I have wanted to write this post for a while, but I never really knew the right time to share these thoughts. A few weeks ago one young woman, having just received her college acceptance, asked me for just general advice for school. Instantly, so many thoughts and ideas rushed to me and I honestly couldn’t give her an answer then, but now here I am, with the some of the biggest life lessons I have learned in the last four years.
The Best Friendships Happen Naturally
This may sound weird but it’s true. Going into college, my biggest fears were all related to not only finding friends but finding the right friends. I had many interests and many opportunities to meet new people, but I put too much pressure on myself to befriend certain people. On top of all of this, I am so socially awkward, so this obviously turned into a mess. I had this vision of my perfect college friend group, and with being spread too thin in so many activities, I let this vision and my schedule get in the way of meaningful, natural connection.
If you are confused as to what I am talking about, here’s a more specific example: I would meet someone in a class or something, and we would totally hit it off – but this person would not be in the same circles as my other friends, and because my schedule was so crazy already, I would barely see this person outside of class and we would eventually grow apart. If there is anything I regret in college, I regret not making more time for good friends no matter how it made sense for my activities and my schedule. Even though this is my last semester, I have started to reach out to these friends and re-kindling that connection has been so rewarding!
If you are going into school, do not overthink your friendships, and stay true to the connections that feel right. If you are like me and you’ve grown apart from some great people you met freshman year, do not be afraid to just say hi!
You Are Not A Superhero
Like I mentioned, I was way too involved at school, and a lot of these activities ended up stressing me out and never contributed positively to my personal growth. The ambition that convinced me to take more than 20 credit hours and schedule student organization meetings every evening ultimately hurt my performance and distracted me from some really important things, like realizing what I really want to do in life.
I cannot stress this enough for incoming freshmen, but being a responsible adult involves looking out for your safety in ways you may have never imagined. I can touch on this more at a later time but just say nope to dope and it is probably better to not trust people you have only known for a semester.
Parties Are Overrated
Maybe this is just my opinion, but having attended a party school, I do not get the appeal. I have plenty more thoughts on parties and drinking culture, but if you are that person who’s idea of a great night involves bath bombs and audiobooks, do it! Never let social pressure get in the way of your fun, whatever it is, and you’ll find what makes you truly happy!
Side note: maybe parties are your thing, but I think you will understand me when I say to follow what is comfortable for you.
It Is Ok To Not Know What You Want To Do
I was one of those students who always had a plan and I could never handle not knowing what I would do next. Now I realize that this is the time to explore all your interests, and just because you are set in your major does not mean you do not get to dabble in something else, this is what college is for.
Take your time, enjoy the ride, and everything will fall into place.