51 Pieces Of Advice That You Should Immediately Send To Someone Who's Going To College
Go 👏 to 👏 class!!!
1. Mental health is a major key:
Once in a while, check in on your mental health. It’s super easy to fall in a deep slump, and you won’t realize you’re there until it’s pretty bad. A lot of students struggle with mental health, so don’t be ashamed to get help.
2. Remember self-care:
Finding a self-care routine is a MUST. I wasn't prepared for how stressful college can be: exams, staying up late, trying to have a social life and a part time job? Yikes! I stopped worrying about my contour and started focusing on my skin and my mental health. I wake up an hour earlier now, mediate for a bit, turn on a podcast, take a nice shower, and do my skin care routine. It helps me face the day and makes taking care of myself a routine!
3. Don't fuck your GPA up:
They say “grades don’t define you”...but they determine future courses you can take, opportunities you receive at uni like working with a prof (you always have to send your transcript), and grad school entry. So don’t take grades lightly, because at the end of the day, they matter. Wish I tried harder now that I’m going into 4th year...
4. Don't sweat the small stuff:
Don't worry about looking like a freshman or worry what other people think, because in college literally no one gives a fuck what you’re doing. Everyone is just trying to graduate.
5. Remember who YOU are/who YOU want to be:
Be true to yourself; don't worry about how you'll be perceived! Everyone there is just as confused and as scared as you are because you're taking a big step to further your education. Remember to put your education first and have fun while you're there. Don't make it a race; you'd rather take an extra year to finish vs. rushing through and stressing yourself out.
6. Make your OWN choices:
Make choices based on you. That bestie or boyfriend may not even be in your life in four years, and even if they are, you'll regret choosing a major or giving up basketball because of what they wanted. A true friend who loves you will want you to follow your dreams.
7. Student loans are a gift AND a curse:
Make sure you understand how student loans work! My husband unfortunately didn't and borrowed more than was necessary!
8. For some, put financials first:
1. A degree is a degree. Don't pick a school just because of its name and how well known it is. Pick a school that offers you the best finance wise.
2. There's no need to pay thousands of dollars worth of tuition. There are so many scholarships out there that go to waste. Don't be lazy, and actually apply to them. You never know, you might actually win and receive them.
9. Don't overbuy a ton of stuff for your dorm room:
Don’t go crazy with the stuff you buy for your dorm room, chances are you’ll only live there for 1–2 years. Get practical stuff you can reuse for later living arrangements!
10. You don't have to take everything you own with you:
Don’t bring your entire wardrobe with you. There will be lots of weekend shopping trips, and it will make moving out that much easier if you don’t have all of Forever 21 to put in boxes.
11. You don't have to buy all the books before the first class:
Wait until you go to class to buy the textbooks. Normally teachers say you absolutely need these expensive books, when in reality you don't. I always bought my books off of Chegg. They are way cheap and you can send them back. My rule of thumb was to wait until after the first exam or test to see if you really needed the textbook or not.
12. With that said, compare prices:
You can compare the prices of textbooks on slugbooks.com. It helps you see where the cheapest option is and saved me a lot of money.
13. If you know what you want to major in...
If you have a major, cozy up with the department's section in the school bulletin and commit the major requirements to memory. Also, take advantage of electives. It's always good to have one "fun class" that will not only boost your GPA but will also be welcome break. I had semesters where the courseload was daunting and I dreaded waking up in the morning. But if you have that one class that you want to go to, it'll make the other classes more tolerable.
14. Or maybe try to figure out what you want to major in a little sooner:
I wish I knew what I wanted to major in. Four and a half years later, after two major changes and transferring to a different college, I'm in tons of debt and not even working in my degree field. If I had a magic time turner, I'd go back and have a long hard think about what I wanted to do with my life before going to college.
15. Test out of easy classes if you can:
Two words: CLEP tests. If you are a good test taker, passing CLEP tests will save you so much time and money. I tested out of 11 hours worth of gen eds and I know someone who tested out of a whole school year’s worth of gen eds. Try to test out of as much as you can so you’ll save a crap ton of money. Also textbooks are a joke. Don’t buy them, either rent them used or don’t get them at all.
16. Remember, at the end of the day you're the master of your own destiny:
There is no one there to tell you to do your homework or go to class — it’s on you. Seems like a simple concept, but I know at least a few people who couldn’t handle that responsibility and failed out of college quickly.
17. It's fucking scary, but guess what? You're going to be ok:
Everyone is just as terrified as you are, it’s totally okay.
18. You don't have to live for your parents:
Do not, I repeat DO NOT, for everything that is good in this world, major in something just because your parents want you to. I'm glad I realized within my first year that I didn't want to be a doctor. My mom wanted me to be a doctor. I changed my major from bio to history and I couldn't be happier. (Mom was super pissed for a while but she eventually got over it.) Study something that you love, not something that will make money. No point in having a high-paying job if you are miserable.
19. Don't become super attached to your past:
Don’t miss out on experiences because you’re afraid to miss time talking to relationships from home. If they truly love you, they’ll want you to have a good time. You can FaceTime later.
20. Your roommate might not be your BFF:
That idea of your roommate becoming your bestest friend ever doesn't always work out. Don't get your hopes up.
21. Don't hole yourself up and forget to make friends:
At college, friends become your family that you spend most of your time with. The first weekend, don’t sit alone in your dorm room, because if it’s anything like my school, people will establish groups immediately and it will be very hard to make new friends. If you’re a little socially anxious, you have to try to put yourself out there. A good friend group can really change your college experience.
22. But also don't forget to be independent sometimes, too:
Stop worrying about doing stuff alone, for SO many reasons. 1. You’ll get to know yourself, which is the ENTIRE point of going away for college. 2. Literally everyone eats/goes to class/studies/everything alone eventually, just get used to it. 3. Not a single person cares if you’re doing stuff alone. Everyone is busy and everyone is on different schedules from their friends.
23. Work on time management:
If you haven’t been great at time management and organization in high school, don’t expect it’s going to magically "come together" in college/university. You need to actively work on those skills and learn what systems work for you. You won’t have parents or teachers reminding you about homework and assignments — you have to be able to develop and stick to your own schedule to get assignments, reading, and studying done on your own time, and still find time for fun!
I was a mess the first time I went to college (right out of high school). In high school, I didn’t have to do much to get good grades, so I never developed good study habits or time-management skills. I found it tough to keep up in college, and my grades and job prospects suffered because of it. I went back to college to change careers later in life, after having learned those skills through working (a lot of hard lessons learned!), and it was way easier!
24. Go. TO. CLASS:
Go to every class you possibly can — material you could cover in class in 1–2 hours will take you many more hours to read and understand by yourself. Resist the urge to skip. It makes life so much easier later on when all your notes are done and all you have to do is review rather than learn.
25. If you're the type of person to wait until the last minute, try not to:
Go to the library and do homework between classes, instead of going back to your dorm to chill. Once I figured out this hack I got so much more work done during the week, meaning less Sunday night panicking.
26. Know yourself and have your weekly schedule reflect that:
I found that I HATED having class 5 days a week. So I ended up taking Tuesday/Thursday classes, which was perfect for me. I usually did 3 classes throughout the day on Tuesday and Thursday and also took 2 evening classes, one that met on Tuesday and one that met on Thursday. I also would never take a class that didn’t start before 10 a.m. I found that I was more well-rested, school didn’t seem so daunting, and I was also able to work more and have more fun.
27. Also know if you can or can't wake up early AF:
If you hate getting up in the morning, avoid 8 a.m. classes. You’ll still be getting up around 7. And if you have to take them, I would roll out of bed, put some acceptable, comfortable clothing on and get to class, then come back and go back to bed. The important thing is not to skip classes because you’re tired. It adds up quick and affects your grades.
28. Don't rush if you don't have to:
You don’t have to finish in 4 years! if you need more time because you’re overwhelmed or need a break, don’t rush yourself. Also, go in eager to meet people. When I started college, I was dating my high school boyfriend and didn’t try and make any friends. Definitely my biggest regret, because when we broke up I was all alone.
29. Cramming might not work as easily as it did in the past:
Before I went to college, I had the habit of cramming for a test the night before, and it normally worked. But when you get to college BOY DOES THAT CHANGE! Always try to start studying at least two days before the test, just so you have more time for the information to absorb into your brain (it also allows for more breaks!). Reading your notes out loud or rewriting them helps a bunch, as well as finding your best place to study.
31. If you're not good at a required subject, get it out of the way early:
Take your math in the first semester if you're only planning on taking the GE requirements, b/c you're going to forget basically everything about precalc and it only gets harder the longer you put it off. And don't order add codes for online programs to be shipped. Just go directly to the site the program is hosted on and buy it from there, or do the free trial in case you might drop that class in the first week (don't waste hundreds on add codes).
32. Make time to study:
I wish I knew how to schedule time for studying, and how much I would need to study in order to be successful.
33. Learn how to study the best way for you:
Make sure you learn how to study in the way that works for you. If you're like me and never learned, college is a rude awakening. Also, make sure you know what your degree requirements are. There's always a counselor who will talk to you about what you need and your options. Take advantage of all the great things on campus, like the library, gym, pools, study spots, etc. They're there to use and you can read textbooks on the treadmill, so it's a win-win.
34. COLLABORATE with your classmates:
Collaborate on notes and study guides with classmates in a shared Google doc! I started doing this junior year and wish I had known about it earlier. It’s an efficient method for sharing information, plus if you don’t know something, it’s likely that someone else will and can add it to the doc.
35. For some people, a physical agenda/planner will help keep you in check:
A physical agenda/daily planner was a lifesaver for me. It’s one thing to have it all in your phone, but the act of physically writing your assignments, meetings, appointments, and plans is not only an incredibly satisfying feeling but also helps to cement important dates and assignments in your mind.
36. Make sure you have all the right tools:
Buy that teenie tiny stapler that's always in the dollar bins...it was always a lifesaver when I was handing in assignments.
37. Internships are SO important:
Get an internship or volunteer *before* you finish school. When I graduated, all employers were asking me why I had no experience.
38. Noise-canceling headphones are a godsend if you can fit them into your budget:
Invest in a quality pair of noise-canceling headphones. If you're like me and get distracted easily and/or bothered by sounds on the edge of your awareness, these are a lifesaver. I also had a neighbor who relentlessly played house music at top volume. The RAs were too afraid to seem uncool by telling him to cut it out, so I was the only one that ever did — not that he listened. The headphones kept me from losing my mind.
39. It's OK to question your professors, within reason:
It’s totally fine to ask why you got the grade you got on an assignment. I used to go to my professor’s office hours after getting every paper back and he would elaborate on the notes he left for me and gave me tips for further improvement. A couple of times he even threw extra points my way after realizing he graded my paper before a bulk of the class and saw everyone got tripped up on the same points.
40. And "Rate My Professors" is a godsend:
I wish I would have known about ratemyprofessors.com going into college. Unfortunately, there are professors at each college that care mostly for their research and are teaching classes to fulfill their contracts. Therefore, you’ll sometimes get a professor who either won’t teach the material very effectively or who simply doesn’t care if you pass or fail. Ratemyprofessors.com helps you dig through the professors who are worth taking from and who aren’t. Once I found Rate My Professors, my college experience was much more pleasant!
41. Only drop a class if you HAVE to:
Also, if you feel like dropping a class because you have a low grade, don't. Just work really hard and you should be able to pass. For one of my classes, I had a low D mid-semester. I busted my ass till the end of the semester and finished with a B. I could of dropped out and retook it next time but that would of meant another semester there for me. To be fair, it was a really high C but the professor saw how much I had really tried and improved so he gave me the B.
42. Record lectures if you can, and get a wall calendar:
Recording your professors' lectures is pretty helpful. You won't have to stress about writing down everything they say and everything in the PowerPoint.
Also, get a big wall calendar and write down all of the due dates for projects, homework, and tests, and when the professor has review days. It's really helpful to see everything you have to do later out in front of you and helps with time management.
43. Take advantage of ALL the resources at school:
USE CAMPUS RESOURCES. Student health services, counseling, tutoring...these are things that your tuition is paying for already. There is no reason to struggle and not avail yourself of every resource your campus offers.
44. Don't forget to at least try out some extracurriculars:
One more tip: Join a club. Debate team, chess club, dance team, Model UN, Spanish club, Rotaract, intramural volleyball, UFO-spotting club, grilled-cheese-making society...whichever one floats your boat. Even if you're super shy. Especially if you're super shy. Way easier to make friends via a club than via parties.
45. Universities do care to some extent:
There's this idea that in university no one cares about you and you're just a number and whatnot, but guess what? That's a lie! It's just human nature to want people to like you so all those new people you meet really want to be your friend too! And the university itself cares about you — yeah it's because they need to keep their ratings up — but they still want to help you and guide you! Don't let your high school teachers scare you.
46. Confidence is key:
Build more confidence!! I usually am a shy person. I still am but I don't let it overpower my capabilities. Public speaking, talking to strangers and professors will happen more often and you should always have the courage to do so, even if you're shaking inside.
You should be approachable, and try befriending others more. It doesn't mean you have to be close to everyone, or force yourself to like people you don't like, but it helps you expand your connections, and they might be able to help you someday, too.
Also, practice your skills and learn more about your field/major. I major in art and I had a hard time at first because I was not yet great at using other mediums. I wished I had explored it before because if I did I would've done better at my final output. Plus, you might even discover your own art style on the way!
47. Stock up on some containers so you can sneak food out of the caf:
Food hack: Take containers to the cafeteria so that you can have leftovers for tomorrow. Walking to the caf all the time is kinda tiring, plus being broke will be your thing in college lol.
48. Instagram is a liar, pretty much always:
Everybody’s first year is probably as hard as yours is!!!!! Do NOT let the Instagrams and the Facebook posts fool you, so many people struggle their first years of college. Whether it be in classes, with friends, or with their mental health, nobody is completely happy freshman year! Best thing you can do is find happiness within yourself, and not to rely on other people. Find things that make YOU happy! Going to the gym, cooking different meals, taking long walks. Also, remember that you’re not alone!
49. Personal responsibility is very important:
I think every kid should know that high school prepares you for the wrong parts of college. Studying and getting good grades isn’t the hard part...the hard part is the complete change in personal responsibility. High school does a horrible job of preparing you for that. College isn’t even hard as long as you’re well organized and prepared on your own accord.
50. If you don't know how to do your own laundry, here are a few tips:
These are all laundry related:
1. If you use a cloth laundry bag, always wash it with your clothes so it doesn’t stink.
2. Use one of those zippered mesh laundry bags for socks so they don’t disappear. Walmart, Ikea, Target, and Amazon all sell them for cheap.
3. Put a clean, dry towel in the dryer with your wet clothes to help them dry faster.
51. And finally, SLEEP is SO important:
Try to get enough sleep every night! Especially if you end up having to take 8 a.m. classes, but even if you don't. Getting a good night's sleep is so important.
Have the time of your life!
Some replies have been edited for length and/or clarity.
For Javier ❤️