College can be really rough, and sometimes you may feel yourself just needing that one hour of television to give yourself a pick-me-up. Whenever I need that break to relax, my go-to show is "Law and Order: SVU." Everyone loves to give college advice, but here are a few key things I believe every high school and college student needs to know.
1. You do not have to pick a major right away; You have some time to think about it.
In high school, everyone wants to know what you want to do for the rest of your life before you even graduate. But let's face it, you are 18 years old, no one has any idea what they want to do for the rest of their life. Most of us can't even figure out what we want to wear to our senior prom. If you are not passionate about a certain area of study when you enter college, that is OK. Give yourself a semester or two to take different classes and see what sparks your interest.
2. Learn to say, "No." You do not need to do every extracurricular on campus.
Let's face it, in college you have an unlimited number of extracurricular activities to choose from. That does not mean you should over-schedule yourself with everything that interests you in your first semester, though. The possibilities are endless. See which clubs and organizations interest you the most and pick one or two to start. Once you see what your schedule is like, maybe add a few other organizations that interest you. Saying no is OK. Do not get overwhelmed.
3. Sometimes there is no polite way to ask your roommate to be quiet when you are trying to study.
Not everyone will be blessed with an awesome freshman roommate like I did. But even if you do find that perfect roommate either by choice or by random selection, there will be times when you get annoyed with each other and just need some quiet time. Studying is always stressful, even if it is for your easiest class. There will come a time when you can't bare another long night in the library and just want to lay in bed while you review. That is the moment when you must learn that telling your roommate to be quiet in an impolite way might be necessary. You will either become so close that saying "shut-up" is acceptable and not rude, or you will never be close and saying "shut-up" is your favorite thing to do.
4. A polite nod as your professor goes on a long rant that you don’t understand is an important thing to learn.
Teachers love to talk. You can be in an American History class and your teacher can go on a rant about what they are having for dinner for an hour, and it will have no pertinence to your original comment. Learning to nod your way through a conversation like that is vital, but be sure to learn how to politely do it. Rolling your eyes and laughing will not get you an A.
5. It is OK to have a mental break down every once in awhile.
You never need an explanation for why you are hysterically crying in the library after your friend brings you a coffee. A mental breakdown can be healthy. In college you are going to become stressed, you are going to be over-worked. You are going to want to give up. When you feel yourself wanting to give up, that is a good sign that a mental breakdown is coming. Embrace it. You will feel better after, I promise.
6. Taking a dance break is always acceptable.
Now, after that mental breakdown, a little dancing couldn't hurt. Everyone has that goofy friend that loves to dance at the most inopportune times. If you are that friend, break out those dance moves when you feel your friends getting stressed. If you don't have one of those friends, you need to find one. They will always make you laugh. For those of you who already have that friend, when you feel the stress of schoolwork caving in on you, let them know. I am sure they will jump out of their chair and force you to shake your butt and wave your arms in the air.
7. Don’t believe everything people say.
People love to talk, and not just teachers, everyone. Not everything that comes out of someone's mouth is going to be correct or the best decision for you. Listen to people, but listen with caution. Some people will give you great advice and be your mentors. Others will just be those you listen to and then walk away and laugh about. It is up to you to decide who are the right people to believe.
8. Change is good for you.
Change can be difficult, but change is good. Things happen in your life that you cannot change, but they can change you. At first, it might not seem like the change you want, but everything happens for a reason. Change happens for a reason, embrace it.
Olivia Benson may not be everyone's favorite actress, but she gives her colleagues, the victims she meets and their families some great advice. She will help not only the victim get through what they are dealing with, but she will help you get through it as you watch. That is kind of like college. There will always be that one person that will get you through your roughest days. Keep them around; they may be hard to find.