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Tips On Navigating College

As I transition into adulthood, I've begun to reflect on the things I wish I had known while growing up. As I enter my second year in my full-time career, the gears of adulthood are steadily turning, revealing a mix of joy and challenges that come with 'adulting'.

So, consider me the unsolicited big sister, here to share all the wisdom and advice I wish someone had imparted to me during my younger years.

Let's dive right in, shall we? I want to chat about all the stuff I learned in college that I really wish I had known back in high school. And, let's not forget about all the good things college taught me. After all, I'm pretty grateful for those too.

Almost Everything About College

College was a whole new world for me, and quite frankly, it scared the daylights out of me. You know how in high school, the idea of breaking free from the family cocoon sounds absolutely thrilling? Well, that was me. But when my mom dropped me off at college and I found myself alone, trying to navigate this vast unknown... let me tell you, I was terrified! Sure, this was one of those "double-edged sword" moments. Looking back now, I'm actually grateful that I moved away. It was a real game-changer; it made me much more independent. I had to learn how to fend for myself and got a taste of what it feels like to be an adult, even if just a mini one. So, now, I want to share some tips for surviving that first week of college. Trust me, it can be pretty daunting when you realize you're all alone, with no friends or family to lean on (because, let's face it, nobody really tells you how scary that part can be).

10 Tips on Navigating College:

  1. Go to all the freshman events! At my university, there was a whole week dedicated to letting us freshmen mingle and essentially get a taste of the college life. DO THIS! And if your school doesn't have this kind of orientation, don't sweat it. Join different clubs. Honestly, it's the easiest way to make friends in college. (Fun fact: I'm still pals with the people I met on my first day of college.)

  2. Don't be afraid to go up to people and introduce yourself. In college, everyone wants to meet other people so don't think this is weird! A good tip is complimenting someone because that's always a great conversation starter.

  3. Don't overpack. I really wish someone had given me the heads up to pack light for college. Turns out, I didn't use half the stuff I brought and, believe it or not, I ended up buying more things as my college days rolled on.

  4. Now, this one's key: learn the basics of 'adulting' (like laundry, personal hygiene, cooking, and so on). I was seriously shocked by the number of people I met who didn't know these essential life skills. It's kinda crazy, really. So learn these things in high school, and if you don't know how, look it up or ask your guardians. There's also youtube videos and Google if you are too embarrassed to ask.

  5. Don't buy your textbooks during the first week. I wish someone had given me this heads-up earlier - it would have saved me so much money. Often, you'll find yourself swapping classes and discovering different ones that pique your interest. So, buying books before you've attended at least two classes is basically throwing money down the drain. AND, more often than not, you'll be able to find a free PDF of the book online (GenLib was a real wallet-saver for me).

  6. Explore other majors. Before I finally settled on the major I graduated with, I changed my mind three times - and I couldn't be more glad that I did. I used my first year to dabble in a variety of classes. I tested the waters with a science class (thinking about the nursing route), an art class (considering more Bachelor of Arts degrees), and even took some psychology classes (because, well, I was just genuinely curious about it). I'd definitely recommend taking classes that grab your interest, because you never know where they might lead! And if you're unsure about what major to pursue, don't stress out too much. Often, you'll find that you might not even use your degree in your future career! (Well, unless you're eyeing fields like medicine or engineering - then, you're pretty much committed).

  7. Do internships in college. I also made the most out of my school's Handshake platform because all the open positions were tailored specifically for students at my university. Gaining experience in college can really help you get a sense of what you might want to do in the future. And if you're unsure, that's totally fine. I mean, I'm still figuring it all out myself. A Jetson plug - we're hiring for the fall so join our internship program!

  8. Look into on-campus jobs. I decided to work at a sorority's kitchen my college years and I'm so glad I did because I got free food! Food is such a hassle in college because often, you don't have time to make anything.

  9. Don't sign up for early classes. I am not a morning person, so when I had all 8 am classes my first year, that was a rude awakening. I felt like I barely learned anything because I was so tired and ended up missing half of my classes. (Definitely don't follow my footsteps.) But if you are a morning person, then this is great for you because you then have the rest of your day to do things! Tailor your class schedule based on your habits because this will help you out a lot.

  10. Don't miss class registration. I did not realize that getting the classes I needed/wanted was going to be the hunger games. Set those alarms and definitely wake up for your registration times. If you don't know what I mean, you'll know when you hit your second semester of college. Check with your advisor when your next registration date is and mark that on your calendar! Also, scout out the classes you need before your registration because as a freshman, often you don't get first pick, so the classes you want might be full. So definitely have a backup option.

There are many more things that you'll learn as you go, but don't worry, no one really knows what they're doing, so you'll figure it out. It's a "canon event" that everyone needs to go through. (That was a Tik Tok reference, so if you don't understand don't worry about it haha)


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