I came into college with a decent high school GPA, a five-year plan, a good idea how to “adult” – thinking I would breeze through college like I did in high school.
I was naive.
One of the major life lessons, and perhaps the hardest one, I learned was how to be flexible. With the “yes” attitude I brought with me to college, I accumulated many projects. While ambitious, I didn’t get the concept of pacing, and ended up stressed out and sick.
Let me say, college is certainly a different ball game compared to high school. But it’s – at the risk of sounding cliche – the best years of your life.
During college, you’ll learn what exactly your best skills are. You’ll discover how you truly feel about social and political issues. You’ll learn of different opportunities that fit your persona. You must be open to everything.
You’ll also try alcohol. For most, it will be the first time, and it’s important to observe your actions and to be cautious. You’ll hear of others’ drunken misfortunes and laugh at them.
Make sure to learn from them, though, because while drinking can be a fun experience, you’re held completely responsible for the choices you make while under the influence.
You’ll experience the attraction to sex and romantic relationships. Again, whether for the first time or not, it’s important to remember the kind of reputation you’re setting for yourself – both in your private and professional life.
It’s also good to note that while a lot of your friends will get engaged or start having kids during these four years, it’s neither a race nor competition – life is life.
You’ll experience stress, I can guarentee that. If you’re ambitious and serious about the education you’re paying for, you’ll find that school work takes time to complete. It will be frustrating and seem unfair, but deep down you’ll be proud of the work you accomplish.
You’ll be responsible for yourself. From getting your butt to class or making a doctor’s appointment during flu season, you’ll learn what it takes to care for yourself.
Ultimately, the reason why everyone describes college as the best years of their lives is because of the feeling they get as they prepare to graduate. There is so much nostalgia and a sense of accomplishment as you reflect back on everything you did.
Expect to change. Have a life plan, morals and ethics as you come to USD. But don’t be afraid to change. Take every experience you can just to say you’ve done it – it makes for great stories later.
Be ambitious and try something new, but make sure it’s manageable. Know that you’ll be frustrated, you might cry and you’ll threaten to quit. But you’ll also laugh, you’ll smile and you’ll love the experiences and the people you share them with.
College is hard, but it’ll be the best experience you’ll ever have.