Advice From A College Grad

Author: Sylvia Leong

Hello friends! This week’s blog post is a little more direct and personal. It’s mainly for the students who are either starting college or are in their last year of high school. This could even be useful for the college students feeling the sophomore slump. 

College is a huge (I mean..hugeeeeee) milestone and a new chapter of your life. You are getting this taste of freedom, and it’s a vital time to discover yourself. You are also exploring life in this period of time. Whether you’re going to school 1 hour away to being across the country/world, everyone is essentially going through the same emotions and situations. 

Here’s my advice:

*These are my opinions only. Everyone’s situation and perception are different! Just trying to be helpful and provide things I wish I was told before.

Don’t spend all your graduation money at once on what you think you need for college. 

Yes, it’s going to be so hard because you’re going to want to buy everything you see at Target or on Amazon. I remember being so excited to leave home and get to my university to decorate my new dorm. Instead, buy a few things you know you’re going to need, and save the rest of your money. The broke college student thing is REAL. In addition, do your research on what you need! Keep in mind that there will be things that you can purchase once you are in your new college town. 

Don’t forget to give home a call.

You can get caught up in the excitement of your first year and turn into a busy bee. However, always remember to give your parents, family and friends a call. It’s to give them peace of mind. Trust me, they will worry about your wellbeing even if they don’t show it. Never forget where you came from because it’s a part of who you are! It’s a part of your story and a part of your identity when you go to college. However, don’t forget that college can be a way to start fresh too. When you get to college, you start over. No one knows who you are or what you were in high school. It’s pretty refreshing!

Not everyone is your friend but make friends.

The people you meet along the way are connections. They are people that could easily become your support system or study buddies. You don’t have to be super close to everyone because not everyone is going to treat you the way you want to be treated. It’s just life. Keep the ones you trust close. It is also super helpful to have people to get through the semester with. They can attend study sessions with you or go to the dining hall with you! Also, don’t just rely on your roommates as your circle of friends. 

Quizlet is your best friend.

If you haven’t already discovered this, you need to. This website is such a useful tool to help you study as well as help you discover people who have already gone through the same course. Essentially, you create online flashcards. You can study by playing games or just typing answers. It’s a great portable way to study. You can also find so many answers to your questions. You can also share your study material with your friends and classmates. It’s definitely something I found important during my college experience.

Take advantage of the things you pay for.

Eating at the dining hall is not lame. Use all your printing money. Take school transportation. Nothing is too cool for you. If you think so, you’re too cool for school, and you should learn to drop the pride. Most likely, you are already paying for everything in your tuition so you might as well take advantage of it all. The best laughs and gatherings were at the dining hall. Also, go to school events! They’re pretty fun and a great opportunity for free food and t-shirts. I gained over 30 free t-shirts during my college career. You probably will get more depending on what extracurriculars you join and what events you attend.

Do not take the 8 a.m. classes unless you have no choice.

Unless you are an early bird and a wonderful, cheery morning person, those classes are not for you. It will be hard to get out of bed, especially in the winter. I don’t have anything else to say about this. Those early classes aren’t absolutely terrible, but if you can avoid, do avoid. 

Wait until syllabus day to get your textbooks or at least make sure you can return for a refund.

I’m not saying this is everyone’s case, but it might be better to just wait until you know for sure whether you need your textbook. Often, this means waiting until the first day of classes. Teachers and professors will put down the textbook, but they might not even require it or will have alternative access to it. The bookstore is available on campus but always check online to see if you can save money. Chegg is a great resource for textbooks! Also, at the end of the year, you can sell your textbooks to other students on Facebook groups, or sell it back to the bookstore. Of course, you rarely will get back what you paid for because it’s now considered “used.” This is a personal tip, and use this tip at your own discretion. My tip is if you can gauge whether the quizzes or tests are online, consider getting an online textbook if you are able to study that way. Ctrl + F is your best friend (if you can use your textbook).

Take the time to get to know your teachers and professors.

You never know how they can help you or what extra knowledge they can provide you outside of the lecture. They can also provide you opportunities in college. Especially get to know your major’s teachers and professors. They are the ones you will know the best, and they want the best for you. Attend the study sessions and any extra opportunities they give you. Do not skip out. Yes, college is super fun, but don’t forget why you are there. 

Don’t compare your timeline, success and journey with anyone else.

You are all on your own path. College is too expensive and such a great experience to be worrying about someone graduating before you. Do things your own way. You are only responsible for your journey. Remember that people only highlight their success on social media like Instagram and Facebook. They rarely show the lows. You will get nowhere comparing yourself to the highlights of someone’s life. You do you. Make the most of your college experience. This is my final piece of advice.

There’s so much more I could write and advise on, but this would get too boring and too long. Just don’t forget to have fun and be careful! This isn’t the true real world yet, but it’s a glimpse of it. The world is scary, but don’t let it scare you. Confusing words, I know! Do as much as you can without overloading yourself because those years will fly by. Lastly, congratulations on getting accepted into college!! You will do amazing.