Thursday, August 30, 2012

When you go to college, do this...

This is the second fall term I do not return to school.

I have two college degrees: one in Graphic Arts (received 2008), and another in Interdisciplinary with a focus on Business (received 2011).  Needless to say, I spent a lot of time in school!

I liked college.  Whoever said that "high school is the best four years of your life" is full of shit.  High School was okay for me. I was in marching band, jazz band, and Honors band (BAND GEEK!) and made lifelong friends.

Thats' me!  I totally kept the proof. Yes, I played trombone.  :)
From senior year.  My best friend, Jaime, who is gonna be my Man Of Honor at my wedding.  :)

But college was better.

I met more people, I got to know Paul better (yay!), I got super involved, and I learned the value of education.  This education in college was not to be taken for granted since classes were now being paid for...and I learned to appreciate it all.

graduation for my graphic arts degree with my friend Katy.
I couldn't find a photo of my other graduation :( 

I have a niece and a nephew going to college for the first time this fall, and have numerous friends in school now trying to finish up their classes.  I feel compelled to write about the following for any readers heading to college, or already in college but looking to get more out of the experience!

How to Make College Totally Better than High School

1. Be involved.
I cannot stress this one enough.  You don't want to be the kid who sits in the dorm all day and night, or that never leaves their room unless it's class time.
Get out there! Join a club or two (or three, of four...) that you have in interest in.  See if the major you are in had a social club, or see if you school provided interest clubs like a Biking Club, a Photography Club, an Anime Club, etc.  Join the Student Government Association and help make your school a better place.  Play sports.  Be part of a decorating committee.  Be part of a welcoming committee...
...What ever you do, do it because you like it.  It will help you meet people and help you ave fun!

2. Sure..go to a party!
It's a rite of  passage.  Go to a party every now and then and go crazy with a few friends!  After all those classes and studying, it's nice to unwind every now and then.

But seriously, be safe about it.  Carry condoms, don't leave your drinks unattended, don't get so drunk that you don't even know where you are, and don't do drugs. Say no to drugs!
Party's more fun when you remember the party!

3. ...But also study. A lot.
Don't forget that your main reason to be in school is to pass your classes and get ahead in life, not to party.
Hit the books nightly, don't cram before a test.
These classes you're in (or your parents, or financial aid) are paying for them.  They aren't free like in High School anymore!! 
In high school, some teachers let you get away with not turning in work, or giving you make-up assignments and tests.  Not in college!
Pass your classes the first time.  If will look better on your transcripts, and it will keep you from having to pay for that class twice. 

4. Eat crazy food!
If you're living outside of home, chances are you are n a budget and need to be creative when it comes to food.  Experiment with ramen noodles, create new things using Chicken and Waffles (mmm!!), learn to make gourmet meals out of the food you have in your tiny pantry.
This is probably the most fit you will be in your life. Live it up.  :)

5. Exercise.
That being said...always exercise. Most school have a gym you can use, and exercise activities you can join in on like Yoga or aerobics.  Take advantage of these perks!  Most of the time, they are free to use and be part do them and enrich your body while nourishing your mind.

6. Challenge yourself.
Don't play it safe with your classes. Take classes that force you to look at the world differently.
Courses like Sociology, Psychology, Art Appreciation, Ethics, World Religions, Philosophy, and even some English classes like British Lit or Asian Lit will be eye opening.  Step outside your comfort zone and take these for fun!

7. Meet new people.
Make an effort to add people to your Circle of Trust. I'm not saying you should abandon your High School friends - always keep the good ones - but expand your circle to accommodate new people.  New people will bring about new experiences. That's always fun!

8. Read.
Enrich your mind.
Don't read just for school. Read for YOU on your own time.
trust me, it just opens up so much of the world at your fingertips.

9. Unplug.
When out enjoying yourself with friends, enjoying a school activity, or in class...turn off your electronics.  Facebook, twitter, and instagram can all wait.  Immerse yourself in what you are doing and enjoy the moment with all of your attention. It will be remembered better this way. You can always tweet abut your night later when you get home.  :)

10. Whatever you do, do it with dignity.
When I was in High School, our college counselors would tell us that we needed to go to a big school in order to be successful, or that we needed to be doctors, lawyers, or something equally as big in order to be successful.

Let me tell you, those things are not for everyone.

I went to my local community college for my first degree, and went to a school State University for my second.  I'm lucky enough to live 40 minutes from the University, so it was easy.

If you don't go to a big school, but choose a community college or a local college, don't be ashamed of it.  There are some amazing schools that fall in those categories.

Don't feel like you aren't going to amount to anything if you aren't a doctor or a lawyer.  Some people want to be in teaching, or art, or architecture, or construction, etc.  Do what pleases you, and do it with dignity.  Do it because you love it and because you dream it, not because it's someone else's dream.

Remember, this is your life and your future!  :)


  1. "When out enjoying yourself with friends, enjoying a school activity, or in class...turn off your electronics. Facebook, twitter, and instagram can all wait." <-- YES, YES, YES, YES, YES! I hate when my husband and I hang out with people and they have to describe/post a picture of everything we are about to do, eat, drink, watch, etc.

    And I agree that high school is NOT the best years of your life!

  2. Love this post. My college experience was not typical, but it was absolutely better than college! HS is very overrated IMO :)

  3. Awesome advice! I wish our college experience was the same as you guys have but it somehow just doesn't seem nearly as exciting in England! x

  4. I love this post and I'll take your advice I'm attending college for the first time even though I'm almost out of my twenties. It just so happens that now I'm able and ready to commit to my education.


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