8 Things to Know for College
Now that I have graduated and moved on to “real life,” I feel like I know a great deal more than I did freshman year. As I sit and reflect on my past four years at Bentley, sitting on the couch in my new “big girl” apartment, I came up with 5 things I wish I knew in my “younger” years.
- Do well in your freshman classes: You might not realize it at the time, but your freshman year classes will be the easiest in your college career. In most schools, your freshman year classes are the general education ones. Soon, you’ll be taking more in-depth classes for your major—you might as well keep your GPA up while it’s easy! It is often difficult adjusting to being away from home, but try to keep your academics on par with where you will want them to be in the future.
- Get involved: This might sound cliché, but you really should try to get involved as much as possible. Memories won’t be made when you are sitting alone in your dorm room watching television. Since I was on the track team my freshman year, I didn’t think about joining other activities. Once I realized that the track team wasn’t for me, in the fall of my sophomore year, I joined my sorority (Alpha Phi) and was elected to the executive board of Outdoors Club. Now, I’m not advising that you quit your sports team, but you should make sure that all of your friends/social experiences aren’t just from one group on campus—meet lots of different people!
- Take on internships: I am a big believer in being productive at every moment in the day, which is why at times, I took on more internship opportunities than I could handle. Although it might seem early, try to find a 10 hour/week internship in your sophomore year. I ended up finding an internship sophomore year that I liked at the time, but it definitely helped to rule out what I didn’t want to do for the future. This also helped me to manage my time better when my classes weren’t as difficult. Having internships will also help you to meet a lot more people, whether it be co-interns or bosses.
- Explore the area you’re in: Since Bentley is outside Boston, it is not as easy to get into the city as BC and BU are. Whatever city you are around, make sure to explore! A lot of times, people get consumed with all of their social activities on campus, instead of venturing off campus to also meet other people. Take Saturday morning to go visit other schools or commute into the city for a fun day!
- Go out at your own discretion: When you first get to college, it can seem like everyone goes out ALL of the time… and they probably do. Don’t feel obligated to do this if you don’t want to—but at the same time, don’t stay in all the time just to lounge around and do homework. If you do choose to go out, make sure you have some reliable friends with you. Most colleges advertise this as the “buddy system,” which seems like silly wording. Instead of designating someone as your buddy, just make sure you have the “right” type of people around you—AKA the people who will go back to the dorm with you if you are having an off night, instead of staying out for themselves.
- Keep up your friendships: As you get busier in your years at college, make sure to maintain your friendships. This can apply to friends at home, summer camp or just your friends at school. College students tend to be self-absorbed in the way that they do most things on a daily basis for themselves – going to class, group meetings, homework, etc. Make sure to leave time to catch up with your friends, whether they be right next door or in another country.
- Stay healthy: I did not exactly experience the “Freshman 15,” but instead I experienced the “Senior 15.” Things got more stressful senior year, with internships, harder classes, more activities, job applications, etc. Try to get yourself into a routine freshman year with exercise. Depending, your school might offer fitness classes—sign up for these! The classes will give you a set time each week of when you need to exercise, plus you can go with friends. Also, learn how to cook BEFORE you get a kitchen. I personally loved having a meal plan because food was always ready for me, but when I got my kitchen, it got more difficult to make a healthy meal. You should decide on your meals before you go grocery shopping, so you’re all set for the week.
- STUDY ABROAD: When I first went into college, I had decided that I wanted to study abroad. You should think about this early in your college career, as it could help decide how you organize your class schedules for each semester. I studied in Dublin, which was an amazing experience in itself. It was awesome getting to know the culture of the Irish students. Also, being in Europe was great because it was relatively cheap and easy to travel from country to country. If studying abroad scares you, don’t let it—you will come back a much more independent and cultured person!
I hope that these 8 tips help to answer your questions when coming in to college. You should take advantage of all the opportunities you can get because the 4 years in college fly by (TRUST ME!).
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