Today marks 191 hours, 10 minutes, and 4 seconds since the worst moment of my life: college graduation.
Being home (Rhode Island) for the summer is great, don’t get me wrong. I’ve missed my family and friends, my dog, etc. But MAN do I miss college.
College was undoubtedly the most fun, difficult, interesting, exhausting, wild years of my life thus far. The amount of things I learned about myself, others, friendships, relationships, the world around me… getting it down to this list was not easy.
Yet I can semi-confidently say that after 4 years, I’ve picked up some things that I hope to take with me into the future-wherever that may be. Without further ado, here’s the top 10 things I learned in college.
All grades aren’t equal
In high school, getting anything less than an 85 sent me into a cold sweat. College didn’t prove much different. I was convinced I had to get straight A’s and keep my GPA as high as possible, or I’d fail out or dishonor my family or get struck by lightening or I don’t even know.
But as the years have passed, I came to realization that putting in the effort, getting the work done, and handing it in on time is really all you need. I spent way too much time hyperventilating about a random essay in a class I was taking to fulfill a random requirement, only to realize later it wasn’t a big deal.
No matter what major your choose, they’ll be certain projects or classes that are more important than others–so save your stress for those guys, not the silly online quiz worth 5 points.
Find friends who will always have your back
I would not have gotten through college without my friends. They are some of the most beautiful, kind, hilarious, best human beings I have ever met, and I owe them so much more than a thank you.
Whether it was a crazy spontaneous road trip to upstate NY or a lazy day spent sipping beer on someone’s lawn, having them by my side was my favorite part of college. They supported me through the good, the bad, and everything in between.
So your find your people, and never let ’em go.
Say yes to every social event you can
I suffer from a very serious disease called FOMO… aka fear of missing out. I tried my best to show up to everything I could these past four years, but I sometimes I still wonder if there was an elusive Coffee Shack trip I should’ve said yes to.
Nothing sucks more than watching all your friends’ Snapchat stories of a beach day or a night out at the local bar while you’re home in bed being lame or whatever.
I’m not just talking about turning down parties or other drinking events — I’m talking anything! Say yes to your greek life extracurricular, or your friend’s senior presentation, or a non-homecoming football game.
GO TO EVERYTHING YOU CAN. Because it’s better to say you went and had a shitty time than you didn’t go and missed out!
Don’t get sucked into the abyss of a relationship
This one’s a toughie. If you read my post “maybe I don’t want to be in love,” you have a good idea where my head’s at on this subject.
If you decide to get into a relationship as a freshman or sophomore in college, it better be damn fun. You two should be skipping around campus holding hands 98% of the time. Minimal drama, easy-going, la dee da.
If you find yourself in a relationship in your junior and senior years of college… things get a little more sticky. It’s more likely that if you’re with someone at this point, you’re considering *brace for it* a future with them- or at least things are pretty serious. So you like them a lot, do special things for each other, want to spend a lot of time together–OK STOP THERE.
I’ll be blunt about it: do not spend every waking moment with your boyfriend/girlfriend.
I’ve done it, I know friends who have done it… Ya get sucked into that abyss of butterflies and sunshine and sooner or later you’re sick of each other and you have no friends because you haven’t hung out with anyone but each other in 6 months. It’s a lose-lose.
Get involved in something
One of the best things I did for myself at college was join greek life. After coming down from the 94 high school clubs I was in, freshman year of college I thought, I’m not doing sh*t. It didn’t take long for me to be bored out of my mind, and so, sophomore year, I rushed.
Check me in the front! #recruitmentsecretary
Joining a sorority expanded my circle of friends, filled my schedule, and gave me something to be passionate about. While I completely understand greek life isn’t for everyone, joining any sort of club, society, or organization will make a big campus (or city) so much smaller and more personal.
Avoid a job that will drain you
College tuition’s are expensive… and so is life at college. Unless you’re blessed (cough, spoiled), most of us need a part-time gig for some extra moo-la.
Try to get something on campus. You’ll save time and $$$ getting to work and make loads of new friends who are probably students at your school. If not, get something close to campus that’s low-key and low-stress. Your time and energy should be focused on school and your social life, not a random barista job that you only took for booze money.
And for my post-grads, I imagine we’re all on similar boats here. Deciding between the awesome job we want versus the shitty job we need to have is a teetering see-saw of indecisiveness. Choose what YOU want. Follow your gut and don’t accept any job you can’t put your heart in.
The day I moved home from college, I started unpacking and rearranging my room. My parents kept telling me to relax for a few days, but I simply could not wait. In order for me to be productive, my space needs to be sorted out.
In college I lived in big rooms, small rooms, my own rooms, and shared rooms. No matter the situation, being organized and somewhat clean was necessary.
Besides rooms, college taught me the importance of phone reminders and agendas. Even though I don’t have any upcoming assignments due, I’ve still been using my planners to plan events and weekends visiting friends.
Find a balance
Ohhhh I know, this is definitely easier said than done. Still, try to balance:
School // social life
Friends // your relationship
Working out // pigging out
Job // free time
Partying // relaxing
Too much of anything can be a bad thing, so be aware enough to recognize when you need a break from something, or need a little more of something else.
I’ll never forget that first weekend freshman year. Looking back, the courtyard outside my dorm was eerily reminiscent of our future senior day parties… just packs of kids scattered about the lawn. Except rather than glossy-eyed seniors holding 6 packs, we were innocent, empty-handed, wide-eyed freshmen looking for new friends.
Everyone was so excited to be there and ready to introduce themselves to anyone and everyone. I wish now that I had counted how many people I met in that first week of college. Unsurprisingly, some of my closest friends throughout my 4 years were made in those awkward, nervous introductions.
Although it’s impossible to stay in touch with everyone you meet in college (or in life), try to stay connected in some way. With our ultra-milennial social media dominated world, it’s not difficult to keep track of each other.
In college, staying connected could mean getting the invite to the sweet party. Now though, it could mean finding out about a new job *cringe*, or getting set up with a post-grad roommate *less cringe!*
Put yourself first
No explanation here, folks. Be a little selfish sometimes, you’ll thank yourself later.
To those in college now/entering in the fall… CHERISH IT.
To my fellow post-grads… anyone else want to go back?