Sure, you've seen this before.
Cliché, "5 Things I've Learned About College" and it's always the same story about losing friends, building new habits, discovering who you are, making the most out of your hardest situations.
Although all of those stories are annoying to read over and over again, I hope that you understand what I'm trying to say a bit better than most. I'm not promising it won't be cliché, but I am promising that I wouldn't write this article if it didn't mean something to me.
1. Mental health comes before school - always.
We're not always taught this. We are pushed in high school to have great grades or we won't get into college and we won't have a successful career and we'll be poor and sad. Basically, that's it.
But, I am here to tell you that your mental health, your mental stability is much more important than your school, because, at the end of the day, you can restart, you can retake that SPC 1608 class you took sophomore year, and you can better your GPA. However, if something happens to you, whether that be a series of panic attacks, dropping out of school, becoming so overwhelmed that you have a mental breakdown every day (it's happened to me), you are not going to be able to do everything that you are able to, you won't be able to live to your fullest potential. Believe me, it's hard to admit that you need the help and you need guidance, but it's so worth it. You can do so much more when your brain isn't in hyperdrive or overload every minute of the day.
UCF offers services on campus to seek help and gain that guidance you might need. I encourage you to talk to someone. It's okay to ask for help and take a break.
2. Friendships are meant to be mutually beneficial.
It's not always described to us that friendships are a mutually beneficial relationship. We are taught to give a lot of ourselves in friendships and do our best to help our friend, whoever they may be, and do our best to support them.
On occasion, it doesn't take much work to do that. Other friends may require more time and effort. Both are completely okay and understandable - we are all like that in one way or another. However, when a friend is no longer supporting you or being a source of motivation and support, there is no longer the mutual benefit that friendships are meant to give.
Having a discussion with the other person may solve the issue, and it may not. Do not continue a friendship if that happens. It may be sad and hurtful to end that friendship, but in a lot of scenarios, that may lead to toxicity in your life, and you do not need that.
3. Making Dean's List doesn't determine your intelligence.
Plain and simple. Do not believe that a test and a grade in one class will discredit your intelligence. GPA (although important) is not a single determinant of your character and your worth as a human being. Of course, always try your best, but do not get caught in a trap of thinking you are less than smart because of a poor test score or a badly marked paper. Graduating with a 4.0 GPA isn't going to get your dream job - the degree and your personality will.
4. Working builds careers.
Get a part-time job! Explore your horizons! Get outside your comfort zone! Beginning to work was extremely scary at first, and gave me anxiety because of my school schedule. However, after settling in, everything is so much more comfortable and fun. Gaining work experience and social skills has helped me a lot with getting through school, and I am much better off than I was a year ago. Give it a try!
5. You will develop some unexpected friendships along the way.
College is the place to expect the unexpected. Going into college is scary and may feel very overwhelming because a lot of the time, you do not know every person that is in your lecture and you don't have anyone to go out with on a Friday night, but I promise, with time and awkward socialization, you will meet your friends - whether that be from working or a lecture where you make a study group to merely pass the class - and you finally feel comfortable and settled. College has brought me a lot of great friendships, and will bring you great ones, too.