Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dear College Freshmen,

After graduating from OU two weeks ago (even though it still seems like yesterday), I thought it would be fun to reminisce on my college years and come up with some words of wisdom to pass on to future and current college hopefuls. So here are a few pieces of advice:
  1. Get involved. College is one of the best times of your life. But you won’t enjoy it at all unless you get involved and make friends on campus. I know it’s not fun to walk into an event where you don’t know anyone, but you have to start somewhere. Odds are, those people you meet will end up being your best friends.
  2. Choose your friends wisely. Trust me on this one, your friends will have a huge impact on how much you enjoy college. So make lots of them. But they will also have a huge impact on the person that you become. So make sure that they are people you want to be influenced by.
  3. Don’t try to plan everything. Spur-of-the-moment road trips and last minute nights out dancing are part of what makes college memorable. Don’t be so stuck to a schedule or plan that you can’t make time for spontaneous fun.
  4. Your reputation is important. You are lying to yourself if you claim that you don’t care what other people think of you. Some people might care less than others, but nobody wants to be viewed poorly by others. Someday, those students sitting next to you will be bosses and co-workers, so think twice about how you act. This doesn’t mean that you can’t be yourself. In fact, I would say it means quite the opposite. Be yourself, treat others with respect and your reputation will take care of itself.
  5. Study abroad. After college, things like jobs, pets, and families make travel more difficult and exponentially more expensive. So take advantage of study abroad opportunities. Can it be stressful and expensive? Yes. But the memories you gain and the places you see make it completely worth it.
  6. Choose a major that you enjoy. Sure it’s important to be able to get a job after college, but if you choose a major you hate just so you can get a job later, it will make your college experience miserable.
  7. Don’t use up all your electives as a freshman and sophomore. Once you become a senior, you will see the value in this piece of advice. Those courses may look fun, but if you use up all your electives early, your senior year will be packed with upper level requirements that are time consuming and stressful. Save some elective hours to take with your capstone as a senior and I promise you will enjoy your last months of college so much more.
  8. Get an on campus job (if you can). I can’t tell you how much this helped me through college. Having a job that I could walk to after my classes helped my schedule be so much less stressful. Plus, campus jobs are typically more understanding when you need time off for big projects.
  9. Stay out of drama. You can usually tell which people are prone to gossiping and starting drama. Word to the wise: stay away from them. College students can be just as bad as high schoolers when it comes to “he said, she said” fights and rumors. Don’t waste your time on people who get involved in that or you’ll end up in the middle of it with them.
  10. Don’t rush through college. Sure graduating early can save some money, but it won’t be worth it. College is the most fun and free time of your life and you only get it for so long. So don’t waste it by trying to get done with it. Once you are in the real world, you will wish you had that time back.

Boomer Sooner!