8 Things I Wish I Would've Known Before Coming To College

8 Things I Wish I Would've Known Before Coming To College

College is not like high school.

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I am currently a freshman at Washington State University and let me tell you, this year is flying by. With only eight weeks left in the semester, I have been doing a lot of reflecting on my first semester and a half and really thinking about what I can do to make the most out of the last few weeks of my first year of college.

While I have learned everything from speaking Spanish, how cells replicate DNA, and the chemical composition of more substances then I can list, I have also learned a lot of life skills. I've learned the exact amount of time it takes to do a load of laundry, how to budget my money so I can fuel my coffee addiction, and I have perfected the art of mac and cheese making. Using all of these newly developed life skills, I have compiled a list of my top eight things that I wish someone would have told me before I started college, and hopefully, I can save so future freshman from making some major mistakes.

1. Skip class, you still might pass.

Everyone always says that if you skip class there is no way that you'll pass. I have found this to be very untrue, at least for me. If you have to skip every once in a while, you'll still probably get an okay grade, but if you make a habit of skipping you'll start running into some problems.

2. Homework comes before partying.

I have seen so many people go out and get back home at 2 am only then to start their homework. You came to college for school, not a party. Just do your homework, I promise it will not take as long as you think.

3. College guys really are not worth it.

Don't get me wrong, there are many great, respectful guys out there and if you're lucky enough to find him in college then I 100% support that. Just don't waste your time on a guy that only texts you in the middle of the night to "come hang."

4. Talk to people you might not usually talk to.

College gives you the opportunity to connect with people from all over with different backgrounds. Take advantage of this time to meet people and build relationships with people that you might not ever connect with.

5. Enjoy your time living in a residence hall.

Residence halls are so much fun. There aren't many times in your life that you have all of your closest friends living in the same building cooking together at 1 a.m. Residence halls are like their own little community and it is so fun to be a part of. I promise you are never too cool to go to residence hall programs.

6. Put yourself out there.

It can be hard to balance academics with a social life, but always find time to do something fun or try something new on campus. You never know, you might just find your best friend in the process.

7. Be aware of the money you're spending.

Things did not just suddenly become expensive when you came to college, they've always been expensive you just weren't buying them yourself. Be aware of this and be aware that you don't have an unlimited supply of money. Treat yourself, but don't treat yourself every day.

8. Take more photos.

I wish that I would have taken more photos. There are so many memories and events that you'll go to in college and it is so fun to look back on the pictures and remember all of the fun you have had.

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Dear Mom and Dad, You Don't Understand What College Is Actually Like In The 21st Century

I can skip class. I can leave early, and I can show up late. But, ya see, I am not doing that.
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College is not what you think it is. I am not sitting in a classroom for six hours listening to a professor speak about Shakespeare and the WW2.

I am not given homework assignments every night and told to hand them in next class.

I do not know my daily grade for each of the five classes I am taking, and I don't know if my professor even knows my name.

College today is a ton different than how it was 20+ years ago.

I go to class for about maybe three hours a day. Most of my time working on "college" is spent outside of the classroom. I am the one responsible for remembering my homework and when my ten-page essay is due.

I can skip class. I can leave early, and I can show up late. But, ya see, I am not doing that. I am a responsible person, even if you do not think I am.

I do get up every morning and drive myself to class. I do care about my assignments, grades, my degree, and my career.

I spend a lot of time on campus having conversations with my friends and relaxing outside.

I am sick of older generations thinking that us millennials are lazy, unmotivated, and ungrateful. While I am sure there are some who take things for granted, most of us paying to get a degree actually do give a s**t about our work ethic.

Dear mom and dad, I do care about my future and I am more than just a millennial looking to just get by.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlyn Moore

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How To Stay Mentally Healthy In College

Our mental health is just as important as our physical health.

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Staying healthy in college seems really, really hard to do. Classes, friends, clubs, and the whole fact of living by yourself can create a lot of stress and anxiety. Most students, and people in general, don't really know how to deal with stress or how to take care of themselves mentally, leading to unhealthy behaviors physically and mentally. If you don't take care of your mental health, your physical health will suffer eventually. Here are a few tips and tricks to help take care of your mental health:

1. Eat a well-balanced diet

Eating fruits, vegetables, grains, and other healthy foods will help you feel more energized and motivated. Most people associate eating a balanced diet as beneficial for your physical health, but it is just as important for your mental health.

2. Keep a journal and write in it daily

Writing can be one of the most relaxing and stress-relieving things you can do for yourself. Writing down the issues you are struggling with or the problems you are encountering in your life on a piece of paper can help you relax and take a step back from that stress.

3. Do something that brings you joy

Take some time to do something that brings you joy and happiness! It can be really easy to forget about this when you are running around with your busy schedule but make some time to do something you enjoy. Whether it be dancing, writing, coloring, or even running, make some time for yourself.

4. Give thanks

Keeping a gratitude log — writing what brings you joy and happiness — helps to keep you positively minded, which leads to you becoming mentally healthy. Try to write down three things that brought you joy or made you smile from your day.

5. Smile and laugh

Experts say that smiling and laughing help improve your mental health. Not only is it fun to laugh, but laughing also helps you burn calories! There's a reason why smiling and laughing are often associated with happiness and joyful thoughts.

6. Exercise

Staying active and doing exercises that energize your body will help release endorphins and serotonin, which both act as a natural antidepressant. Keeping an active lifestyle will help you stay happy!

7. Talk out your problems

All of us deal with stress and have problems from time to time. The easiest and probably most beneficial way to deal with this stress and anxiety is to talk it out with a close friend, family member, or even a counselor.

8. See a counselor, peer mentor, or psychologist

Just like it was stated in the previous point, it is beneficial to talk out your problems with a counselor. We all have issues, and it is OK to ask for help.

Keeping up your mental health in college can be a struggle, and it may be hard to even admit you are not mentally healthy. This is OK; you are not alone. If you want to see a psychologist or would like to learn more about mental health, there are resources. You can also take a self-assessment of your mental health. If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, please, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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