The majority of freshmen are ecstatic come college move-in day. It’s the beginning of the most exciting time in your life.
College is always painted as this oasis of never-ending adventures, a satisfying level of responsibility and the first time you’ve ever had the freedom to decide what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it. You spend the day bonding with your new roommate, making friends in the cafe, and maybe even going to some frat party with a bunch of people you don’t really know but pretend you do because you’re all basically living together anyway. By the end of the night you’ve created memories and experienced things you’ve probably never experienced before.
My move-in day was a little different. As my parents drove me to campus, I sat in the backseat extremely pissed off. I wanted to head back to my quiet suburban life in South Jersey and live life exactly how it had been. I liked it at home. I had a job, a car, and everything I needed.
College didn’t seem fun to me. I was extremely introverted and the thought of having to make new friends made me anxious. I didn’t want freedom, I wanted consistency, and I had already known that college was not the place you go to find consistency. So naturally, I shut down. I didn’t make a single friend my first year of college. I kept to myself and barely even spoke to people. I spent most of my days binge watching Harry Potter and Grey’s Anatomy.
It wasn’t just my first year of college that I wasted. Even when I did fully indulge in college life, I found myself focusing on things that seemed like the end of the world but really weren’t. I was so wrapped up in becoming a person that I didn’t like instead of fleshing myself out. In honor of graduation season quickly nearing, here are a few reminders on how to live your college life to the fullest.
1. College and the inevitable “situationships” go hand in hand.
It’s the time in life where everyone wants to act like they are in a relationship, but don’t want to fully commit to someone in fear of missing out on something more fun. But let me tell you, you don’t want to be me. I wasted a plethora of Thirsty Thursdays crying hysterically while wishing my guy was as loving as Stefan was to Elena (I’m a die hard Vampire Diaries fan, you know how that goes.) Don’t get involved with someone who’s going to make you cry or is too selfish to realize how their actions affect you. I know you think you love them. Trust me, you don’t. And even if you do, I’m sure there’s a thousand reasons why you shouldn’t.
2. They always say college is the time when you’re supposed to find yourself — so start searching.
Develop what you love and work towards bettering yourself with that craft. I spent so much time during college believing I wasn’t a good enough writer instead of working fiercely towards being a better one. Spend your time working on your craft and finding creative ways to put yourself in a position where you can lift yourself up. In college, we tend to forget that it’s going to end pretty soon. We think we have enough time so we don’t really work towards our profession until the end. Master your craft early and make that end of college job search easier for you.
3. Make lots and lots of friends, but only let a select few influence your decisions.
If you have lots of friends, many will be dumb. That’s perfectly fine, just as long as you know which ones they are. Assume all people, words, and actions are well-intentioned, even if they don’t come across that way. This makes life much easier. Don’t be naive and keep in mind that everyone doesn’t have the same heart as you. Trust people carefully and don’t let yourself get wrapped up in any unnecessary drama. Drama is exhausting.
4. Make adult friends of all types: teachers, mentors, and locals.
Learn to connect with them both professionally and informally. This will be an invaluable skill in life, and you’ll learn a ton and gain perspective from them that your college friends won’t provide. They also help you get jobs. This is as easy as asking them to coffee and being genuinely curious about them/their work. Honestly, it’s easy.
College is a once in a lifetime opportunity that we all take for granted. Live it up and don’t forget why you’re there in the first place.