4 Things Parents Never Explain to You When You Start College

4 Things Parents Never Explain to You When You Start College

Choose the right fit for you, learn from it

"Go to college." I heard this phrase so many times before I actually graduated high school that it became an almost subconscious mantra. So, what did I do? I applied for a dozen colleges, got approved, graduated and then realized my parents didn't tell me everything I was up against.

And yes, I was an adult, but it's a quick transition period from the end of high school to signing your life away to go to college.

I went from being a kid to an adult in a matter of months. I went to college like my parents told me to, but they neglected to explain a few things to me along the way.

1. Your Major Might Change

I thought I wanted to be an artist, but then I realized that it's not a smart choice for a career. I didn't want to be a starving artist. I felt ashamed because I was an art major, and everyone knew what my major was in my family.

But I found out that 75% of students in the US change their major at least once.

In fact, 20% - 50% of students go into college undecided. It's fine to change your major. You're still learning, and one of the greatest things you can learn is that a career path is not for you. If you find that the major you chose isn't the right fit for you, change it.

Don't waste time working towards a major that doesn't make you happy.

2. Your Student Loan Debt Will Be Massive

Everyone knows that student loan debt is real, but let's think about it for a minute. You've entered college, you're getting good grades and you haven't received a bill for your student loans yet.

In fact, you kind of go through the motions and don't even want to see how much debt you've accrued.

Loans become nothing more than a word until you actually have to start paying them off. Reality hits about six months after you graduate and realize that the education you received left you with $37,000 in debt.

You'll need to pay this debt off in ten years, in most circumstances. So, you'll pay $3,700 a year not including interest rates, or over $300 (without interest) in loans. This is a lofty payment for someone trying to start their lives.

Student loans aren't forgiven in bankruptcy either. This is your debt to pay off even if your degree pays peanuts. Loan forgiveness is possible, but you're looking at 20 – 25 years to have your loans forgiven. Legislation can erase that thought from your mind, too.

Work hard. Take a part-time job. Pay for as much of your own tuition as you can.

3. Asking for Help is a Good Thing

I've always been independent, and I always received great grades in high school. But college is a different beast. There are classes that you'll excel in, and there will be classes that will leave you scratching your head.

Statistics was the sticking point for me.

So, I tried to tough it out, and then when I was ready to give up, my friend asked me a few questions:

  • Did you try getting a tutor?
  • Did you see if it's a required class?
  • Did you think of dropping the class?

I didn't want to feel like a failure, so I never even thought to see if there was another class that would satisfy my statistics requirement. Tutors? Really? I was the "smart kid." I realized quickly that it's okay to ask for help when you're in college.

You have to leave your ego at the door and do whatever you can to get good grades.

Sometimes, you need to ask for help, and that's the responsible thing to do.

4. Being an Adult is Really Hard

Everyone, including your parents, view you as an adult now. And, guess what? Being an adult is really hard. You'll make a lot of mistakes, but now you have all of these bills rolling in. Mom doesn't cook dinner for you anymore.

Your parents are finally living their lives again.

Freedom comes with being an adult, but you also need to know when it's time to stop partying day and night. You need to remember to keep your head down and continue studying even when your roommate is throwing a party.

No one wants to supervise an adult, so it's all up to you to make the right decisions.

You'll make a lot of mistakes along the way, and that's going to happen to even the best of us. But what matters most is owning up to these mistakes, learning from them and being a responsible adult.

Soon enough, you'll realize a lot of adults are still trying to figure it out – you're simply the new adult in the group.

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Five Main Reasons I Chose Communications

Because I know people will forever hound me about "fake news".

I did an article a few weeks ago about “questions my family would ask” and my answers to them. One of the questions was as follows:

What’s your major?

  • Communications. Yes, I know to not get involved with fake news. To be honest I will do my best not to write about politics at all in my field because I want to get involved with entertainment journalism and meet new people and write about stuff I actually enjoy hearing about twenty-four seven.

This answer got me to thinking more about the fact that people may have a stigma against those going into the communications field. I know I for one have seen many articles doing “majors as _______” and the communication ones are humorous and true, saying that the communications slogan would be “trying to convince people your degree is worth something.” Honestly, it’s the truth. I feel as though many may have a negative impression when I say I want to go into the communications field. I can not count how many times someone has said “fake news” to me in some way shape or form, and it may make people hesitant to admit this is their passion. So this articles for you, if you wonder why in the world someone would donate so much time into something like this.

Learning on the Job.

I for one always had a passion for learning. School? Not until recently, but learning was always something I enjoyed. With communications, there are endless opportunities to learn about places, events, and people. You learn so much about history and settings which you may not otherwise think you would find interesting. Yes, you can learn on your own time, but being paid to learn about things that you may not otherwise open your mind up to- and things you do find fascinating, as well- is, to me, the perfect environment because there is always something new to introduce.

Meeting People.

I can’t think of a more interactive job than one which involves heavy communications skills. Journalism or public relations are so heavily involved in other people’s lives that it makes my life seem less boring. I believe the perfect example of this would be the 1998 film by Todd Haynes, Velvet Goldmine, starring Christian Bale. It follows a journalist who gets to travel all over New York and meet people in attempt to piece together a piece of mysterious history. Ironically enough, that wa the film that really made me want to go into journalism. The interviewing process is more often than not, highly intimate. You learn details about people you may otherwise never have met before, or crossed the street and not thought twice. Heck, you might have even let a door shut on them, but in that moment you’re sitting across from them hearing their entire life story.


Probably the most glamorous part of the communications field is being able to travel and meet the people I mentioned above. It is no secret that some of the most well known publications are nowhere near my home state of Virginia, but that’s okay! I look forward to taking that risk and living in New York. In my eyes, and probably a few other students’ as well, moving is part of the job, and all too worth it when you could get the chance to meet someone truly extraordinary. Personally, if I were to carry on in communications, my section would focus on the entertainment industry (films and the like) and so conventions are a big part of publicity and press. Being able to go there under the title “press” interview some of the biggest stars in horror or other films, interviewing Oscar nominees? There’s no opportunity if you stay grounded in your roots. You have to move to find the story.


And communications isn’t just for talking! You get to get involved with campaigns and marketing as well. It opens doors to getting work scene, making posters and merchandise for artists, commercial advertising, films, and so forth. There’s a truly creative aspect that comes with communications whether it be posters, presentations, or merchandising. It’s a real art form you don’t appreciate until you sit through a lecture on fonts.

Having a Voice

Okay, this ones a little cliche, but one of my personal favorite aspects of communications- mass communications- is being able to have a voice, be it in front of a small group or a big audience. It allows you to test yourself, and see where you really stand on certain aspects (yes, we are taking the political bullet here). It also allows you to spread your message and persuade others to think critically about what they believe. I believe that communications gives a very heavy sense of empathy which some (most) may lack, the understanding of other people and their sides to some issues, big or small. Once the message is out, it’s the ultimate gateway to compromise.

I use to be incredibly introverted, and going into the communications field has helped me to create another version of myself entirely. It opens doors to figuring out what your morals and ethics are, a road of self discovery, if you will. Communications isn’t just “fake news” and politics, it’s an entire world of never ending education and facts and learning, and while it may not be as glamorous as a lawyer or doctor, it is just a fascinating to the right people.

Cover Image Credit: pixabay.com

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Let's Arm the Teachers

.....with what they really need

The news is swirling and people seem to be losing their minds over school shootings (as they should be). From conversations on mental health to intense arguments on gun control, the national dialogue on school shootings has once again reached a peak. Survivors are seeking action by politicians now more than ever - although many have been fighting for change for decades.

The newest, most creative, "ah-ha" idea in many localities around the country is to arm teachers and administrators with guns to protect students. Whether this idea seems genius or like the stupidest thing you've ever heard, I am not concerned. Put it in a Facebook post.

I want to talk about a different kind of armament for teachers and school district employees. What if the government armed schools with the supplies, salary, and training to protect their students in a way in which they were capable of the positive mental, physical, and emotional development to protect them from a plethora of disasters including suicide, bullying, poverty, and, yes, school shootings? What if all teachers, not just private school teachers, were given the resources to properly support their students? This could lead to a compounding of armament meaning that students would be provided with the 'arms' (support and skills) they need to protect themselves from poverty, mental and physical illness, violence, etc.

Picture this, a student is struggling in school academically and socially. A teacher being paid sufficiently, with enough free time due to small class sizes, with the motivation and drive through proper training by their administrators, and with the extra supplies to help his or her students practice and understand class material is equipped to support the student emotionally and academically. This student, with this careful attention from the teacher improves in school socially and academically to become a productive member of society with some self esteem as icing on the cake.

The student without these resources falls through the cracks. He or she remains behind in school, emotionally damaged, and vulnerable to failure. Failure comes in many forms whether it be not graduating, not getting a job, falling into poverty, getting into trouble with drugs and alcohol, not having friends, deteriorating mental health, etc. These things are as much of a threat to one's life as gun violence. Furthermore, these things can lead to gun violence.

I do not agree with those who want to arm teachers with guns in order to protect students, but I do believe, although to a different degree, that education and strong teachers have great amounts of power in protecting the world. I believe it is possible, through funding and stronger infrastructure, for education, specifically public education, to protect students from violence inside and outside of school buildings themselves.

Overall, the politics of gun violence in America is complicated and wrought with many strong and conflicting opinions. I believe the most recent solution, to arm teachers, is complicated and dangerous, but my point has nothing to due with this discussion. I believe, though, that teachers should be armed with resources much more effective in the long run than guns. I believe in the power of teachers to keep students safe.

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