When it comes to the college experience, everyone’s story is different. People follow diverse paths, study different subjects, and each take part in various extracurricular activities. In fact, the challenges and responsibilities that come with college are some of the most profound lessons that students will learn throughout their lives. I should know, between living on-campus, off-campus, becoming a transfer student, and taking a gap year, I’ve learned a lot about what the college experience is actually like. These are the 10 experiences that I learned in college that every student needs to hear.
1. Things Will Get Better
Going into college, I expected it to be amazing right off the bat. After all, I had dreamed of attending college my entire life. Now that I was actually in college, everything should be perfect, right?
My 1st semester was perhaps one of the stressful and anxious periods of my life. It seemed like every bit of bad karma that I had earned throughout my life decided to hit me all at once; Murphy’s Law was in full effect. I wasn’t the only one who noticed it. Over time, my friends began to take note of it to, wondering why I was the one who always seemed to have all the bad luck. With all of this bad stuff happening at once as soon as I moved away from home, I began to wonder if this was what being an “adult” was actually like.
It took a few months, but things did eventually get better as I learned from my mistakes. In my 2nd semester, I spent more time with my friends, started this blog, and had both better classes and a better schedule. So even if things seem bad for a while (or an entire semester, like me), just ride out the storm and know that things do get better.
2. Good Friends Are Important
When you go to college, make sure that you have good friends by your side. Your college friends are the people who keep you on your feet when life tries to knock you down. They teach you what true friendship is. They make time for you out of their day, and are willing to drive you to Walgreens when you have the flu. (True story.) These are the people you can count on, talk to, vent to, and over all rely on as you work your way through college. Find your true friends and your college experience will improve tenfold.
3) Miracles Can Come Out Of Bad Situations
Like I said earlier, I had really bad karma my first semester of college. It seemed to reach its peak about a month into the semester, when I received an email telling me that the dorm that I was living in (which was extremely old and run-down) was experiencing a mold infestation and every resident was required to be moved out and relocated within the week.
Absolutely terrible, right?
It was at first, but a few days after moving into a temporary, formally shut-down dorm, they announced that the displaced residents had the permission move to any dorm they wanted to (space permitting) without any extra charge.
I jumped at the chance and ended up being placed in the newest dorm on campus. To say it was a step up from my last dorm is an understatement. As if that wasn’t amazing enough, I was also placed into a 4 person suite, which meant I had my own private room and shared a living room, kitchenette area, and bathroom with only 4 other girls. It felt like I was living in an apartment when I was actually living in a dorm.
It just goes to show that amazing things can come out if the worst situations.
4) Hard Work Pays Off
Hard work is what gets you places in life. After all, I didn’t earn a 4.0 GPA my freshman year by sitting around and doing nothing. I didn’t start a blog by just talking about it and reading articles on it on Pinterest. I had to get up and work hard to earn what I wanted, and in the end, that has paid off more than you can imagine.
If you have a hard time getting started, then begin by thinking about what your goal is. Write it down. Figure out the steps that you need to get there. Write your game plan and your timeline. Now hold yourself to it. There’s no one stopping you but yourself.
5) Take Time To Do What You Love
Life kind of sucks if all you do is work, so make sure that you take time to do stuff that you love, especially in college.
Go to the movies, hang out with your friends, swim, write a story, paint a picture…the possibilities are endless.
One of the biggest differences between my awful 1st semester and my great 2nd semester was that I took more time out of my schedule to do stuff that I loved. It made such a positive difference in my life, and I believe it could do the same for you.
6) Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone
I’ll admit that I’m not the greatest at this, but college has pushed me to and past what I thought were my limits.
For example, I was a member of my campus’ student patrol unit. My job included escorting students back to their dorms at night and making sure the campus was a safe and secure environment. Having this job was a huge step out of my comfort zone and I was a little nervous about starting the job. I felt like a fake.
While I was extremely nervous at first, I absolutely loved my work and the people I worked with. It pushed me far outside of my comfort zone. If I had given into my fear and quite before I started, then I wouldn’t be as knowledgeable, confident, and as accepting of change and challenges as I am today.
7) Office Hours Are Worth It
I finished my freshman year with a 4.0 GPA, but I’d be lying if I told you that it was a walk in the park. Achieving that took a lot of hard work, which included attending office hours several times thought the year. Each time that I went, my professors were more than happy to help me with anything that I was confused on and helped me reach my full potential.
Sometimes, since you’ve shown initiative by attending office hours, your professor may even raise your grade or give you an extra credit opportunity.
So even though office hours take extra time out of your day, just showing that initiative and will to do better will set you apart from other students and will help you reach your goals.
8) Don’t Stress…Everything Will Turn Out All Right In The End.
I haven’t met a single student that hasn’t been stressed out by college. Sometimes this stress is good and keeps me on top of things, but other times it can be completely overwhelming.
Each time my stress begins to reach this point, I remind myself of all the past times that I’ve been stressed. How in each one of those situations, everything worked out in the end. So what’s different about this time?
9) Learn From Your Mistakes
Just like everybody else, I’ve made quite a few mistakes in my life, and college isn’t excluded from that mix. What I’ve learned, however, is that they only matter if I don’t take the time to learn from them. Learning from my mistakes is what allows me to keep moving forward, not make the same mistakes again, and work towards my goals. So don’t just ignore or run from your mistakes. Embrace them, learn from them, and use them as your catalyst to keep going.
10) Don’t Give In to Fear
Each time I try to step outside my comfort zone, I feel a sense of fear; fear of the unknown, fear of the worst possible consequences or results and fear of just not knowing where it will lead me.
But I’ve also learned not give in to fear, because giving into fear means that I’ll have regrets.
For example, I was scared of starting a blog. It was outside of my comfort zone and unlike anything I had ever done before. I wondered whether I would be any good at it, if I would be successful, and what my friends and family would there. I almost gave into that fear, but I’m so glad I didn’t. As a result, I have found a hobby that I love with a community that I adore. I can’t imagine having it any other way.
College has given me many different experiences and lessons to draw from, but these have had the most impact on my life. By sharing these with you all, I hope that they not only serve as a continual reminder to me to continue drawing on on these lessons in the years to come, but for you all to have learned (and gained) something from them. as well.