10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started College

You my young friend are about to embark in a fun new adventure: college. As a recent graduate myself, here are some words of wisdom from someone who has been there, done that. The kind of stuff they’ll never tell you on those lame campus tours and far away from those idealistic program brochures.

Here are ten things I wish I knew when I was in your position. You can thank me later.

  1. Who ever said high school was the best years of your life was a liar. Or they were still a teenager and didn’t know any better. Whether you had a positive or negative high school experience,  I'm a firm believer that the best is yet to come and it starts here. Starting university is the first time you really start to gain independence, meet new people and learn about stuff you're actually interested about. See? Way better than high school.

  2. Most of your high school friends will turn into former acquaintances. Doesn't matter how many times you promised you were going to be BFFs, truth is, a majority of you will move on. Life gets busy and suddenly you’ll realize a year has gone by. They become those people you stalk on on Facebook to see what they’re up to and that’s that. But with that being said, like any other relationship, if you believe your high school BFF is your soul sister, you’ll put in the effort to stay friends.

  3. The amount of money you will spend is outrageous. Tuition, textbooks and rent – we expect those costs to be expensive. But the amount of money you’ll spend on your daily double-double is unreal. Not like you can help it, there's always Tim Hortons or Starbucks within two feet of each other on college campuses. Not to mention the money you’ll spend on food, alcohol, paying for nightclub covers or various other events. The numbers will just keep adding up. And if you’re like me and your university is in the middle of downtown, in one of the country’s major cities, I pray for you girl. Store sales will be calling your name EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Save money while you still can.

  4. Don’t expect to have a great GPA just because you were an honour student in high school. I noticed a lot of my peers stress out over this. Students who had 90% averages in high school were suddenly getting a GPA of 3.0 or lower. The truth is university is a whole new ball game and unfortunately not every high school prepares their students adequately for it. The number of students who graduate high school without knowing how to write a proper essay is astronomical.  But don't worry, college is a major adjustment no matter how academically prepared you are. If you want to get your grades back up, sometimes all it takes is a stricter work ethic. But if you're still struggling,  don’t be afraid to take advantage of your school's resources.  

  5. You will develop the incredible ability to write essays just hours before they're due. I don’t recommend it because that usually entails an all-nighter, a couple cans of Red Bull and pulling your hair out trying to look for those darn secondary sources. But you’ll write it, hand it in with 10 minutes to spare and feel pretty darn impressed with yourself. One of my professors used to call this, “Worshipping the Gods of Procrastination.” Do it and sometimes the Procrastination Gods will bless you with amazing marks. But what you’re usually left with is some serious dark circles, and half-ass essays with silly grammar mistakes. The Gods you should be worshipping: TIME MANAGEMENT.

  6. You won’t remember half the names of all the ‘hotties’ you make out with at uni parties.  What was his name again? Jim? James? Josh? No wait, it was definitely Jonathan. Or was it Jay?

  7. Get experience while you can. If you’re worried about all lack of job prospects in your field, get proactive. Many major companies that you probably want to work for someday, offer great volunteer or internship opportunities for students. Not only will you gain experience and have a leg up on a lot of your peers, but you’ll gain a lot of connections that can help you get a job when you graduate from your program.

  8. You will second guess your career choice all the time. Unless you were dreaming about this moment since you were five, it’s not uncommon to second guess your program choice. Sometimes it’s just insecurities getting the best of you, but if you feel your program wasn’t what you were hoping it was going to be, it might be time to do some serious thinking.

  9. You will become a professional juggler. Not a circus juggler, I’m talking about juggler of life. Part-time job, internship, school, social life and personal life – your juggling skills will be pushed to the limits during college and people from all sides will be fighting for your time. No one wants to juggle a million things at once, but most of you will have to as a means to survive (hence part-time job) and stay competitive in your field (hence internships).  And obviously you want to stay sane so you try to maintain a social and personal life. Juggling is hard and at times extremely stressful, but you will learn to master it. Or completely eliminate sleep from the equation. What is sleep anyway?

  10. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you can teach yourself an entire semester the night before the final exam. Just don’t do it. Go to class, take notes, ask questions and don’t give yourself that unnecessary stress. But if you a) slacked off the entire semester or b) your professor just sucks at teaching – at least give yourself two weeks before the exam to catch up and ask any questions. That doesn’t guarantee you’ll pass but at least you’ll have a fighting chance.


Tags: friendship, self help

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