Life would be so much better if we could have a yearly chat with our past, present and future selves, where we share pressing details about the future and give ourselves necessary advice. Sadly, that is not the case and we often go through new, life-changing experiences — like college — with little help or guidance. Luckily, we do still have the opportunity to learn from those who have done it before and are willing to impart some gems of knowledge gained through experience. Since I could not share these tips with myself back when I was in college, I figured I’d do the next best thing: share them with The Frisky readers.
1. Study school first, study a relationship later (you don’t really have a choice, anyhow). A 2011 Pew Study found that the average age of first marriage was 27 for women and 29 for men — well after the average age of college graduation. But if you are a romance kind of girl, all is not lost! A study done by Facebook found that 28 percent of married graduates attended college with their spouse and that number is even higher for those who attended a religious college where, at Birmingham College, for example 60 percent of women and 62 percentof men went to college with their spouse. So while Mr. Right may not be ready right now, he is more than likely open to a friendship that can lead to something more in the future.
2. The Debt reaper will be stalking you, so spend wisely. Banks prey on college students who need large sums of money fast to cover tuition, cost of books and other living expenses, so beware. Before you digitally sign your name to a promissory note for thousands of dollars, ask yourself: “Do I really need all of this money?” Currently, there is roughly 1 trillion dollars in outstanding student loan debt and many of these young people are no longer students and now must constantly look over their shoulders wondering when the Debt Reaper will garnish their wages (if they are lucky enough to have a job), call their phone at odd times in the morning, day and night whispering “ppppaaaaaaayyy… ppaaaaaaayyy or diiiiiiieee,” or worse yet, lower their credit score making it impossible to move out of their parents house! The horror!
3. The infamous “Freshman 15” is not a myth. Matter of fact, it could be the freshmen 20 or even 30 if you pig out at the dining hall, drink cheap booze every weekend and spend your time off from class watching reruns of “Orange Is The New Black” or some other show on Netflix. If you care and don’t want it to catch up with you, chances are there’s a free gym on campus that you’re not taking advantage of. So join it. Like right now as you read this piece.
4. Have fun, but not at the expense of your integrity or safety. Yes, fun things do happen in college like social gatherings where us ladies drink tea, eat crumpets and discuss the latest literary craze (just in case some parents are reading this). But you should always be cautious of the “tea”: sometimes it’s hard to tell when you have had too much or if someone put something in it.
Also, there is no need to give into peer pressure. If your lady friends want to, say, go to the opening of the very exciting Ikea Museum and you just want to stay home and watch documentaries because you think some of their installations may be dangerous, stick with your gut. You could be the one person who ends up sitting on an Ikea bed and it collapses!
5. If something bad does happen, do not be afraid to report it. According to statistics publicly released by the nation’s top colleges, there has been a rise in reports of sex offense statistics, mostly because more victims are coming forward to report the crimes than ever before. With the help of this new data, awareness and a movement against campus sexual assault gained much needed momentum. President Obama named a White House Task force to develop and implement strategies to eradicate sexual assault from college campuses, and Congress is even considering legislation. Reporting any crime is the best thing you can do not only for yourself, but for other victims and the nation. To quote Obama: “Sexual violence is not just a crime against individuals—it threatens our entire country.” Seek out on-campus sexual assault victim advocacy groups and counselors for support.
6. Your first important career move: find a mentor. Whatever you want to do or be, more than likely you are among experienced, mature and intelligent professors who have done it before. If you find a professor who is inspirational, or you aspire to have a career similar to their own, do not be afraid to reach out! But, as with any relationship, there is a unique etiquette that must be followed when seeking a mentor. The best approach: build a relationship in class first. Be an attentive student who asks questions and is really involved, then contact the individual personally. Do not bombard anyone with incessant emails or questions: they will completely avoid you.
7. The economy sucks, so sit back and enjoy the college life. I am sure you have heard that job prospects are not currently in abundance. Though that may very well suck for the future you if things do not pick up, the present you is having the time of your life with little worries! Live in the moment, learn as much as you can and enjoy yourself- – there’s no rush to get out into the sucky real world.
8. Be prepared to be enlightened. A college education awards you the opportunity to delve into a deeper understand of your mind, body, society and even the universe. It offers a unique moment to gain perspective of your existence, critically thinking about the way things work around you that can often lead to a “Eureka!” moment. Take classes that you connect with, even if they are not necessarily related to your major. Enlightenment can come in the form of Calculus for an English major or Sociology class for a Biology major, so be open-minded!
9. It’s hard to make friends at first, but college friendships can be truly rewarding. In the best possible circumstance, the critical-thinking skills you learn in college will help you challenge your friends — and vice-versa — in ways that you could not before that will allow both intellectual and emotional growth. Your college friendships will also be huge assets when you get out into the real world and need to find job or internship opportunities, so choose friends wisely. No one will look out for you like a good college friend, but if all of your friends were too busy drinking tea and not studying, you may be the one always looking out for them.
10. If you decide to dorm or have moved out, tell your parents you love them and miss them everyday. Aside from the fact that you should butter-up your parents considering the likelihood that you will have to move back home after graduation, adulthood is around the corner and its difficulties will really make you appreciative of all that your parents have done to award you the opportunity to attend college. Higher education is a privilege. And so is a loving family. Be appreciative.
Have more advice for college ladies? Leave them in the comments section below!
Original by Tiffanie Drayton