Before you know it, you’ll be trading your swimsuits and BBQ’s for college hoodies and football games and headed to college. Everyone will give you advice about what to do when you get there and how to survive. But, here are 4 things I wish someone would have told me before I started college.
1. Getting dressed for class doesn’t make you a goofy freshman; it makes you stand out. Seriously. People will take notice if you show up looking put together more than if you look like you just rolled out of bed.
2. It’s OK if you don’t know what you want to study right now. Everyone will ask you “what’s your major?” Don’t panic if you don’t know. Most people don’t know. That’s what GE’s are for.
3. Wait to buy your textbooks until the first day. Your professor might change the text at the last minute OR you might decide that Intro to Histology is. not. for. you. Waiting till the first day will ensure that you are not spending precious money on books you don’t need.
4. Relax. College is challenging, foreign, nerve-wracking, and exciting all at once. Just take a deep breath and enjoy the ride. Before you know it, it will be time to graduate.
Why didn’t someone tell me this before?!?
Keep a Budget
There are many costs associated with becoming a full time college student, and while you may be aware of the upfront costs of college, there are many hidden costs too. Consider how much money you spend on extracurricular activities. It’s fun to go out with friends and do things, but at the end of the month you may be shocked at how much you’ve spent if you don’t keep a budget. If you know beforehand what you can realistically be spending each month you’ll be prepared to make smart decisions about the way you spend your money.
Less is Always More
You may think to yourself, “OMG, I have to bring my whole life with me when I move to college.” Resist this urge! Lay out everything you think you must have to survive in your college apartment then divide it in half. Most likely, you may even be able to divide it in half again. As a Freshman, odds are your living space will not have a walk-in closet. Only bring the essentials because you will not have room for everything. Besides a lack of room, you’re going to be getting a lot of t-shirts throughout the school year that will build up by the time the year is over, and believe me moving out is going to be a bigger pain than you think. Therefore, the less you bring the easier life will be at the end of the term.
The first two weeks of college provide everyone with something called “social capital.” Social capital is like a type of currency that allows you to make friends. During those initial weeks of school everyone is looking for a friend. Take advantage of this time to make two or three “key” friends. While it may seem enticing to befriend as many people as possible, by week three of college almost everyone has entrenched their new “crew”. Spend this social capital wisely and you’ll have several key friends you do everything with, but spend it unwisely and you may have many acquaintances, but no true friends.
Find a Balance
There will most certainly be many pressures as a new college student that can cause great stress. Between completing your education, making friends, building your resume, and many more, you need to find time to relieve stress and find balance in your life. Find time every day to relieve this stress by exercising regularly, eating correctly, and getting plenty of sleep. Maintaining balance during college can go a long way in ensuring you do well and don’t “burn out” in certain aspects of your life.
Update Your Schedule
Congratulations, you’re a grown up. Part of being a grown up is maintaining a day planner. Time with friends, going to class, and finding time to study is going to take up significant planning ahead of time. Invest in a planner or finally utilize your calendar on your phone. This schedule may save your life more than a few times, so be sure to update often.
Luckily for me, I didn’t have too many “test” finals this semester. My classes were all about advertising and graphic design and getting out there in the field so for most of my classes, I had to present the work I have done over the course of the semester. Not bad, eh? However, unluckily for me, this meant that I had to know how to work computers. For one of my classes, we spend the whole semester doing logo design for businesses around Cedar City. I did all my work in Adobe Illustrator and saved all my logos as PDFs. When it came time to put my portfolio together, I was using an online portfolio generator that would not let me upload PDFs. This resulted in me spending around three hours converting everything to a format that would work. Finals – 1, Shannon – 0.
Another one of my classes did have an actual test for the final. Throughout the semester, all of our tests had been open book, so me being me, I didn’t put that much effort into taking notes. You can imagine my horror when I found out (two days before the test) that the final would not be open book and would mean the difference between entire letter grades. This resulted in me scouring the entire textbook and making hundreds of flash cards that I crammed the night before. Finals – 2, Shannon – 0.
And then we come to today. In my advertising strategies class we have spent the whole semester creating an advertising campaign for a business of our choice – print ads, radio ads, TV storyboards, a website, promotional materials, etc. – and the final was to present everything we have done. I spent forever making a beautiful Prezi displaying all of my work, complete with sound effects and everything. I confidently walked into my final and got ready to present… but when I tried to load my presentation, I got the message – “SERVERS DOWN.” What?! No. That couldn’t happen. I tried everything I could to no avail. My Prezi was lost to the interwebs. I quickly emailed all the information I needed to myself and successfully winged the presentation, but why?! Finals – 3, Shannon – 0.
Fortunately for me, despite all these hurdles, I still earned good grades on all my finals. But let this be a lesson to you as you begin taking those end of year tests and then head to college: always save the right file format, always take notes, and always back up your presentations! You can never be too prepared.
When I was graduating high school, I could not be more excited. College was this beautiful idea: moving out on my own, meeting new people, and finding my calling. And it has been amazing. Attending Southern Utah University for the past three years has met all my expectations and more. I have lived with my best friends, explored the mountains of Zion, hosted karaoke parties, and danced through the night. I’ve worked for the newspaper, interned at a bookstore, and planned events for the city and local businesses.
Now that my time has come to graduate and move on, I find myself looking back on my time in Cedar City with nothing but fondness. Don’t get me wrong, I have had some really, really hard times, and college definitely has not been easy. But if you’re not like me, and you’re more nervous about moving out and going off on your own than you are excited, know this: it will be worth it. You will have some of the most incredible times of your life and learn some of the best lessons about yourself. You’ll learn more about things that you’re passionate about, and if you’re not passionate about anything, you’ll find something that you’ll love. Nothing can prepare you for everything you’ll experience. You just have to do it, and have the time of your life.
I can’t believe my time here is coming to a close. I’m going to miss SUU so much.
Just FYI, THE END IS NEAR.
Okay, the finals end.
Like I mentioned in my last post, sweet freedom is just around the corner.
And now is the time to prepare.
Here are a few things that are absolutely imperative to survival:
ONE: A lucky water bottle. And yes, a lucky one. I believe in the scientific principle of diffusion. Therefore, if your lucky water bottle is near you while you are studying, that knowledge will absorb into the bottle. Next thing you know, your water bottle is feeding it all back to you when you take your final and BOOM. Increase in knowledge ten-fold.
TWO: A lucky pencil. (See ONE.)
THREE: Some solid jams. And not the strawberry kind. (Unless it’s the song Strawberry Bubblegum by JT) The right music will do wonders for your focus, attitude, and drive. Trust me.
FOUR: Confidence. Yo homie. You studied your little heart out and have done your very best (most likely…)! Go into that sucker glowing with confidence. Ten points to Gryffindor for dressing fancy!
FIVE: A Victory Dance Party. Okay so maybe not everyone in the world is like me and enjoys a good dance party, BUT it’s necessary. Once you leave that tension-filled room, throw those hands up in the air and fist pump baby. You deserve it!
Not only does this apply to end of the year tests and finals…
It applies TO LIFE.
Well probably anyways.
I mean it only makes sense…
K I’m done.
Well T-birds the end is drawing near, I am kinda happy to say ITS ALMOST OVER!! This school year has been pretty crazy, from Roommates, to finding fun this to do in Cedar City, to hiking nearly every hike in Zion’s.
SUU has offered so much to all of us and I am pleased to call myself a T-bird. I am excited to be able to come back one more year and hopefully be able to see all of you lovelies again!
Keep it real Cedar City! Peace.