Here’s what you don’t know about college that could save your life

Congratulations High school graduates of 2020! Hats off to all of you who will be graduating this month. You’ve made it through grades K-12 and the grand finale to your academic challenges would be to master your last semester in the middle of a global pandemic. You deserve to celebrate! I know that prepping for graduation has not been ideal this year. Most of your graduation ceremonies will take place on a live stream or in your parents’ garage and, unfortunately, a traditional ceremony can’t commence, given the circumstances. Don’t let this stop you from enjoying this milestone in your life! I know that sheltering in place is hard to work around, but we need to start preparing ourselves to make small adjustments when this is over. After all, there’s so much you’ve got to learn and experience now that your general studies are over. Embrace this moment in time, for when you get to college, it’s a whole new world!

A new fantastic point of view. No one to tell you no, or where to go. College is going to teach you things about yourself and you should be prepared for some of the experiences headed your way. College doesn’t come with a manual or an attachment PDF file on how to maintain during your tenure there. I’m sure that this post won’t be the only piece of advice that you’ll receive, either. Family is going to persuade or dissuade some of your decision makings. The beauty of all this unsolicited advice is to take heed but still “do you”. To truly enjoy this dazzling place that you’ve never known, sometimes you do have to let your heart decide.

Be Ready To Meet The New You
I know that self-discovery while in grades K-12 was an emotional and physical rollercoaster. Usually, high school can do a great job of making you believe that you’ve got everything figured out (including self). You should know that you are going to change quite often after your first college experience. This will give you opportunities where you can develop and transform into who you truly are or want to be. Imagine being shy and reserved throughout high school but begin shedding those outer layers, exposing your newfound appreciation for your overtly outgoing personality. Imagine being a procrastinator in grade school and developing into a person that’s OCD about organization and punctuality. College can bring some amazing qualities and attributes that you most likely did not know resides within you!

Go To Class… On-Time!
This should be common sense, but the one thing I know about the younger me is that I was not always present in class. Of course, if you’re enrolled in courses at a University or two-year college, why wouldn’t you be attending class? You’ll be surprised at the overwhelming plethora of things to do on campus. All of those activities can make going to class seem inferior to what you feel is more important at the time. Don’t listen! Go to class! It’s even more important if you’re going to be staying on campus. There’s not going to be anyone around to make sure that you’re up on time for class. Your roommate could but I wouldn’t rely on that too heavily. They’ve got their schedule to follow. Invest in a reliable and sturdy alarm clock (not just the one on your phone). Note: Select courses that don’t start super early! A 7 am or 8 am class is not good for anybody but early birds.

Join Programs & Be Social
One way to make friends with peers is to meet them. There are SO many people to meet in college! They’re from all over the world and they’re looking to create the same experiences as you. I met several colleagues through campus programs and activities being offered. Getting involved in something like a fraternity or sorority might be one of the things to interest you. Joining the student newspaper or Resident Assistant program might also be some things to look into. I guarantee you that there will be plenty of phenomenal activities to take part in and you should take advantage!

Live on Campus
If you’ve decided that you will attend your local college or enroll in online courses, I hope that I’m not too late to persuade you to try out the dorm life. Please consider staying on campus! I know, I know. You don’t like the idea of sharing a tiny space with someone you don’t know. You’re timid just thinking about the idea of showering in a common “private but public” space and prefer the privacy in your bathroom. I had those same sentiments but still gave on-campus housing a try. Honestly, staying in dorms for three years of my college life gave me one of my biggest unforgettable moments. It’s such a fun experience and gives you another opportunity to meet new people through roommates and other hall residents. Think of it as your first taste of living on your own by making it your new home. Decorate your room with basic dorm room essentials! Amazon is giving students the opportunity to sign up for Amazon Prime for just $6/mo. Just in time to stock up on things that you need before August gets here.

College Isn’t The Only Option
School may not be for everybody. If you haven’t committed to a school yet, what is holding you back? Do you have other plans for your life? You could. For those that are looking to join the workforce as soon as they’re able to cross the stage, take your time to research job opportunities. There are systems set in place like trade schools to help you learn your passion craft. You’ll have to keep in mind that you’re graduating high school right now. Some if not most jobs will require previous experience and/or advanced training. Then there’s another option. You could join a branch of the military. If you’re looking for someone to advocate that decision, I regret to inform you that I can not support the decision. However, I could and would respect it. I’ve seen a couple of my friends turn military life into something to aspire to have. My advice would be to weigh the pros and cons. It’s still an option that’s available and one for you to consider. The other option you could choose would be opting to attend a two-year college first. That’s certainly one that would be high on anyone’s list that may be graduating from high school! You should be finalizing your decisions on whatever you’re planning to do after high school soon.

Seize The Moment
The only thing that there’s left to do is to enjoy your new life! You’ve made it to college and that’s a major deal. Look at you and how far you’ve come! College is going to bring you memories that are going to last a lifetime. Get excited about those Homecoming nights & the captivating nightlife. It’ll feel as if you’re in a movie. Participate in tailgates and social gatherings as much as you can. You and your peers will rewrite college culture and make it your own! I’m certain that the libations and spirits will make for a great time. Enjoy this rollercoaster ride and worry about dating and children later. Spend this time chasing your dreams and enjoying even the bumps the road.

To those who have graduated, what advice would you give to the graduating class of 2020? What things have you learned throughout your time in college? What is something that you wish someone would have told you before you started at college?

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Kristen Buchanan

Wife and mother of one. Known for creative writing and designing different arts and crafts (like bath bombs). I like pop culture and positive energy!

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