I’ve been seeing a lot of posts recently about “An Open Letter to Me in High School” or “Advice for College Kids,” so I thought I would try my hand at giving some practical advice! First off, let me say that I had an amazing time in college. I know everyone probably says that, but I truly mean it. I made tons of lifelong friends and learned life lessons that will probably last me forever. I have always been a good student and crave learning new things. You do need to know that I’m not a drinker and have no desire to go to clubs and crazy parties, so if you’re looking for that as an answer to how to enjoy college then you are looking at the wrong blog! I am a firm believer in loving God, being silly, loving others, improving your mind, and learning to love yourself. So if you are into those things too, then my friend, you have come to the right blog! I promise that there will be silly and fantastic pictures from my college years to follow, so if you are just wanting a good laugh, please keep scrolling!
1. If you have the opportunity, go away for college.
This is my first point because I feel it is deeply important. When I was driving the 800 some-odd miles to Tampa, FL from my hometown of Memphis, TN I literally cried for the first two hours of the trip. I wasn’t so worried about leaving behind my hometown, but I was leaving people that I thought were my dearest friends and going to someplace where I knew very few people. After the first two hours of tears, I sucked it up and resigned to the fact that I was going to Florida. Within my first week of being at Florida College in Tampa I had made at least 10 new friends and reconnected with old friends that had come to school there too. After the first month of a rocky start I was basically living alone and loving every second. When you go away for college you not only find friends to rely on, but with those friends you build insanely strong relationships. The majority of my friends were not from Florida either, so we were all taking this big step together! That is an experience that is uniquely college related. I learned how to manage my budget (well….sort of… haha!), make cheap but yummy food, and how to basically start “adulting”. I became more independent and started to learn more about myself. For example, when left alone I create what I so lovingly call “an organized mess.” I call it that because to you it may look like I just threw a huge stack of papers on my desk and 3 shirts on the floor, but to me I know that I put my math homework on my desk and two of those shirts are too small and the other shirt belongs to my roommate. I know I’m a mess, but at least I know where I put everything! So, move away and learn things about yourself you might be surprised about what you find!
2. Roommates will either work or they won’t. Period.
This lesson I had to learn the hard way. In all 4 semesters I did not have the same roommate more than once. That may be a reflection on me (and my organized mess… haha) but it also might be that we didn’t click . I don’t feel that it’s a bad thing if you and your roommate don’t click. You just learn lessons! My freshman year I roomed with a girl that I didn’t really know, but we became great friends really quickly. By the end of that semester we grew apart and she moved out. Semester two, I scrambled to find a roommate and found Haven. We happened to be old camp friends and clicked immediately! If she hadn’t moved out of state our second year, we probably would’ve been roommates again! Year two, semester one I roomed with my best friend since childhood, Anna. We have been best friends forever, but being roommates wasn’t always easy. This, perhaps, was one of the hardest lessons I learned. We both wanted so badly to click as roommates, but we had different sleeping hours. She stayed up late, and I was the granny in bed by 10. It’s crazy how much something as simple as sleep patterns effects things! We didn’t fight or anything (again, we’ve been besties forever so that is never an issue) but the way we lived was just different! Nothing wrong with that! So year two, second semester she moved next door as a suite mate, and Grace moved in as my roommate. Grace was my suite mate for 2 semesters before and basically we should’ve been roommates always. We clicked immediately and all things became as they should’ve been! So I promise that there is hope! And don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t work out for awhile, good things come to those who wait!
3. Stay up late (on occasion) and be silly!
As stated before, I am a grandma when it comes to sleep. If I don’t get a solid 7 hours I am basically useless the next day. This is how I have always been and probably will always be. So this one was a little harder for me. I lived in a dorm where the curfew was 10 on most nights, so around 10:15 it became a slumber party. Some of my fondest memories of college come from being silly and staying up late with my suite mates. Many of those memories include dance parties and attempting to take serious pictures that ended up in us all laughing hysterically and looking like idiots. It was perfect. I wouldn’t change them for the world. So be silly, dress up like rappers and make fake music videos. They will be some of the best moments of college.
4. Soak up knowledge!
So on a more serious note, make sure to take time out of the craziness and learn! This is the first opportunity you will have to choose to learn or choose to sleep all day. I hope you will choose to learn. You are being taught by people who are able to teach you something they are insanely knowledgeable about! Soak that stuff up!! Ask questions! Read your book!! And on a related note, take the professor that everyone says is ridiculously hard. Push yourself a little bit! When I went to college I wanted to take an art history class, because I took a humanities course in high school and loved every second. However, the only teacher in the college that taught art history was notoriously rough on his students. So, I took the challenge. That was my favorite class I took in college. It was just as hard as people said, but I worked really hard and passed with an A. Not only did I learn a lot, but I learned that I can overcome challenges put before me as long as I put my mind to it! Also, make a habit out of reading your Bible! If you don’t start the habit now, it will only get harder as you grow up. Make it a priority! God needs to be number one!!
5. Do something crazy, within reason.
I feel like sometimes in life you have to do something crazy. Step outside your comfort zone. When I was in college I had this crazy urge to do something that was unlike me. So I got my nose pierced. It was amazing and to this day I miss it. Maybe I’ll get it re-pierced for the third time…. brb. (Here’s a free piece of advice: If the guy piercing your nose says he has a signature technique, leave. There is only one way to pierce a nose without it getting infected. And if it doesn’t work the first time, go to a different piercer. You’re welcome.) But seriously, dye your hair that crazy color! Get your nose pierced! Go skydiving! Go play in the rain with your friends! Whatever! Just do it!
6. That guy you just friend-zoned might be the one.
But really. Do you know how many times I’ve heard people say that their significant other was their best friend way before they got married? Tons. I’m living proof that my best guy friend was the person I married. So for all you ladies out there that have a best guy friend, take a good hard look. He might be that knight in shining armor that you’ve been looking for! Ok, can we talk about how glad I am that I married this guy? Anyone that is willing to dress up for a themed party with you is a keeper, just sayin’.
So that is some of my advice for all you crazy college kids! I hope you take it to heart and enjoy your college experience!