Being a recent college graduate, there are a few things I wish I had known or would like you to know:
- There are people at your high school to help you. From discovering your interests to helping you choose a study field to making sure your applications are properly filled out and sent on time, people are payed to help you with those things. Don't be shy to use those resources. And make an appointment EARLY! College applications are due everywhere around the same dates, and if you plan on using your school's resources, don't be last minute or they'll be swamped with demands and may not be able to give you as much attention as you need.
- Learn from my mistake: Don't over-buy school supplies! I was so used to having my school supply list that it felt odd for me to not know how many binders I would need or how many sheets of lined paper I will use during the school year (but let's face it, we always used twice the amount recommended anyway). It felt familiar and safe for me to go shopping for school supplies and so I bought everything I thought I would possibly need. Turns out, I didn't use half of the things I bought. Most colleges are paperless now, so forget the binders and duo tangs and take a week to find out how all your teachers work in their classes. Then buy in consequence.
- In link to my previous point, find the best way for you to take notes. Most people in college will prefer to take notes on their laptops or tablets because of the speed of the lessons, but some people still prefer to take notes by hand and that's OK, too. Once again, make sure to take the time to find out how each teacher works and what's the best learning method for you in each class.
- Laptops. Great for taking notes, working on projects outside of the library between classes or just to kill time, they are a great asset. But if your college is anything like mine, it's not built to accommodate them. Once again, it's all about taking time and getting aware of your surroundings. Locate each power outlet in every class and common areas (like the cafeteria or student cafés) and come prepared; you can always go on a first come first serve basis and be sure to always be the first one in class or you can bring with you an extension cord. Not only will it often save your life (or you computer's at least), but it will give a hand to anyone in need.
- The last thing I wish I knew before I started college was this: NO ONE CARES. You arrive at school in sweatpants and no makeup on? Ninety-five percent of them understand why you didn't bother to fix yourself up for school while 100 percent of them envy you and your comfiness. You have bags under your eyes and are always stuck to your favorite coffee mug? Everyone knows about those nights you didn't sleep much either because of school work or partying too much (both look pretty much the same). You want to be something different? A boy studying esthetics or a girl studying to become a firefighter? If they are thinking about something, it's probably how much you rock for pursuing your dreams. In college, people don't care. Of course, there will always be judgmental people in the world, but college is different from high school. People are more mature and have a better understanding of what it is to become an adult. People mostly care about themselves and making sure their education is worth it rather than bringing other people down so don't be afraid to be yourself!