10 Things The Class of 2021 Needs To Know About College

10 Things The Class of 2021 Needs To Know About College

These next four years will be the time of your lives... Don't miss it!

It is graduation season for high school. You may have graduated or have been preparing too. Either way, if you are preparing to attend college in the fall, this article is for you. One of my closest friends told me "College is not a scary world, it's just one you've never experienced." (Thanks, Keena) I believe she was right. My family growing up always told me "College will be the best four years of your life" and that is very true. You're basically experiencing adulthood without the worries and frustrations of adulthood. No, that doesn't mean it is going to be the easiest time of your life. It presents it's on challenges and difficulties but overall it is going to be one of the best experiences you will have. Here are a few things I think will help make it successful.

1. Go to class...

This seems obvious but like seriously people go to class. And don't just go, try your best. Depending on your major and where you go, you are going to have difficult classes. You might have professors that are horrible and the work might be overwhelming. But don't give up. You don't have to be at the top of the class or have the highest GPA but don't allow all the other fun things of college to take priority over the real reason you are there.

2. Don't overload yourself...

I'm a little lucky. My major isn't too difficult and I get to take fun classes. My sister wants to be a doctor and had to take several hard science classes. Maybe you have a lot of math classes. College might be a breeze for you or it might be the peak of your educational career. All that being said, do not take more classes than you can handle. You might want to graduate early or even in four years, but if doing that causes your health to deteriorate or you to stress yourself out; DON"T DO IT! It's not worth it. Do your best. Pace yourself and make sure that you are doing what is healthy for you. Don't be discouraged if it takes you a little longer than other people. There is no clock or time limit on life and you cannot compare yourself to others. So don't try to.

3. Join clubs... or start one

Seriously get involved. If you're like me and have social anxiety or just find it difficult to connect with new people, join a club. Find a group of people that are interested in the same things you are and hang out with them. I joined Improv club when I was a freshman and it practically saved my life. I joined other things as well and a lot of my friends that I didn't meet in my major are from the clubs I joined. Some clubs become like a family to you. Join something! And if they don't have anything you like start your own club. There might be other students who want to join you. But don't join too many cause you won't have time to be a student and involved in everything. Balance is key.

4. Don't eat everything in sight...

I did not gain the freshmen fifteen. I actually lost weight. I gained weight when I went back home, but that's another story... Anyway, the point is, it is possible to avoid this. Don't eat everything. Don't go to the dining hall when you're bored. Try the gym or go for a walk. Limit your late night eating. Walk places instead of driving. Choose the healthier options. Your body will thank you.

5. Stay up late with your friends...

This slightly contradicts the last bullet but it's equally important. The is a small chance that you are going to go to bed at a "decent" hour. You might be studying, or in rehearsal, or at a club meeting. Or you might be in your friends dorm watching bad TV and laughing too loudly. Or you might be driving to WAWA at 2 am for something you don't need. Late night moments with your friends/roommates are some of the best. Don't have them every night especially if you have early classes and simply because sleep is a necessity and not a luxury... but have those crazy nights. Go to the parties. Take a late night Taco Bell run. Go to a 24-hour Walmart. Visit a friends dorm. Make memories. They stay with you longer than anything else.

6. Call your mom...

Or your dad. Or whoever... call your family. They miss you. They are routing for you. They think you are wonderful and special and want the best for you. Call them. They are more than likely paying for you to be there.

7. Make sure your safety is a priority...

Have the campus police or Public Safety number in your phone. Know where the office is. Tell your friends where you are if you leave campus late at night or at anything. Get to know the person you are hooking up with better. Know the definition of consent and if someone is not giving it to you... LEAVE THEM ALONE! Don't drink so much that you can't consent or remember (I do not condone underage drinking). Be aware of your surroundings. If you are going to visit a friend that lives in a different dorm and it is late, take a friend or don't go. Protect yourself.

8. Take a class for fun...

Take an elective that you've wanted to try and that you would enjoy. Your priority should be your major requirements but you should take things that interest you as well. You need something that allows you to breathe. You might find that what you're majoring in isn't for you. You might find you want to minor in something. Either way, take something you'll enjoy after all you're paying a lot of money to go to this school so you should at least learn about things you like too.

9. Get to know your professors...

Go to there office hours. Let them see you as a person and not a random student. They have several every year, every semester. If you don't go to a small school it might be easy to become a number. DON'T BE A NUMBER! You will need these professors for recommendations. But also, if they know you and see that you are putting forth the effort, they will remember you during grading time. Build a relationship with them. You might find they are decent human beings that have a lot to offer. Especially if they are in your field.

10. Breathe... Look around... take it in... have fun!

It is going to be over before you know it. You will have moved in one day and be preparing to graduate the next. I am speaking from experience. I don't know where four years went, but they came and all the things I stressed out about are over. I remember having assignments I never thought I'd live through and I've completed them and moved on. Enjoy this time. You will never be able to duplicate it. Even if you go to grad school, it won't be the same. Your life after will never be the same. It may be better, but it won't be college. After you move on from something the only thing you can do is go forward... But don't forget to take in every moment you have while you are there. Don't spend all your time complaining. Don't spend all your time studying and working. Don't spend all your time in your room. Get out and enjoy it. If you look around and you aren't happy. If you are miserable and there seems to be no way to make it better by all means transfer. Find the place that makes your heart happy. Don't stay in a place that you hate because you won't be able to enjoy the four years like you are supposed to. If the problem is that you can find the negative in everything, find things you love about your school and focus on them. If the problem is you are adjusting to a new experience, don't give up so soon. Take your time and find what makes you soar and then do that.

I'm not just some person telling you random things I researched or whatever... I'm a college student who felt lost when she was a freshman. But now looking back, I have been having a great time. I have taken classes I loved. I have met people who will be in my life forever. I have had moments that replay in my mind and make me smile. I am going to make sure my final year is filled with the most important moments of my time at Rider, but I want you to have the time of your lives from beginning to end. You could blink and miss it so don't take it for granted!

Good luck! I know you'll do great things!

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

Popular Right Now

I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it


Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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Summer And Jobs

Working summers doesn't have to be tedious.


Like many other college students, I was ready for summer but was kinda bummed that I had to work. Its not that I didn't like where I was working, I actually was really lucky to be working in a hospital environment but I just hated being alone all summer from 9-5. I've had this job for a few years now and a few other paid interns came and went but I never really connected with any of them. This year is different though.

I got really lucky to have another intern work with me that was very similar to me. The tasks we got were always simple but they were made to be more fun because I got to do them while talking with someone else. Now I actually enjoy and look forward to going to work.

The key to finding a good job is finding one that you enjoy doing and one that will help you gain knowledge that will help you out with future career plans. Working with friends also make tasks enjoyable! I would be careful with working with your friend however because if your job needs you to be serious and focused, being around your best friends may distract you from that.

Another thing that definitely makes summer jobs more enjoyable are taking breaks! It is your summer vacation after all! I'm not saying don't take a day off just to sit around, but if you make plans with family and friends, take a Friday off and enjoy the warm weather and good company! Employers understand that us college students and on break and have lives, they are usually very lenient with days off!

If you have to do a summer job to make money to live off of or pay for college, the best thing to do is look at the big picture. If you don't enjoy your job but can't afford to quit, remember that the money if going to help you out a lot. Also, this job is probably only for the summer right? So it's not permanent my friend! Get through these annoying few weeks and you will be back at college, taking steps for a bigger and brighter future.

Summer jobs are tough, I know, but make the most of it! And don't forget to enjoy it whenever you can!!!


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