What I Wish I Knew Before Starting College

March 10, 2019

College is one of those daunting ventures that seems nearly impossible to complete at times. In reality it isn’t that bad. I do, however, have a few tips and tricks that I have learned along the way that can enhance your college experience.


Photo: Parker Gibbons on Unsplash  


TIP #1: Do not, I repeat, do not try an all-nighter. There is going to be that one test that you completely forgot about until the night before and this all-nighter business is going to seem like an excellent idea. It is not going to help you perform better on the test and it is going to leave you feeling dreadfully exhausted. You retain far less information when running on zero hours of sleep--imagine that.


TIP #2: Practice your time management skills. This ability will become so important once you get into college because you will have exams, parties, quizzes, papers, birthday gatherings, online quizzes and group projects. The list could literally go on and on. It is overwhelming to have so many things to do, but just like any other skill, you can become an expert if you take the time to practice. A good way to work on your time management is to practice writing things down in a planner. This ensures that you will always be one step ahead of your schedule.


TIP #3: Do not forget about time for yourself. With the hectic schedule that comes along with the college lifestyle it is sometimes difficult to leave a little time for yourself. This is very important, though. Me time helps you assess how you are doing with the big transition from high school to college and helps you to validate and cope with some difficult emotions in healthy ways. It is all too easy for the college temptations to consume you, but establishing a special time for yourself  everyday can help you to cope with this enormous transition in your life in a healthy way.


TIP #4: Do not live with your best friend. My family told me this one but I diligently ignored their warnings because of the foolish faith I had in a high school friendship. Becoming roommates with someone adds a certain tension to a relationship that makes it difficult to be close friends and roommates simultaneously. Some people can do it, but the majority of friends struggle and the dynamics of their relationship changes once they begin living with one another. Being with someone just about 24/7 is a lot to handle, even for the closest of friends.


TIP #5: Not everyone is like you. In college you are exposed to a variety of different people that may not share the same values and beliefs that you do. It is important to respect and honor this diversity and other kinds of values. This means putting your own ethics and prejudices aside to possibly broaden your horizon and make a new friend.


TIP #6: Get involved. One of the most wonderful things about college is the vast opportunities available to get involved. If you are learning a new language, join that club. If you are religious, become involved in a local church’s college ministry. If you like chess, join the chess club. Whatever you are passionate about, it is important to find ways to get involved on campus that align with your genuine interests. These extracurricular activities can help you meet new friends and also look phenomenal on a resume.


I hope these tips help you get the most out of your college experience. It truly is a time of freedom and exploration like no other, so cherish every moment. It will be over before you know it.


Jamie has been writing ever since... well ever since she could physically write. She loved the control of it. The power to create anything and everything and the power to take it all away. She loved how it made her feel. She still does. She has a slightly unhealthy infatuation with Frida Kahlo (But she is not a bandwagon). She doesn't have her hair the same color for very long, only partially due to the fact that she fears commitment. She lives by the words of Ernest Hemingway: "Destroyed but not Defeated" from one of her favorite books, The Old Man and the Sea. She is passionate about dissolving the stigma surrounding mental health issues and hopes to be an advocate for those suffering from a mental illness.


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