21 Things I Wish I Knew Before Coming Into College

21 Things I Wish I Knew Before Coming Into College

Dear FDOC self, you're in for a wild ride
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College is a time of fear and growth, of fun and work, and of sorrow and joy. There are few things in life more worthwhile than being thrown head first into a new town with new people and being all alone throughout the process. As I wrap up my first year at Carolina, (Go Heels) I reflect on some of the things I wish I would have known on my first day of class back in August. While I hope you read this article and take at least one piece of advice with you, I am very aware that college is very much a "learn by doing" experience. Here are 21 things I wish I knew, now that I have finished my first year as a member of the Class of 2021.

1. Move-In Day is going to be way less sad than you think it will be

Don't get me wrong, leaving home is going to be super hard. There will most likely be tears, BUT once you get all set up in your new room, the excitement sets in. Move-in day isn't going to be as hard as you think it will be, in all reality, the first day is a blast.

2. Your roommate is going to become one of the most important people in your world

It doesn't matter if and when you two met. Whoever your roommate ends up being, they are going to matter. Once upon a time, someone told me that people are either a lesson or a blessing. If your experience isn't the best, learn from it. If you are fortunate enough to have a great roommate, value every single memory. You'll see why.

3. You need to study...

College is hard, end of story. Please study in a balanced and efficient manner. If you (like most of us) don't know how to study, make use of the resources out there to help you.

4. Like, a lot

Really though, you are going to want to be in college for more than a semester (lol). Don't miss the mark, you are here for a reason.

5. Some professors are great, others, not so great

Some days life feels super fair, other days it feels like the farthest thing from it. Be humble and respectful but also remember that not every professor is the best and you should be confident enough in yourself to fight for the grade you deserve.

6. FOMO (fear of missing out) will TANK your GPA

Once again, balance. I can say it 1000 times but it won't be until the first failing exam grade that you realize how important that balance is. It isn't the last concert, party, or hang out night to ever exist. Take a step back, stay in for a weekend or two, get some sleep, watch some Netflix, or maybe even get ahead on work for the week.

7. Not every Saturday night needs to be poppin'

Repeat entire last advice paragraph except remember that some of the best nights involve popcorn, movies, and your hallmates.

8. It's okay to be homesick

No one will ever ask you to be perfectly happy after uprooting your life and moving to a new home. It's okay to ask your parents to visit for lunch. It's okay to spend hours on the phone with your brother or sister. It's okay to cry. There's no college rulebook.

9. You will feel lonely, at least once, probably way more though

A community is hard. Friends are hard. Girls, especially, are hard. College can be extremely lonely at times. Embrace that loneliness and use it as an opportunity to learn about yourself.

10. You should try to get involved

It seems hard to feel the motivation to get involved after spending the past four years stressing about college applications. College is a chance to develop passions. Get involved in something, and whatever that something is, make it something you care about. The content of your resume will matter more than ever in a few years, start now.

11. Be smart about your schedule

Think less about how late you can stay out on Thursday and more about whether or not it's possible to get a decent grade with a poorly rated professor. Make sure you are setting yourself up for success from the start.

12. Don't overload yourself, even if you think you can

College is a new beast. Start easier and get harder as you learn more about what you're doing and what you want to major in. There is more than enough time to take your gen ed classes. Trying to cram them into one semester is going to near kill you.

13. Be more spontaneous than not

College goes by way faster than you think. Planning every second of every day is a great way to get your work done but not a great way to live your college life. Drive to the beach at 4 am, spend three hours in Waffle House, pull an all-nighter the night before a break. These memories are going to be the ones you value the most.

14. Ask for help the second you need it

Semesters speed by, especially when your class only meets two days a week. It is so easy to get left behind. Oftentimes, your tuition includes tutoring services. You're already paying for the tutors you might as well use them.

15. Don't settle for a small friend group

Try your hardest to branch out from high school. Groups move around a ton in college especially when class schedules change. Becoming entirely devoted to a single group of friends is incredibly hard on your heart, save yourself the struggle, meet some new people every chance you can get.

16. Don't compromise your morals for others.

College is a time of new people and it is way easier than you think to compromise on your morals. It is crucially important that you stay true to your morals and odds are, you'll find those that are most like you and they will become your best friends. College is a time of major independence. Get ahead.

17. Learn to plan, to get ahead, and to prepare

Speaking of getting ahead, time management is the name of the game in college. Spend the extra ten minutes and plan out exactly when you're going to get all of your work done. Procrastinating in college is a dangerous thing, planning ahead can make all of the difference in the world in your grade.

18. Value sleep and learn to nap

The ability to nap is a gift denied to many. Out of all the things you learn in college, the art of getting enough sleep is not one of them. A 30-minute nap in the middle of the day is incredibly useful.

19. Take care of your body

It is SO easy to abuse your body in college. Make a conscious effort to eat well, exercise often, sleep whenever you can, take breaks, pray often, and find time to laugh. Your grades do NOT define you. Your physical and mental health come first 100% of the time.

20. Take pictures and videos of everything

Next thing you know you're sitting in your room, scrolling through pictures and you have less than a week left of freshman year. Take pictures of everything. Your friends will make fun of you but it's almost impossible to remember every great moment.

21. Don't blink

and just like that, you're 1/4 done with college (hopefully). It goes quickly, make it worth while.

Class of 2022, 2023, 2024 and so on, you're going to love college. In the next year, you're going to learn more than you have in all four years of high school combined. Welcome to college 2022, don't blink.


Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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To The Girl Who Isn't Graduating On Time, It Won't Feel Any Less Amazing When You Do

Graduating is something to be proud of no matter how long it takes you.

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To the girl who isn't graduating college "on time,"

I promise, you will get there eventually, and you will walk across that graduation stage with the biggest smile on your face.

You may have a different journey than the people you grew up with, and that is OKAY. You may have some twists and turns along the way, a few too many major changes, a life change, you may have taken most of a semester off to try to figure your life out, and you're doing the best you can.

Your family and your friends don't think less of you or your accomplishments, they are proud of your determination to get your degree.

They are proud of the woman you are becoming. They don't think of you as a failure or as someone any less awesome than you are. You're getting your degree, you're making moves towards your dreams and the life that you have always wanted, so please stop beating yourself up while you see people graduating college on time and getting a job or buying a car.

Your time will come, you just keep doing what you need to do in order to get on that graduation stage.

Your path is set out for you, and you will get there with time but also with patience. The place you're at right now is where you are supposed to be. You are going to thrive and you are going to be the best version of you when you graduate and start looking for a company that you will be proud to work for. Don't look on social media and feel less than, because at least you're still working towards your degree that you are finally passionate about. You will be prepared. You will be ready once the time comes and you cross the stage, move away, and start your journey in whatever field you're going into.

Don't question yourself, and be confident in your abilities.

With love,

A girl who isn't graduating on time

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Goodbye School, Hello Real World

I'm ready for ya!

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It's starting to hit me.

I've been in school, year after year, since kindergarten. Maybe even pre-school!

Now, I'm about to graduate with my bachelors in communication and I couldn't be more proud of myself. I'll say it. I often sugarcoat it or suppress it but d*mn it. I'm going to applaud myself. It was hard work. It took a lot of motivation, determination, (caffeine), and willpower to get to where I am today. I worked my ass off.

That being said, I can't help but think... What is life without due dates? What is life like without scrambling to turn in an assignment that's due at 11:59 PM? What is life like with actual sleep? Sleep? I don't know her.

Like I keep telling my boyfriend and my parents, I don't have it all figured out. At least not right now. But I will, and I'm in no rush to land my dream job right now. If anything, I want to take a year to myself. I want to travel. I want to sleep in if I d*mn well please! I want to read as many books as I want. I want to write till my fingers fall off (OK, maybe not that).

You get the jist.

I'm free. I can do and be whatever I want. And you know what? That's terrifying.

I'm lost. I've followed this structure for so long. Now what?

I don't have all the answers yet. But for now, at least right at this very moment, I'm so thankful to have been able to receive such an amazing education. And to be able to say I'm graduating with my bachelors in communication at 21 is an accomplishment in itself.

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