Now that I'm just a couple days shy of graduating, I figured I'd share some lessons I learned over the past couple of years as well as some lessons that I wish my younger self would have known.
1. There's more free time in college than high school.
What matters is what you do with that free time, though. Sure, use some of it to watch Netflix, but use most of it to catch up on schoolwork. Your GPA will thank you.
2. Your weight fluctuates over your time in college.
It might just be a couple pounds or it might be the freshman 15 (or 20....). I wasn't the only one whose weight changed from the beginning to the end of college. If you take care of your body, it doesn't matter whether you can fit into your high school jeans or not. You are beautiful regardless.
3. Going to class is key.
I've skipped my share of classes, I mean who hasn't. However, it's important to go to your classes because that is where the majority of learning happens in college!
4. Getting involved on campus radically changes your experience.
I know my experience would have been very different if I had not been in student leadership. While it's not for everyone, I'd encourage you to try to find some way of getting involved on campus wherever you attend college.
5. The friends you make are truly lifelong friends.
It's painful to think about leaving my squad behind, but I know that we will never stop being friends, and will still exchange stories when we're gray-haired.
6. Most of your t-shirts will have some form of your university's logo on them.
So much so, in fact, that when you do a clothing cleanout halfway through junior year, you find no less than twenty-five of your university's shirts. And 23 of those shirts were free.
7. Make friends with the years above and below you.
Even though it'll suck to see them go, their wisdom can and will benefit you so much. I still remember seniors from my freshman year of college.
8. Share regular meals with your friend group.
Some of your sweetest memories will come from those "family dinner" sessions.
9. Take advantage of tutoring or university success centers.
These have saved my life and my GPA multiple times.
10. Take advantage of your student ID.
When you show your ID you can get movie ticket discounts, grocery store bargains, Jo-Ann's discounts, and so on. While you'll still be spending money, you won't be spending as much and we all know that every dollar counts.
11. You are not alone if something bad happens to you.
Don't think you have to go it alone. You have caring friends, a strong support network, and a cloud of prayer surrounding you! While it may take you a long time to recover emotionally from whatever may happen, you have a huge group of caring people nearby who allow you to take that time to heal.
12. It is one hundred percent fine to not have a boyfriend (or girlfriend) in college.
You'll live. In my case, I'm thankful I was single my entire college career because it allowed me to fully be present in all I did. While it is not wrong to date during college, it does bring another person into everything you do.
13. You will find something to do after college.
Fear not! Regarding my story, I am entering into a fellows program for young adults who want to work in the nonprofit sector one day. It's a yearlong fellowship that will give me valuable skills as well as a whole new network and new friends. You'll make it too. You never know what surprises God has in store!
14. Maintain your spiritual life just as much as your social life.
Even though I complained about meeting the chapel credit quota, I was glad to have the opportunity to go to chapel three times a week and worship with fellow students. I heard many great speakers like Charlie Dates, Ravi Zacharias, Steve Garber, and even John Piper.
Finally, cherish your years in college. It is one of the most radical times of growth in your life, and when you find who you really are and what you stand for.
Use it wisely.