17 Pieces Of Advice For High Schoolers Trying To Making Decisions About College Next Year
"In four or five years, you'll feel damned proud of yourself."
BuzzFeed Brazil asked readers on Facebook about what advice they would give to students who are making decisions about college this year. Here are their best answers:
Responses have been edited for length and clarity.
1. "Most mistakes teach us something."
"Don't put pressure on yourself with the weight of this decision. If you think it'll be good, go ahead. If you would rather wait, then wait. My grandfather used to say that our twenties are there for us to make mistakes. Most mistakes teach us something. I myself don't know if I got it right by going to college when I did, but I know that any path I chose would have brought me useful experiences." — Nando Araujo
2. "Existential crises and self-doubt are absolutely natural in the beginning of adulthood."
"I went through every kind of existential crisis during my freshman year, but I don't regret going to college right after high school. First, because I received a scholarship, and that obviously was an opportunity few people had. Second, because existential crises and self-doubt are absolutely natural in the beginning of adulthood. Whether you're in college or not, they'll be there.
The only difference is that in four or five years, you'll feel damned proud of yourself. You'll see the difference in several aspects of your family life and you'll gain access to spaces that are institutionally denied to poor, black people like us. Going to college isn't going against knowledge. It's the opposite of that, so it's not a waste of time. You can gain knowledge in academic life, and a lot of it. — Gessica Borges
3. "Nobody is required to know what they want to do for the rest of their lives at 17."
"If you don't like the course you chose, it's okay to transfer. Nobody is required to know what they want to do for the rest of their lives at 17 (or even at 20, 30, 40...). And don't get too nervous — academic life is not as bad as they say." — Karol Rodrigues
4. "Do some research and get as much information as you can."
"Pursue what you liked to do in high school, but know that things can be different in higher education. For example, I loved chemistry when I was in high school. When I got to college, I saw it was very different from what I was used to. So do some research and get as much information as you can about the direction you want to go." — Camila Benevides Aires
5. "If you don't get it right ... you can change it."
"Educate yourself about course, and even college, transfer policies. If you don't get it right choosing your course the first time, you can change it. If you're well informed about this, you can use it to your advantage." — Diogo Zacarias
6. "The SAT is not the only way to get into a public college."
"Know that the SAT is not the only way to get into a public college. I started studying journalism in a private college with a scholarship. A year and a half later, the institution reduced my scholarship, and my parents couldn't afford it anymore. I was lucky that at the time public universities were opened for transfers. So I chose one and went for it. The exam was a dissertation specifically about journalism, so I studied a lot, read ten books on the subject in a month, and it all worked out. I didn't get all the transfer credits from subjects I had already taken, but I see that as another route to gaining experience and knowledge." — Aline Ramos
7. "Look for someone attending, or who attended, the college you want."
"Look for someone attending, or who attended, the college you want and who works in the field. Ask for details about what that person actually does on a day to day basis. Ask them to take you to a class from the course, and read a paper someone wrote for the subject. If possible, do this with more than one person." —
Andre Galletti Oliveira
8. "It's not easy, but it's really worth it."
"It's possible to stud and still enjoy the ride in these first years of transition between teenage life and adulthood. I got into college at 17 with a scholarship. I worked in the mornings and traveled 60 miles every day to get to college. It was painfully difficult, but it was worth every second. It's not easy, but it's really worth it." — Jéssica Balbino
9. "Try to create a support network."
"Do some research on universities and choose the ones which interest you the most. If possible, visit the place beforehand and try to create a support network by talking to people from the major you want to pursue. Facebook groups are great for that. I survived college thanks to being able to adapt to the place and to the people who helped me." — Fernanda Caldas
10. "You don't need a diploma to be good at what you do."
"If you don't know what you want to do, or which path to take, don't be scared. That's okay, just give it time. Take a technical course in the area you like, if that's what you really want. If you see that you need a higher education course, take one. You don't need a diploma to be good at what you do." — Kaio César Mergulhão
11. "Education is a privilege — so don't waste your opportunities."
"In Brazil, education is a privilege, so don't waste your opportunities. To many people, higher education is the only way to have a chance at a better life. Knowledge is the only thing no one can take away from you! If you have the opportunity, go for it. Remember the millions of people who want that same opportunity and don't have it." — Cisco
12. "Research the course curriculum."
"It's the document that describes the course, its history and its objectives. The curriculum lists the classes you'll take, the professors, and the kind of degree you'll receive when you graduate. If you can't find it in the school's official website, send an email to the academic office and ask for it." — Michele Santos
13. "Find a way to contribute to society."
"In addition to studying, find a way to contribute to society. It can be sharing what you've learned in a blog, or helping other people who also want to get into college. If you have the time, you can also do volunteer work." — Taís Oliveira
14. "Visit college campuses."
"What helped me was visiting college campuses (during school field trips). On those visits, people from various majors would talk about their studies and stuff. That's what helped me decide." — Carolina Lucchetti
15. "Get to know yourself better."
"Before heading straight to college, take a gap year to get to know yourself better, if you can. It won't be a waste of time. It'll help you a great deal when you're deciding which major to pursue." — Ediana Parnow
16. "Making your passion your job isn't always a good thing."
"Don't think that just because you love doing something, you'll do well in it professionally. Making your passion your job isn't always a good thing. And always make an effort. Things won't always be easy, but they won't always be difficult too." — Daiane de Fátima Reginato
17. "Each of us gets to write our own story."
"This period in life is just awful. On one hand, you're not sure about what you want. On the other hand, you're afraid of falling behind on writing your success story. Just know that we are who we are. I went through three colleges to get to where I wanted ... If you don't have the slightest idea about the future, take an introductory course. But if you have some notion or at least an area of interest, try it out and take a chance. I've always liked the humanities. I studied journalism and social sciences, but I only found myself in law school. Each of us gets to write our own story.” — Fellipe Nigro Cara
This post was translated from Portuguese.