It’s about that time to prepare for a new chapter in your life: College. I know. You’re probably freaking out, telling yourself, “OMG am I the only one that has no idea what I want to major in!” Truth is, you’re not. So breathe. If you’re planning to live on campus, you may be feeling anxiety moving away from home. You may be contemplating about the best prices for textbooks, what your first year will be like, if you should join clubs, or how often you should go home. College holds so many mysteries that you’ll never be fully prepared or know what to expect. So, here are 5 things you should know about the grand “college experience.”
- You won’t know your exact plan before entering college
I mean, it would be great if you mapped out an entire plan for your four years, but many students enter their first year undecided. And that is totally okay. I entered college with a Community Health Science degree, having no idea what it really was and what career path I wanted to pursue. I even considered joining the National Gaurd instead. Throughout my first three years, I changed my major 8 times (Psychology, Biology, Communication Studies, Finance, and then juggling back and forth between a few of them). I didn’t regret it because I had the chance to take multiple major classes in different departments. I finally graduated (in four years), with a Communication Studies major and Writing minor. Not too bad. Breathe in and breathe out. My advice is to keep a close eye on what classes you enjoy most, and go with your gut. If I could go back, I probably would have majored in something like Theater, Dance, or something artsy. That was my true passion, but my mom encouraged me to stay away from those kind of majors. No matter what anyone thinks, go with your gut and pursue it with a passion!
- Live in the dorms for the experience
If you are debating whether to dorm or not, I say “Just Do It.” It’s a great opportunity to experience independence yet your still in a safe bubble on campus. I stayed in the dorms during my sophomore year and it was quite interesting. There was more independence than I can handle, but the biggest thing I learned from the experience was how precious my family was to me. During spring semester I went home every weekend. Tears welled up in my eyes everytime I ate my mom’s delicious stir fry. My little sister and I began our deep talks during this year. I was far more grateful for the little things after the experience. When I lived in the dorms, there was one week I lived on potatoes only. I honestly was ecstatic to be back home after sophomore year, but at the end of it all, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Maybe you will learn something totally different from the experience.
- “The College Experience” is different for everyone
Some students immerse their whole lives into college activities, some involve themselves moderately, and some participate in off-campus activities/jobs during their experience. I say, everyone’s college experience is valuable, as long as you fully enjoyed it. When Oprah was in college, she never had time to involve herself in activities, because she had classes from 8am-1pm then was a news anchor from 2pm-10 pm every day. And look at her now! She is AMAZING. As for me, I was involved in extra-curricular activities during college, and I believe that helped me build my leadership skills, people skills, and a wide network that I still connect with after college. It all depends on you and how involved you want to be with activities during college, but the most important thing is to network and maintain those connections which leads us to the next thing.
- Network Network Network
Networking is the most important thing in college. You can be as smart as you want, but if you don’t build connections with the right people, you could miss out on great opportunities that can help you build important skills. Get to know the right people and don’t be afraid to put your face out there for all to see. One way to build connections is to get involved with clubs and activities you’re interested in. I met wonderful people and was offered meaningful opportunities because I was involved with a club, attended an event and was there at the right moment. If you do a good job and you work with different people, your credibility builds and your known in the community as someone responsible, kind, and hardworking.
- You probably will still have no idea on what to do with your major even after college
I graduated last year, thinking I had an idea on the job I wanted, yet, I’m still here wondering what I’m supposed to use my degree for. We honestly cannot decide what to do for the rest of our lives in four years. Hey, some people can, but for the majority of us, we don’t know. I say for the next four years, enjoy your experience, take risks, take on leadership roles, and figure out what fires you up more than anything. I made the mistake to commit to things I wasn’t truly passionate about, because I had the “Disease to Please.” But, it’s all a part of learning. How do you know you love something if you don’t try it first? Pursue anything that may interest you. Atleast you can say you’ve tried and it wasn’t your thing, or it is your long lost passion you’ve been seeking. It will come to you. People will discourage you, judge you, and bring you down while on your path to finding your true purpose, but persist and have no fear. You don’t need to follow the crowd. Know what is true in your heart and follow it.
Enjoy your journey.
❤ Wabi Sabi