So, you’ve filled the requirements to ride the college rollercoaster - congrats! Welcome to where excitement, exhaustion and, I guess, education collide. Consider what it might feel like to plunge into a pitch black pool of jello shots, research papers, and cafeteria burritos. Now swim around in that mess for four years and you've got yourself a college career! Have fun!
There's no clear-cut way to give college advice. Before stepping into it, it's a world filled with so many question marks. It's a world where you can envision walking through a new routine but all of the feelings and faces surrounding you are out of focus. The bodies and backgrounds are blurred. This is because you can't paint a scene without the right tools.
When looking back at my collection of chaotic college memories, I feel an overwhelming sense of humiliation, happiness, and hilarity. It took four years of being knee-deep in the chaos to be able to create something that could constitute as college advice. From ridiculous regrets to strange stories to unforgettable friendships, there's no doubt that college will bring you some of the sweetest moments of your life. Here's to hoping that this helps you to gather an ounce of guidance to erase some of those question marks and ease you into the grand ole' college experience.
College is kind of like the friendship version of rushing into a fancy buffet and trying to taste everything at once. (Fancy buffet - I know, it sounds like an oxymoron. Just wait until you go to Vegas.) Surely, you’ll miss out on some of the tastiest treats the first round. I know this can feel earth-shattering to hear after you just put in all that effort in your first few weeks, but...your #FreshmanYearFriends won’t be your only friends. If you think you've met the perfect people now, just wait until everything settles. You’ll be amazed by who else comes into your life. The same advice goes if you haven't met anyone you click with yet.
Feel stuck in a friend group? It's never too late to mix up things up and make new friends. Cliques aren't really a thing in college (thank god.) I found myself in a melting pot of groups by senior year. It was so refreshing to see the campus through new eyes and new relationships just when I thought I knew everyone I needed to know.
It's easy to immediately submerse yourself with people 24/7. Take some time every once in a while to reboot and check in with yourself. No one cares if you’re eating lunch alone. Solo time is good for the soul.
And more important than anything else, greek letters don’t define you - or anyone else for that matter.
Turns out sharing a bathroom with a bunch of girls can be far more terrifying than with boys. I’m talking smeared boogers on the stall walls, people. In case you were wondering, yes I did get a sticky note to condemn said-booger smearing publicly. Be the person who cleans up after yourself - or at least tries to. Just take out the dang trash. Don’t look for praise. Just do it.
Your roommate doesn’t have to be your best friend and if they are, praise the lord baby Jesus every day. You're one of the lucky ones. If or when things are sour, address those issues face to face. Technology only serves as a barrier and a cop-out.
Don’t get on attendance probation in the first two weeks of a class. It usually helps when you don't select a schedule the begin at 7 am with the intent of "becoming a morning person." Plan according to your highest functioning hours. Even when you end up with the dopest schedule in the land, if you weren't a coffee-person going into college, you will be when you leave.
Find your favorite professors and create a real relationship with them. From internships to networking to recommendation letters, those relationships can help you immensely in the long run. That said, lockdown an internship as soon as you can. I can't say enough about the importance of real-world experience. This is beyond the resume building - this is because you'll learn so much more about what you actually like to do in practice. Working for free? What a time to be alive.
Just because you don't have your mom around to yell at you doesn't mean that your teeth stop shifting while you sleep - wear those expensive retainers of yours. Friggin’ wash your face before bed, too. Seriously. While you're at it, wash your hands more. When one person has the flu, everyone has the flu. Get outside and do something active every once in a while. Contrary to popular belief, there is a pause button on Netflix.
Use your meal plan. Actually, do more than use your meal plan - abuse your meal plan. Sneak apples and handhelds to your dorm. It’ll save dat $$$. Maybe restrict yourself from taking ten pieces of pizza though. Sober You will thank you. Drunk You? Not so much. Remember what I said about the buffet earlier? Well, just because it’s buffet-style doesn’t mean you have to try everything. (Or does it?)
To be honest, these are probably going to be the most unhealthy years of your life, don't beat yourself up over it. Have a blast and maybe throw a salad in here and there.
Frat parties rarely lead to boyfriends. Remember the respect you deserve. Chop your hands off before you begin to type that drunk text. If even handlessness can't stop you, shoot the text to your friend instead - that'll shame you just as well. If you're on the receiving end of that 2 am text, you're probably not the only person. I'm rly sry.
You know what, let’s just say this: don’t look for love. Fill your days with epic friendship. Love is a serious battlefield in college. It can feel like the most discouraging quest - so, skip it. I’m not saying to ignore the right person if they stumble (even if it's quite literally) into your life. However, there are a lot of people that tend to set themselves up for failure by imagining the picture-perfect narrative of boy meets girl in the college library, living brilliantly ever after. Could happen! Just don't sit around trying to wish it into existence. Soak up those endless sleepovers and the freedom of floating from party to party with your friends.
As the age old saying goes, don’t drink the juice; "they" weren't lying. Chug a bottle of water before bed; hell, chug a Brita before bed. Side note: Get a Brita. Always dance on elevated surfaces - and remember, slippery when wet. Taking a nose dive off of a table shockingly never ends well.
If you’re gonna cry, leave the party. I laughed out loud typing that one. There are so many sobbing faces that have been seared into my memory, my own definitely being one of them. Shifting from the mental to the physical pain - stop wearing heels if you can't commit to them all night. The charlie horses and dirt stained feet aren’t worth it.
18's exciting, 19's cool, but being 20 kinda sucks. Don’t worry, 21 will come soon enough.
Learn to let go when it's time. Poisonous relationships, unfair expectations of yourself, maybe even that creepy baby blanket that you defend during pregames at your place.
It's normal to feel like you're not where you thought you'd be by now. Life isn't linear. Not everyone is racing ahead of you. Try to live in your own swim lane. When you keep focusing on what feels right for you, everything will pan out the way it's supposed to.
And last but not least, if you have a moment of hesitation before putting a picture on the internet - pass on that. Pay attention to how you're living your life, not how many hearts you have on Instagram.
College advice complete. Semi-reputable grad, out.