9 Secrets to Embracing your College Experience

“Study” they said.   “Declare a major” they demanded.  For me college did much more for my life than just teach me the ins and outs of the multidisciplinary studies my degree reads.   Listed here are my nuggets of knowledge that I pass down to the interns I counsel.  They listen, they make their mistakes, and then they always come back to say…”you were so right, why didn’t I listen to you?!

Because you were making your mistakes to find it true for yourself.

1.Embrace the Opportunities of Knowledge

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Rights to this and all Photos: Shopgirlanonymous

There is no other opportunity that will present itself in your life where you will just have a pool of knowledge, warm and ready for you to dive in head first.

You have four years to embrace every opportunity of knowledge possible.   Sign up for classes that interest you, and inspire you.  Sign up for what you want to know, not only what you feel like you have to know.   If you have the opportunity to hear from a poet laureate then by all means don’t miss the opportunity to delve into his brain.   If you are interested in astronomy, but it doesn’t fit into your graduation plan, who cares?

2. Embrace the Dorm

4774865668_b39e4242da_oA dorm?!  The thought of it disgusted me, the tiny room, the cramped space, the absolute zero privacy.  I mean isn’t college about getting away from my parents and siblings to live on my own?

Here’s the reality, the social climate of college is hard.  You will make friends in classes, that I called seasonal flings.   They will be your best friend until finals and then you will never hear from them again.  The dorm will force a bond with far more than just your best roommate, it will extend to your best hall mates, your best cafeteria mates, and your best mail call mates. These bonds will not evaporate so carelessly, because now you are survivors.  You have survived each others strengths and each other annoying habits.   You have learned one another’s rhythm, and your patterns will slowly fall in line together.   So enjoy the dorm, as long as you can.   Easy commute, surrounded by peers, and it’s a party all the time.   In my dorm we always hosted nightly DDR marathons (this is dance dance revolution for those who Gen. Z’ers  who missed that craze) and Karaoke Revolution contests.   So hop in your common area, hook up your rock band, bust out your best junk food, and get ready to mingle!

3. Embrace Yourself

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This is your opportunity to allow yourself to push beyond boundaries in style, attitude, and studies.  Are you a free loving adventurer, or are you a totally rad frisbee golf specialist?  Whatever it is, make it about you and no one else.

Relationships are great, but can very easily become far too serious too fast.  This is the only opportunity you have to really just live selfishly, make your mistakes, and though at the time the train wreck and the lost wanderings may not seem like they are taking you anywhere, they will become the oddities that shape you into the individual you will be at graduation.

Knowing who you are will help define yourself in the workforce and in your day-to-day life.  You will create your own brand and style, and this is what will accelerate you in your career.  Your confidence in your product will keep you from having to question your decisions.

4. Embrace Freedom

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Buddy Holly’s Grave in Lubbock, TX

Don’t over consume yourself with activities, extracurriculars, and studies.  Yes please do get involved, and do study.  But do not let those things eat up your entire experience.

Have a weekend to take a spontaneous road trip with your roommates.  Have the time to take a random Saturday to explore the local sights, and the area must dos.   Exploring is discovery.  Isn’t that what college is supposed to be about?

5. Embrace Variety

206280_531451185568_3442_nPut yourself out there!   Take dancing lessons, get involved in Volleyball, attend football games, and by all means, pledge to more than one fraternity.   Enjoy the variety of life, don’t get too bogged down with only one extra-curricular.  Get out there and embrace many different communities.

Work is sometimes a necessary evil for college students.  The need to work though should not take away from your experience, find a company that is willing to encourage your scholastics.   Yes that’s possible to be found in any trade, it’s all about finding the right manager.   Be sure to ask in your interview, will you be permitting to my college schedule?  Feel free to offer them a snapshot of what that schedule may look like, so they understand that it is not sporadic, and it will not interfere with the employers times.  It could detract from the hiring decision, but if it does that would have most likely been a company that did not find your personal success one of their top priorities.

6. Embrace Indecision

3111923927_d7e1c5cbeb_o.jpgThis is one is always met with a variety of responses, but I want you to go into college without declaring a major.  ::gasp::  I know I know.  Sure, tell the school something, but don’t marry the idea.

I promise you will change your mind, most every normal person does.  You don’t know what you want until you’re experiencing life.   Be open minded, follow rule number one and you just might find your passion somewhere you would have never guessed it.  Don’t waste your time on classes that don’t interest you, just because they are necessary for a major doesn’t mean take it today.  That’s how you lose out on time, opportunities, and cash when you end up changing your major next semester anyway.

Use your freshman and sophomore years to take your basics with a few fun interesting classes sprinkled in.  Heck, I did this all the way through to Junior year, only because I wasted so much time on my forever altering “majors”.

7. Embrace Modesty

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe paparazzi does not only exist for a Kardashian, but also for you.  All around these days we have camera phones, and instant uploads to the constant public streaming of social media.  The beauty of social media then becomes the blasted curse of college mistakes.

Do not make your profile picture that of you taking on a keg stand.   This is public, it is embarrassing to those back home, and when you become a corporate hot shot, or school guidance counselor, it will be embarrassing to you.  Do experiment, but remain within the confines of moderation.  Even further do not voluntarily advertise your experiments.  We don’t need to watch you drunkenly light fireworks from the rooftop.  You are not Johnny Knoxville and you are not immortal.

8. Embrace Singlehood

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACollege isn’t where you have to find Mrs. or Mr. Right, but it is the only opportunity you will have to find Mr. or Ms. You.  I know it’s hard, the want to play house is real; that inner need to share our life with someone is no joke.

Marriage is a beautiful thing, but it’s a more realistic commitment to make when you are the adult you.   Despite what you may feel, you as a person are developing and changing everyday.   You are still an adolescent until 24 because from your body, to your cognition,  to your hormones you are not done developing. The best tip I have for you is to make a marriage bucket list, at least 7 big things you must do by yourself before settling down with anyone.  This should be big important things to you like write in the french quarter, friend trip to Europe, or even something like creating your own successful line of purses stitched by hand.

It may seem that the wait is forever, but college is a short blink of your life, unlike marriage which will in reality really feel like forever.  Relationships get in the way of your studies, marriage sucks you from the variety of activities, and all together will interrupt your entire process of embracing you.

9.  Embrace A Far Off Land

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen selecting a college, choose one that’s not too close to home.  Shake up your perspective, and go somewhere you are excited to explore!

Staying at home with mom and dad, although cheap, will only delay your self-discovery further.   Also, this will perhaps be the only opportunity in your life to 100% choose where you want to live.

Move at least an hour from home.  Something far enough that it’s not an easy commute, but something close enough for weekend visits home when the going gets tough.    Though being even further will create a stronger shell for your adult tough futures.  🙂

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Over the Moon Link Party

Drowned Stadium Picture Cred:  Josh Chappell

17 thoughts on “9 Secrets to Embracing your College Experience

  1. Ipuna Black says:

    I ❤️​ this post! I agree that college gives you way more than just a degree. You listed some excellent points. I’m actually doing a post for tomorrow on college and grit. I’m glad we are thinking along the same lines! ❤️​

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Marian says:

    Both my kids are in university away from home. We started saving when they were born! Even though we have 3 universities in my city, I really wanted them to move away from home to learn many of the lessons you share in your post. They are life lessons, as important as the academic ones in a way. They enter as children and exit as young adults. It’s an amazing transformation. Great post and very insightful.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. koolaidmoms says:

    My daughter will be a senior in high school and I am going to have her read this. Much of this we talk about but it is great to have someone else say it too. I goofed up on #3 and it wasn’t until I went graduate school that I fixed it and did it the right way!

    Like

    • shopgirlanonymous says:

      I wrote half of this in a journal, a letter to my future children my senior year of college. I wrote the second half 8 years later after working with interns for a year. 🙂 It’s not my norm, but needed to be said. 😀

      Like

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