Hats off to you graduates! We’ve finally done it. While some of us are moving on to graduate school, a new job or an exciting adventure, we all have thoughts about what we wish we had known as a college student.
That’s not to say I regret any of my decisions as a college student — college was one of the best experiences of my life. However, over the past few weeks, I have been thinking about advice to give my now sophomore sister who attends the same university that I just left. While she is a much better student than me and probably knows all of this, they are still good tips to keep in mind.
While I realize that every student is different in how they approach their education, here are five final things that this graduate thinks may help you.
Too much junk in the trunk…or dorm room
Moving to college can be an exciting thing. Stores such as WalMart, Bed, Bath and Beyond and Target are really eager to “help” you get all of the items you “need” for your dorm room. Being the oldest child in my family, my mom and I went a little overboard with all of the stuff that I brought to school. I didn’t end up needing a lot of things until I moved into a house off campus.
Take it from a former Target employee, you don’t need all of junk that you think you will. Also, take time to donate and throw away items every year to cut down on the clutter.
Don’t take your laptop to class
Some people are super multi-taskers who can listen to a professor, take notes, Facebook and tweet all at once in lecture. However, most of us are not. So, leave your laptop at home or in your backpack. Take notes the old fashioned way — in a notebook. Physically writing things down improves your memory…and I’m pretty sure your pen doesn’t have Wi-Fi to distract you.
So, I’ll keep it simple, electronics are super distracting, and I’m positive your best friend’s relationship issues and statuses won’t be on your next test.
Catching Zzzzs helps with A’s
Freshman year, I felt invincible and I no longer had parents giving me a curfew or telling me when to go to bed. So, I’d stay out late hanging out with friends or watching movies. I was able to get by on a few hours of sleep and made it up on the weekends.
However, it took it’s toll my sophomore year. Friends in classes told me I did “the head bob” in lectures. It was incredibly funny to those around me, but not so funny to me when I hit the books…literally.
However, as my senior year approached, I started dating my now fiancé, who is an accountant. He needs sleep. So, I started going home at 10pm so that he could get his sleep for work the next day. Because there was nothing interesting going on after he was at home sleeping, I started going to sleep at a reasonable hour and getting up early for school. I didn’t know what I was missing. A clear head and not falling asleep in class because of sleep deprivation? Yes, please! Who can learn if their head keeps hitting the books with sleepiness…literally?
Be friends with your professors
One of the best things I learned in college? Professors not only help you learn, but are great mentors. If a professor knows you well, they can write you a letter of recommendation or can even use their connections to get you a very sought after interview.
Many graduate programs or employers will ask for a recommendation from a professor. So, this tip is essential. Go in to all of your professors’ offices at the beginning of the semester to introduce yourself. They’ll like you better and will more likely help you if you get into a bind during the semester.
Enjoy the moment
This applies to all life situations, and I still struggle with this piece of advice. We’re all eager to graduate, make a real salary and move along with our lives. However, remember to just have fun. Studying is great and will keep your grades healthy, but remember to let loose and have fun sometimes. Don’t be telling everyone you meet how “glad you are” to get out of school and into the real world. Once you’re out, you can’t ever replicate your college experiences.
Be optimistic and enjoy your limited time. It goes fast and by the time you realize that, it’s all over and you’re left with your memories and diploma. Don’t let your college experience sneak away without knowing it. Every step, good or bad, just enjoy the journey.
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