12 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting College

12 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting College

The most important things you need to know to make the most of your college experience and succeed.

College will be filled with a rollercoaster of emotions. There is no avoiding that. However, don't worry, because there are plenty of life hacks and words of wisdom to get you through it. As you enter your freshman year, you will hear different advice from everyone on the best way to "do college," and it can become extremely overwhelming. This list is the best advice I have for anyone who wants to do well in college, based on my own experience. Enjoy.

1. Find a designated study spot

And make sure this spot is not also where you are used to eating or doing other fun activities. I know this sounds strange, but studies show that you can actually train your body to match certain locations with tasks (example: you may find yourself more hungry in the kitchen because that is where you are used to eating) This works, and it is actually something that I do! If you can make one spot specific for studying, your body will begin to recognize that and you will get more done.

2. Focus on time management

Don’t get me wrong, it is important to stay focused on your studies and make sure you are getting everything done, but you need to be able to gage and time manage so that you have a social environment too. It is salient for your sanity. Set aside an hour to study and go out after, one night every week. It is super important to get connected with other students and make friends. Does this mean going to every party and getting super hammered? No, definitely not. But going out every once in a while and meeting people is a good idea, and you will learn that in life, connections are everything—more to come on this one.

3. College is not always fun

There will definitely be nights that you consider dropping out and becoming a stripper (don’t even google their salary, it makes it more tempting) College isn’t easy, but that makes it all the more rewarding. You will have some of the most fun times of your life, but you will also be excessively stressed and overwhelmed sometimes too, and that is totally normal and OK. You will survive.

4. Two words: Stress Management

This is different for everyone, but you have to find a way that works to manage stress. Singing, going for a walk, playing a sport, drawing, whatever it is, make time for it, because taking a break from studying is just as important as the studying itself…research have actually showed that studying is most effective in shorter increments with breaks in-between. Treat yo-self.

5. Keep an open mind

Oh my gosh, this is so so so key to everything in life, especially when you enter college. You will learn so much if you are open to hearing everyone’s opinions and keeping your own opinions flexible. Everyone has things they feel very strongly about and definitely stay true to yourself, but also be open to hearing someone else’s side, everyone has a reason for believing what they believe, and gaining another perspective on anything is always beneficial, even when you don’t necessarily agree.

6. Take Risks

Join the club you have always been interested in. Play that intramural sport that you may not have the most skills in. The awesome thing about college is that you have the opportunity to completely recreate yourself (if you want!). It is not often in life that you have the chance to start over and be whoever you want to be, so do it right and take those chances, you won’t regret it.

7. Jump at opportunities

When your teacher mentions an internship or a fellow student offers to help you get connected to something that sounds fun, don’t brush it off or wait for them to keep pushing, because they most likely won’t. When an opportunity presents itself, be proactive and take it on, experience is the best way to learn, especially if he is cute.

8. Find the study technique that works best for you and stick with it

You can spend hours studying with others and still not get as much done as if you had studied the way that works for you. An example of this is how reading and highlighting is a good way for some people to study, but flash cards works much better for others (including me), so some people could memorize more information making flashcards for an hour than they could in four hours of reading and highlighting information, and vice versa.

9. Stop making excuses

This goes for everything. Don’t make excuses on why you didn’t do well on a test, why you can’t go to an event, or why you spent all night watching Netflix instead of sleeping. Sometimes you just decide to have the cake instead of fruit and you shouldn’t have to constantly justify yourself. Also, if you are unhappy about something in your life, making a change is going to be a lot more beneficial than making an excuse.

PS. Your teachers won't care why you were late for class, so just don't do it

10. Caffeine is your best friend

College is the first time that I have truly come to understand what exhaustion feels like. Caffeine has gotten me through numerous late nights, classes, and lectures. Now that you’re on a college budget, remember that you can save your Starbuck’s cup and refills are only 50 cents.

11. Connections are everything

Meet people, start conversations and don’t be afraid to ask questions, because knowledge is power, and forming relationships and connections with people can only help you in the future.

12. Have fun

Seriously, being happy is truly what life is all about. If you don’t like your major, change it. If you absolutely hate your school, switch. Everyone is different and everyone has different needs, college is your time to find yourself and to explore opportunity so make sure you make the most of it and have a fun ride.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Eigsti

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.

Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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To My Little Sister, Don't Wish For Time To Move Faster, Soak Up The Stage Of Life You're In

Live in the moment and you will come out having no regrets.


To my best friend,

Time goes by quickly, do not wish it away. Enjoy living in the moment you are in right now because you will never get it back. Stop wishing you were in college already because you have so much to live for right now.

I know all you want to do is get away from home and start over, which is normal because I wanted to do the same thing at your age. But as your older sister, and as someone who has gone through that stage already, I am here to tell you that it is not all rainbows and sunshine 24/7.

With the time you have left in high school, enjoy every second of it because eventually, you will come to miss it.

Graduation is just around the corner for you and it honestly freaks me out how fast time is going. And it only goes faster in college. As kids, all we wanted was to be in high school and be able to drive on our own and once we hit high school, all we want is to be in college. With almost being in college for two years, I can easily say that all I want is to be a kid again. We have been wishing our whole lives away since we can remember. Enjoy today.

I see so much potential in you and I am beyond excited for what the future has in store for you.

Many times, you have been the one to give me advice even though I'm the older sister and this shows how caring and loving you are. Life is going to treat you so well and it already has.

There is one piece of advice I must give to you though. Make sure to thank mom and dad and tell them you love them as often as possible. I know they can get on your nerves and may make you angry at times, but they have given us the best life. You will learn in college just how much they love us and how much they have given up just to make us happy.

You have a good head on your shoulders and I know life is going to turn out to be exactly what you wanted. Just don't wish it all away. Some of my favorite times were when I was a senior in high school.

I'm always looking out for you so don't ever think you are alone in this crazy world. Remember, I am just one phone call away.

I love you so much sis, you got this.

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