College Advice: 10 Things I’ve Learned in Two Years

college advice

You don’t fully realize the impact college has on you until it happens. One day, you look back and realize you’re already halfway through this amazingly odd and extremely stressful period of your life. But alongside the ups and downs exist many lessons, here are a few of mine.

Eventually You Will Care A Lot Less
  • In high school it seems the trivial things you give so much thought to will never escape you. But, throughout college you must figure out how to function on your own. Everything you’ve ever thought and prioritized is put to the test. Through this you find out the type of person you want to be. Becoming this person leaves you far too pre-occupied with your own dreams to care about the judgements of others. It’s pretty awesome.
Not Everyone is As Good/Bad as You Think They Are
  • All the assumptions about certain types of people go out the window. People are unpredictable. Not everyone has a good heart. Not everyone is self-righteous. Don’t put yourself or others in a box.
Give Good, Get Good
  • This philosophy has been a hallmark of my family for as long as I can remember. It always sat in the back of my mind but wasn’t fully realized until this year. Whether it’s kindness or hard work, what you put in is what you get out. It might not be immediate, but long-term results mirror the day-to-day dedication.
It Really Isn’t All About School
  • Yes, you’re in university to get a degree. However there are so many other aspects of this period of your life that reign just as important as academics, if not more so. You gain independence and life skills. You find out who you are and who you want to be. Take advantage of every opportunity presented to you.
Escape the Expectation/Nostalgia Trap
  • It’s easy to catch yourself in the, “I’ll be happy when” or “I was happier when” cycles especially during the trying times at college. Going to university won’t solve your issues, neither will graduating. Happiness was no easier freshman year of high school than it is now. Realize and embrace the change happening rather than trying to revert to old experiences or skip to the finish line. The journey is the best part.
Passion Isn’t Perfect
  • This was by far the hardest realization. If you’re lucky enough to find something you love and follow that into college, it’s not all fun and games. Regardless of the extent of your passion for something, you won’t always want to do it. It won’t always be easy. These times, however, separate those who succeed and those who don’t. Find something you love so much you would do even if guaranteed failure, because failure will come. But, if you’re lucky, (and persistent), the success will come too.
Structure and Spontaneity Can Co-Exist
  • I went into freshman year thinking I had two options: party all the time or study around the clock. I chose the latter and was soon left excessively unfulfilled. While I crave structure, spontaneity is juts as crucial for a well-functioning individual. Cut yourself a break. You’ll find that you reap far better results than before.
It’s Never Too Late
  • Change your major, dye your hair, or try a new hobby. As long as you’re breathing it is never too late to try something new or change old ways. The only shame is in settling now and growing restless later.
Caring is Cool
  • Just as in high school, there are those too cool to care. Caring is cool, okay? Possessing passion and drive to change the world and exist as your best self is the coolest damn thing you can do. Those who say otherwise simply wish they possessed the bravery and determination to follow their heart as you do.
Nothing Ever Goes as Planned and That’s Okay
  • Everything you expect won’t happen and everything that happens you won’t expect. It’s infuriating. It’s magnificent. But somehow it all works out in the end and you’re stronger for it. Enjoy the ride.

Also published on Medium.