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7 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About College

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Having just endured the higher education graduation season, I decided to sit back and take a good look at the most recent years that have shaped me to become the somewhat functioning adult that I am today. And while I loved every minute of college (OK, most minutes ...finals will always kinda suck), I realized that there were a few things that, had someone actually taken the time to relay them to me, would have made my experience a whole lot easier.

1. Go to at least ONE school event (be it a game, open mic night..whatever).

After four years, if you still don't know the school motto or even what the school mascot looks like, you might raise a few eyebrows. Check out your campus events! Even if it's just for bragging rights.

2. The freshman 15 CAN be avoided.

It takes work. It takes discipline. It takes self-control the size of the Titanic. But if you tell yourself that you don't need Taco Bell everyday, you can actually avoid packing on the pounds. Make yourself a sandwich. Invest in some M&M trail mix. Carry water with you EVERYWHERE. Believe me, your future self will be glad you did.

3. Go to class.

Seriously. Just go. While you might be a little drunk on the freedom of not being forced to go to class every day by your parents, teachers and school administrators, being absent from class is literally the quickest way to make your grade drop WAY down (most professors really believe in the infamous pop quiz). Plus, you paid for it, so you might as well get your money's worth.

4. It is possible to do your homework and still have a social life.

I was told by the big, bad college students before me that college students take one of two paths: the partier with horrible grades or the studious student with absolutely no friends or social life. This could not have have been more wrong. Despite what I'd been told, most professors don't actually drown you in homework (someone would actually have to grade all of that), and having friends doesn't actually require you to give up your academic responsibilities (they're in college too, remember?).

5. Drinking isn't a requirement during ANY social event in college.
This isn't a '90s sitcom. No one is going to pressure you to pick up a beer during a college party or make fun of you if you don't. If they do, chances are they weren't actually invited. Be free to say no if you don't want to indulge. People are attracted to self-confidence.

6. Know where you are going ahead of time (being late is NOT fun).
The day before your first day of class, figure out where your classes are and how to get to them. You really don't want to be the new kid who awkwardly interrupts the "welcome to my class" speech with hundreds of eyes staring at you, all because it took you an extra 15 minutes to find the right building.

7. Know how you are going to pay for college.
You don't know it now, but scholarships run out, and loans pile up. Plan out your four-year tuition. Sign up for every grant and scholarship that you are eligible for (the odd essay sometimes needed to apply will be worth it, trust me). This will prevent you from crying into your empty wallet in the future or having to work three part-time jobs long after you've received the diploma to pay off loans.

College is a great experience that should be had by anyone that wants it. It's a great gateway into the world of adulthood, new relationships and even a broader understanding of the world. But, like all great experiences, it can be tricky to navigate. Hopefully, with a few of these simple rules, it'll be a lot easier for all of you.
(Cambio Col[lab] is a lab for young creators to showcase their passion and develop their voice. Like what you're seeing? Share it to support their effort!)


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