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To An Underclassman, From A Senior On The Verge Of Graduation

Here's a list of things that your Admissions Counselor won't tell you about college, but is actually vital information. Take notes.

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1. It's Okay to Make Mistakes.


College is a time of much learning, both academically and personally. With this territory comes a lot of new things, and not all of those new things will work out in your favor. You will inevitably make some mistakes, especially during your Freshman year. Don't you fret, young one. These mistakes (more often than not) will not haunt you forever...hopefully. Take these mistakes and turn them into education opportunities. There is always something that you can learn from your mistakes. According to Miranda Bailey on Grey's Anatomy, you learn more from your failures than your successes.

If you fail an exam, you'll learn how to study better. If you get romantically involved with the wrong type of person, you'll know better next time. If you eat too much Taco Bell (no such thing) and you throw up, you'll eat less next time.

Even though it might seem as though each mistake is a catastrophe, trust me, you will see worse, but you will also see better.

2. Always Drink Water.

This seems pretty self-explanatory, but I simply can't stress this enough. When you get to college, you will (most likely) try drinking alcohol. This is completely normal, and you should not feel completely guilty about this.

But, in order to save yourself from the hangover the next day, drink some water before you go to bed. If you are not coherent enough to do so, make sure your friends force you to drink water before you go to bed.

Also, just drink more water in general. College is a stressful time, and the more water you drink, the healthier you'll feel, and the better your body will work with you in times of intense stress. Just keep yourself hydrated in all scenarios.

3. Things Will Never Go Exactly According to Plan.

When you enter college as an optimistic Freshman, you have all these plans for how your life is going to pan out. You are going to be a Pre-Med major, then you're going to Med School, and you will become a world-famous Neurosurgeon.

This might be the case for you, and you very well might turn out to be a fantastic Neurosurgeon. But, that is not to say that there won't be some speed bumps in the way of you achieving that dream.

You might go into college thinking you will stay with your high school boyfriend/girlfriend and that you'll get married after you both graduate college. For some, this is the case. For most, they realize that the people you were in high school are very different than the people you are now, and you are ultimately not compatible anymore.

No matter what your plan is, there will always be some kinks. This is completely normal. No one's plans ever go perfectly (and if they do, don't be convinced they're not robots). Always remain flexible, and just because there are obstacles in your way, this does not mean you won't achieve your goals. These obstacles will only inspire you to work harder.

4. The People You Meet Here Will Change You.


During your four years (or more) in college, you will meet a plethora of people, some you like, and others you don't.

All of these people will change you in some way. The people you become friends will be there for you in some of the hardest times you will face during your time in college. Because of this, they will show you what it feels like to be loved unconditionally. They will help you create memories that make you feel things you have never felt before--pure unbridled joy.

The people that you dislike will test you in ways you never thought imaginable. They will force you to question your beliefs, morals, and ways of thinking. Although it will be frustrating at the time, this will change you and make you more confident in yourself as a human being.

Be open to changing, and let those around you help you do so.

5. You Will Change Drastically, and That's Okay.

You might be coming into college thinking you've got yourself all figured out. Let me tell you right now: YOU. ARE. WRONG.

The next four years of your life will be some of the most trying and fun of your life. You will encounter things that you have never encountered before, and this will change you. At first, the changes might seem fairly minute. But when you get to be 22, and you're looking back at 18-year-old you, you will quickly realize that you are nowhere near the same person you used to be.

Guess what? That's perfectly okay. Just because you've changed does not mean you have somehow abandoned your morals, it just means that you are now wiser and have seen more of the world than you possibly could have in high school. Change is good. Embrace the new you, and this change will not seem as overwhelming as it may feel.

6. Experiment and Try Something New.


For all of you with your mind in the gutter, experimentation applies to more than just sex (although, feel free to experiment with that as well, if you so choose).

One of the things that I have enjoyed the most about college is the fact that I have been able to have many experiences that were definitely not within my comfort zone. First of all, I studied abroad, which I highly recommend. This was an invaluable experience that drastically broadened my view of the world. I have also branched out in the types of friends I've made, because they challenged me to see the world a little bit differently.

If you never try something new, when you're inevitably thrown into an experience that scares you, it will feel overwhelming. Now, when thrown into overwhelming new things, I am a lot less panicked because I've had the experiences of trying new things that have often times scared the crap out of me.

7. Do Your Work.

I can't stress this one enough. Do your goddamn work. Seriously. I know I just said to try new things, but don't let that trying new things get in the way of what you came to college to do--learn!

If you do your work and give 100% in your classes, you will really feel like you've become a new person who can effectively contribute to society after you leave. You will develop skills that you've never dreamed of. But, that will only happen if you apply yourself.

If you don't do your work, you might not even have the chance to stay in college, and then you will learn nothing in terms of academics.

Also, a lot of times, your professors will become prominent connections you will have to your field of study. If they see you don't do your work, what kind of recommendation letter do you think they'll write for you, if they even choose to write one at all?

Don't procrastinate, either. College is a stressful enough time, you don't need to be staying up all night to do the project that you've known about all semester. College isn't high school--if you turn in work you did the night before, your professors will know, and your grades will reflect your lack of effort.

You will get out of college what you put into it. If you put in minimal effort, you will not receive the education that you (or your parents) are paying an arm and a leg for--the education you need to be more marketable in the workforce.

8. Don't Compare Yourselves to Others.


This one is almost hypocritical of me to say, because I find that I often compare myself to my peers, but I also think that is exactly what qualifies me to say this.

I have spent a good portion of my college career comparing myself to those around me: are my clothes cute? is my GPA as good as theirs? why can't I find someone to date like everyone else can?

These are the kinds of questions and concerns that will ultimately drive you insane, and will inhibit you from experiencing the college in a way that will be most beneficial to you.

I know this is hard, because it will always seem like someone has all of their shit together, but here's the secret: no one really has ALL their shit together, or if they do, they're probably not being truthful with themselves.

At the end of the day, you are your own person, and what's right for someone else might not be right for you, and vice versa. You can't compare yourself to others, because you are uniquely you, which means you come with your own set of beliefs, desires, and goals. Comparing yourself to people with other sets of values is fruitless. So, just don't do it.

I'll work on it if you do, I promise.

9. Take Every Opportunity You're Given.


There will be so many different opportunities thrown at you during your 4 years in college. Master classes, seminars, events, and other various learning opportunities. TAKE. EVERY. ONE.

I mean it. Take advantage of as many of those opportunities as possible. Not only might something spark an interest in you, but it could help you gain a connection or skill that will help you in the long run.

As a theatre major, I had never really given much thought to acting for television or film. But, there was a class offered with a woman who had made her living with film and TV acting, so I took the class, not expecting to get much out of it. It turned out to be very beneficial, and became a possible career path for me. It also looks very nice on a resume.

Even if you think an opportunity doesn't apply to you, take it anyway. You never know how something might benefit you until you try it. Even if it's an opportunity that scares you, take it anyway.

10. Have Fun!


I've just spewed a whole bunch of "rules" at you, but I think this might be the most important piece of advice I have for you. Have fun!

College is a time of immense stress and far too little sleep, but it is also a time of intense growth and amazing revelations. Yes, I thin you should do you work, but I definitely think it's important for you to enjoy your college years. It's the one place where you can really explore yourself before you go into the "real world", so you might as well have fun during the process.

College, like life, is full of balance. So, as long as you balance your work with the fun you're having, you will truly enjoy your experience!

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