Advice Your Momma Forgot to Give You About Surviving College

My freshmen year of college is drawing to a close, and as I look back I see a lot of things that I would do differently. There are quite a few things I wish someone had told me about college life. So I decided that I would pass some of this information on:

“Get a life and get a B.”

This is for my perfectionist readers out there. This is a piece of advice that one of my professors gave early on first semester. It’s so easy to get caught up in grades and performance and lose sight of the fact that college is just a fraction of your life. And it’s not even a big fraction. College isn’t just about learning stuff in a classroom or getting a piece of paper at the end of four years. It’s about staying out all night just because you can. It’s about learning how to be on your own. It’s about building relationships and taking advantage of new opportunities. While grades are an important aspect of college life, they aren’t the most important, so don’t stress when you get a B. Or a C. Or a D for that matter…D’s are still passing!

Make friends who you like to talk and listen to, not just party with.

At the end of the day, sometimes you just need someone to talk to or laugh with or cry with or sit on the couch and eat junk and watch sitcoms with. Seek out people who you wouldn’t have hung out with in high school. I have one friend who was prom queen, another who was homeschooled, and another who was a cheerleader in high school. I was none of those things in high school. I was the freaky kid that sat in a corner at school writing poetry and listening to indie music. But the relationships I have with these friends now are amazing! In short, build relationships with lots of types of people.

Realize that at some point you are going to need help and you are going to have to ask for it.

I am a really stubborn and independent person. I hate needing help and I hate asking for it. This was not too much of a problem for me until I took college algebra. Math and I have never exactly gotten along, but college algebra took it to a whole new level. I got a 25% on the first quiz I took in that class. Almost everyone else got perfect scores. As much as I hated it, I went to talk to my professor. She sent me to the math lab for help. I went there regularly throughout the semester, and I ended up doing really well in that class because of it. Even though it was humiliating, I’m really glad that I asked for help.

Show up to class more often than not.

This doesn’t require much explanation. In fact, you’ve probably heard something like it quite a few times before. The only thing I would like to expound is that while there are some classes where you need to be there every chance you get in order to do well, there are others that are definitely not worth showing up for. You’re in college. You’ve got a brain. You can figure out which classes are important and which are meaningless trash.

Don’t hide who you are from others.

Sometimes it’s easier to hide who we are because we either don’t like ourselves that much or we’re worried about making people uncomfortable. This is wrong. You are who you are. As much as I hate to use the cliché, in this case it fits: “Just be yourself.” In college it’s cool to be smart. It’s cool to be different. It’s cool to like random things that no one else does (like 19th century literature). Don’t worry about people’s opinions. Do what you love. Love who you are. Don’t change just because you want people to like you. It’s not worth it.