9 Things They Don't Tell You In College, So Be Prepared

9 Things They Don't Tell You In College, So Be Prepared

You may be skipping meals because you are busy or you're just a broke college kid.

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We are approaching the upcoming semester, don't panic. It is a scary time, especially if you are moving far away from home for the first time. College is uncharted territory for all of us entering it for the first time. You have lots of questions and trying to take in as much advice as you can until your parents are dropping you off at your dorm room. Here are some tips that may reduce some stress and uncertainty.

1. The whole textbook situation sucks

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Maybe you are one of the lucky colleges that has a textbook rental system. Unfortunately, for the rest of us, it is a pain in the behind. To ease a headache, I go to bigwords.com. This website compares reliable textbook sites for the lowest prices. From rentals to used to new books. Be sure to check the fine print of the website you end up using, especially if it is a rental. Also, ALWAYS rent a textbook if you can. Unless it's for your major down the line, you most likely will never use it again. So save yourself some money and go with the rental.

2. Don't use the school bookstore unless you absolutely have to

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The bookstore is sooo expensive so if you don't do your research, you will be wasting your money and missing out on some great deals. Sometimes you can't avoid the bookstore and their evil prices, but you can try.

3. Write down important dates in your planner

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I set aside a day to literally sit down with my planner in front of me with my colored pens and write down all the dates that I need to know during the semester. You may have already heard this before, but YOUR PLANNER WILL BECOME YOUR BEST FRIEND!! I cannot stress that enough. Even if you are one of those people who's got it all *up here*, humor a girl and get yourself a cheap planner so you can try to write down things. Because there is always a time to forget.

4. Get used to talking...a lot

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Wait, what?? I am a major that requires me to stick to my own business, what do you mean I am going to be talking a lot?! Yes, you read right. Most colleges require you to take a public speaking class (and besides, it's good for you and an essential skill). Also, if you apply to jobs, you will be interviewed and require some sort of speaking skills. On top of that, if you have any sort of leadership position in life, you will have to have good communication skills. From small talk to talking to the dream business you hope to work for in the future, be prepared.

5. Networking. Know the term

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Networking is a new term you will learn in college. At least it was new to me. Networking is basically socializing professionally. You can be networking with other peer professionals or big CEO's for the company you dream of working for. These will ultimately lead you to connections and where you want to go. You will learn to elevator pitch, speak clearly and consistently, and have a firm handshake.

6. Cold weather sucks more in college

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You don't have the luxury of driving right up to your classroom like you did in high school. You have to at least park and then walk. At Illinois State, 50-80% of our weather is cold. If you go to a school where it is going to be cold, wear jeans. Leggings won't cut it, ladies. Layer, layer, layer. Bring coats and hats and gloves and all that will keep you warm.

7. Invest in a really good umbrella and rain boots

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I have a bubble umbrella and that is the most useful thing for me in college. When it is windy and rainy, flimsy umbrellas will turn out and will break. Bubble umbrellas fall all around you and you won't get nearly as wet with a collapsible umbrella. Rain boots you can find at Walmart or Target for cheap. You'll thank your feet later. Because nothing is worse than wet feet all day in class.

8. Always have some sort of food on you

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You are in college. You walk everywhere. You may be skipping meals because you don't have the time or you're a broke college kid. Either way, pack a granola bar or something small in your backpack, purse, car to prevent yourself from getting hangry or have a growling stomach in the middle of class (because we all know how embarrassing that can be.

9. You may miss your dog more or your parents, but you will be homesick at some point

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College is not easy. As anyone who has ever gone through it. It is a long, stressful time where you are independent and on your own for the first time. Your support system or your fluffy therapist aren't going to be there all the time. You will miss them. You may be completely separate from them on every issue but they are still people you had to talk to. They did your laundry and gave you love. When you are stressed and on your own, you will miss them.

Don't be discouraged. College is so much fun once you get the hang of it. You will go through the firsts. Your first party, the first day of class, first football game, first finals week, first homecoming week. Embrace it! Before you know it, you'll be keeping track of the lasts. Hopefully, you won't be blindsided when you come into college. If something comes up, just keep calm and ask for help. Be sure to keep an open, level-headed mind and college will be a piece of cake.

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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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