cannot please everyone. Instead of stressing about the things you cannot change, accept that you will never be able to keep everyone happy.
Never accept the word “NO”.
Some people closest to me might call me “spoiled”. Personally, I dislike the term, and I will explain why. The idea of being spoiled means that I get everything that I want and I am never told ‘no’. Who wouldn’t like that? Me! I am no stranger to being told no, but my mother has taught me never to accept no. Who enjoys being told no? No one that I know. One of my mother’s favorite sayings to tell me is “anything can happen with the stroke of a pen”. Therefore, I have adopted the motto.
In college, at least once, you will face rejection of some sort. Never accept the word no! (By no means am I saying that you should justify doing anything harmful or illegal… if that is the case, then I support the no.) However, when someone tells me that I cannot have something, especially if it is something that I am passionate about, I make it happen. If someone does not want to help me, I will figure it out, or find someone who can. Do you want to go into business for yourself as a student? Never accept a no, follow your dreams and work hard anyway, just to make it happen. For every no, there is a yes waiting around the corner.
Friends will come and go.
When you graduate high school, you imagine staying friends with everyone in your various circles. Let me give you a quick reality check… by the first year alone, you will have drifted away from a lot of friends. That’s not to say that you will fight and hate each other. When you go to different schools, you sometimes drift apart. At the same time, this allows for new friends to come into your life. They may not all stick around until graduation, but this is a time for socializing and networking. Do not fear or become upset when a friendship fades. There is another to begin soon after.
You will kiss a couple of frogs -and might even like it.
Let’s address the big elephant in the room. Wait…there’s no elephant? Darn! Dating in college is a lot different than in high school. Some date/marry their high school sweethearts in college, and that’s great. For the rest of us, however, we have to get into the dating scene. Sometimes you may find yourself dating someone a couple, or several, years older, and it is exciting. Ladies and gentleman are “so mature” and you have freedom to date whenever you like.
You may enjoy dating around and kissing a couple of frogs. Some of us actually hate kissing frogs, but it is inevitable at some point. College allows for casual dating, and it, also, bring about serious dating. Whichever category you decide to fall under, you might kiss a frog that you believe is the one. Regardless, dating is college can actually be fun. Don’t be afraid to kiss a frog or two, get out there and enjoy! There’s no rule that you have to be serious in college. Use this as a time to learn what you do and do not want in a partner, and learn who you are.
Getting to know the real you.
Kissing the frogs can contribute to getting to know the real you. What do you like? Dislike? Want out of life? Want to avoid? What are your goals? How do you plan to accomplish them? College provides the time to learn who you really are. Take the time out to get to know yourself. Carve out some selfish, alone, and personal time, with no disturbances, just you and your thoughts. Write about things going on in your life. Write letters to yourself in the future. (Later post regarding this coming soon!) Once you learn about yourself, it becomes easier to date someone who wants to know the real you, too.
Credit is nothing to play with.
There should be a credit education course in high school. I took a business class, and they briefly discussed, it, but I never knew the severity of good credit. For my freshman year of college, I moved out of state. My mother was not working full-time, and I did not want to have to harass her for every little thing or for groceries every week. I received a letter (that I was warned about) in the mail about opening a credit card.
Thinking that this was a great idea, I decided to open an account. I made sure to make timely payments every month, and I enjoyed seeing my credit score go up. Eventually, I began adding more credit in my name, and found it difficult to keep up with all of my payments. Needless to say, I wrecked my credit within a year. You hear of other’s debt and credit stories, but it does not become real until it happens to you. Take the stories seriously, and learn from their mistakes. It is easy to get in debt, and to ruin your credit, but it is hell to rebuild it. (I am learning from my own mistake.)
Creativity runs free at the most random moments.
I may be sitting in the middle of a class lecture, when a new project or idea pops into my mind. Ironically, the idea for me to start a blog first came to mind while I was in class. Additionally, my cousin and I are going to Disney in May, and that is all my craft and project ideas tend to center around these days. DIY and craft products are a lifestyle for me. I scour Pinterest looking for craft projects for various uses, and just because. When creativity strikes, listen up and give in to it. Some of the best ideas come randomly.
The best work is done under pressure.
For some people, this may not be the truth. However, for me, this sums up my college experience. Now that I am nearing graduation, I have had to increase my course load. It becomes difficult keeping up with five and six different classes with several assignments. When you see your GPA at the end of every semester, it is motivation to beat that score. Even when you are stressed with the several hundred assignments that you have, you pay more attention to the details, and seem to produce the best work. It always amazes me that I make the best grades when I come under intense pressure. Try to avoid procrastination, because it is so easy to. Get the assignments done as soon as possible.
Having an all-nighter is inevitable.
Whether you decide to stay up all night by choice, or by force, it is bound to happen. This comes into play when you procrastinate assignments until the very last minute. Although the pressure may create great work, it can take a toll on your body and health. You may, also, find yourself staying up all night having fun. That may be okay once every blue moon, but try not to make it a habit.
No one’s college experience is the same as someone else’s. These are just a few of the lessons I have learned in college. Let me know about some of your college lessons below in the comments.