College was a whirlwind of highs and lows, awesome and awful, tears of joy and tears of sorrow. I learned so much during my time at Louisiana Tech, both inside and outside of the classroom. Even though I wouldn’t trade a bad moment for a good, looking back, these are a few things I would go back and tell my college self (particularly my underclassman self).
You don’t have to post every picture you take.
I’ve always been the picture taker among my friends. I wanted group shots, smaller group shots, shots with me and each person individually. I wanted smiling faces, silly faces, selfies, everything. I was that girl. I’ve toned down since, but in college, I wanted to remember and document everything, which is all fine and good to a certain point.
I’m not saying I shouldn’t have taken all of the pictures that I did. Of course, I wanted all of those pictures, and I’m glad I have most of them (sadly, a huge chunk of my pictures were forever lost when my other laptop crashed), but I’m not happy about all of the pictures I posted for the world to see. Seriously, I even posted pictures that were blurry or horrible quality. I posted ones that I looked absolutely horrible in and some that I wouldn’t want my co-workers to ever see. Ever.
These are a few gems I found on my Facebook page:
If I could go back and do it all over again, I definitely would just choose a handful of the pictures I wanted to upload instead of uploading every single picture I ever took. Trust me. Some things are best left on the SD card.
Don’t skip classes.
Just because you have an allotted number of absences, doesn’t mean you should waste them on sleeping in. I’m a big fan of sleep, and I used to take advantage of those allowed absences. Also, if a teacher didn’t take roll, I didn’t always go. I know. I’m a horrible person. When I look back at the classes I missed, I’m so disappointed in myself. I was paying for my education (correction: I’m paying for my education now. Student loans=death), and I let that go to waste by skipping classes.
Granted, I wasn’t a horrible student. I didn’t skip classes all the time. I actually went to class most of the time, and some classes, I never missed a day. My point is, looking back at it now, I shouldn’t have missed any classes unless I had a dire reason (like that stomach flu of 2010. Yikes!).
Getting involved on campus will turn your college experience from good to great.
Don’t get me wrong. I had a blast my freshman year, but I feel like my college career didn’t really start until my sophomore year when I joined Union Board. Union Board is the organization that brings awesome events for the student body to campus. I got to work backstage at concerts, organize a talent show, and experience so many amazing things that I may not have had the opportunity to do otherwise.
During the middle of my sophomore year, I tried out to be an Orientation Student Leader and was honestly shocked that I was selected. At that point in my life, I was so timid, shy and unsure about myself. I had no confidence to speak of. Being an OSL really brought me out of my shell. I had the best summer of my college career as a 2010 OSL.
I’m so glad that I took the plunge to get involved in college. I don’t think I would have enjoyed my college career as much as I did if I hadn’t.
Live on campus for as long as you can.
There was a time in my college career when I did tons of research to look for housing off campus. I even drove around to look at houses for rent. I just thought that I was becoming a grown-up, and for some reason, I thought that meant that I needed to move off campus. I’m so glad that I never actually took the leap to do it. I stayed in the dorms for my freshman and sophomore years of college, and during junior year, I moved into an on-campus apartment with some friends, and we stayed there for senior year as well.
If I would have moved off campus, I would have been so broke. I didn’t even work my senior year of college because I didn’t have a car (thanks to someone who decided to run a red light. Still a little bitter), so I don’t know why I thought living off campus would have even been an option for me. I’m sad that I wasted so much time determined to find a place to live when living in an on-campus apartment was pretty much the best thing ever.
You know that list of things you want to do before you graduate? Go do them!
Netflix and movie marathons are all good and fun, but it’s nothing compared to a walk in the rare Louisiana snow (or slush, really) or a spontaneous late night drive to IHOP or your first road trip without any parents or coordinating outfits for a party or buying a drink at the drive-thru daiquiri place at midnight on your 21st birthday or grabbing every single game in your apartment and having a random game night.
I actually did make a list of things I wanted to do before I graduated, and guess what? I didn’t do them all! How disappointing. I think that’s why I’m so attached to my 30 before 30 and bucket lists now; because I didn’t finish this list (even though it was much simpler, and everything was in relatively close proximity).
8 am classes every day is not, and will never be, a good idea.
I had one quarter where I had 8 am classes Monday through Friday. It was probably the worst quarter of my life. I’m not a morning person, so I’m really not sure how or why I did that to myself. Even though school started at 7:30 am when I was in high school, for some reason, when I got to college, 8 am classes just seemed like a punishment. My brain couldn’t function properly at 8 am, and if I could barely make it to class on time, you know I wasn’t eating breakfast, so that definitely didn’t help things.
Basically, 8 am classes = no. That’s a lesson I learned the hard way.
Take advantage of office hours.
You know that paper you’re struggling with or that econ formula you just can’t seem to right? Go ask your professors about it! Seriously. I didn’t start visiting my teachers during their office hours until late my junior year, but even then, I didn’t really take advantage of it. I mean, think about it: You could get your English teacher to read your paper and critique it. They’ll give you pointers on what to fix, and as long as you fix it, you’re gold.
Econ and finance were my enemies in college. They were my hardest classes (besides political science and a geology class that I ended up dropping). Instead of complaining to my friends about how hard the classes were, I should have gone to my professors and asked for help and further explanations. At least then they would see I was making the effort and possibly take pity on me. Maybe my grades wouldn’t have been quite so terrible in those classes if I would have gathered all my pride and just asked for help.
Friends will come and go, but true friends will stick around.
The thing about friendship is that it doesn’t always last forever. People you may call your BFF may betray you or your hectic schedules could cause you drift apart. It’s not the end of the world. The important thing to remember is if someone wants to be in your life, they’ll be there, and if you want someone in your life, then put in some effort. Schedule lunches or coffee dates. Meet up at a party or plan a trip together. Don’t always expect other people to put in the effort. Friendships is 50/50.
In college, your schedule changes so frequently. It changed even more frequently for me because my school was on the quarter system. The thing about college is there is a plethora of people to meet. College is essentially a melting pot of several different kinds of people, and your future friends are waiting for you to find them. The people you’re best friends with freshman year may not be the same people you’re best friends with senior year, but that’s okay. The friends who are meant to be in your life will be there.
I’m so mad at myself for not taking advantage of the endless opportunities for travel in college. We had so many breaks, including a three month long summer, and for most of those, I sat around the house or worked or did nothing. I should have been traveling.
Now when I want to go somewhere, I have to take short weekend trips or plan it around my allotted vacation time at work. Granted, I get a good amount of paid vacation time, but I still have to come back to a lot of unfinished and/or new business. I’m lucky to have a job that I literally barely even think about on the weekends or when I’m on vacation, but it’s a sad wake-up call when I get back in the office. It was so hard for me to get back in the groove after my two-week long vacation in Europe!
Looking back, I wish I would have taken advantage of my time off to see the world, or even just take some epic road trips around the US. I could have even studied abroad or worked as an au pair for a few months overseas. Now, I’m a big girl, and opportunities like that aren’t plentiful. I did take a lot of awesome road trips in college and also celebrated graduation with a senior cruise, but there’s so much more world to see!
|This was before the whole getting stuck at sea disaster.|
Never miss an opportunity to learn.
College isn’t just about learning, but, obviously, learning is a huge part. College is supposed to prepare you for whatever life holds for you after graduation, and while life can be pretty unpredictable, there are so many ways for you to learn and grow and cram as much knowledge into your brain as possible. I wish I would have taken advantage of the Career Center at my school and “free” counseling sessions, and the Writing Center. I was also in a sea of professors with so much knowledge, and I just let all of those potential mentors fall through the cracks.
Something I definitely wish I would have had back in college is ProSky. Even though I grew up in the social media age, I feel like social media and online marketing is always adapting. There’s always room to grow and always more to learn. If I would have known that a year after graduating college, I would be blogging and a huge part of my full-time would be social media-related, I would have taken advantage of awesome things that ProSky has to offer.
Basically, ProSky offers online 9-12 week courses in Social Media Marketing, Business Intelligence, Sales, Digital Marketing, Brand Strategy Design, SEO, Financial and HR Software Systems, and so much more. All of the classes are designed and taught by professionals from Facebook, Twitter, Marc Ecko, Sony, and more. You gain knowledge and insight in the course of your choice and work on real-life projects that you can add to your resume. Plus, you can collaborate with other students and mentors from other universities and professional industries worldwide (including LinkedIn, Zappos, Benessere Foundation, Stance Socks and more!).
What’s great about ProSky is that you can learn at your own pace, which means you can work around your hectic schedule, unlike traditional internships. ProSky not only allows you to learn skills through your chosen course, but you also get to do hands-on work by leading projects and also networking with industry professionals as well as students around the world. Think about it this way: If you did two ProSky series every year, starting your freshman year, you would have done eight projects for eight different companies, all of which can go on your resume. That’s basically getting your foot in the door of eight different companies all from the comfort of your dorm room.
There are so many opportunities for you to learn and grow during your time in college. Take advantage of all of them!
What things would you go back and tell your college self?