Advice from a College Graduate
Welcome to our Guest Editor, Addie-Eileen Paige who grew up in Cape Cod, Massachusetts and attended Bryant University to study math and statistics. Addie-Eileen shared with College Scoops several reflections from her time as a college student at Bryant University.
Several videos and blog posts exist that focus on dorm decorating tips, what to bring or not to bring to college, best activities to get involved in, study tips . . . you get the idea. All of those articles provide helpful tips to incoming freshmen but as I reflected back on my college days, there were specific thoughts I had which in hindsight, I wish someone had passed on to me for Day 1.
1. Maintain a good relationship with your parents
The excitement of moving out of your home town, getting out from under mom and dad’s wing, and having that breath of independence can be all-consuming and liberating. Yes, college can be a great time to learn how to live on your own, gain independence, and learn more about yourself. However, don’t forget to keep a close relationship with your parents. They may not always perfectly express it, but they have your best interests at heart. Not just in college, but throughout your life, they will serve as your biggest cheerleaders, so call them and update them about your week.
2. Surround yourself with good friends
Have you ever heard the saying, “You become like your friends”? This saying really holds true. In college, you will come face-to-face with peer pressure. Not many people will tell you, but peer pressure can actually help you if you hang around the right kind of people. Find friends who support your ambitions, offer their shoulder for you to cry on when you go through rough times, who encourage you to never give up and to follow through on you what you set out to do.
3. Keep a journal
This one may come as a shock, but keeping a journal can really help in college. Create time in your schedule for some alone time, find a quiet spot either outside, or in an area of campus not many people go, and put your thoughts to paper. Write about your triumphs, the tough times with your friends, and even mundane things like tests and papers. Writing really helps with mental health. We live in a digital age where we post all about our lives on Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, wherever, but we keep personal things to ourselves. There’s just something so special about handwriting your thoughts in a safe place for you to reflect upon. In several years, you might look back through your journal and think, “That’s where I was in life, and now look how far I’ve come.”
4. Find hobbies outside of school and work
If you put all of your time and energy into studying or work, you will burn yourself out. When going to college, don’t drop your hobbies, better yet, pick up new ones. Learn how to knit, start exercising more, play sports, read books that aren’t for school. It will hone your creativity as well as give you things to look forward to when you get out of class.
5. Read for pleasure
Even in the midst of studying and reading for your classes, try to carve out some personal time to read books you enjoy for pleasure. Reading expands your mind, keeps your creativity sharp, and actually can help you learn, especially if you read fiction. By reading fiction, the language parts of your brain get stimulated the most which helps you remember details better than just a straight lecture or bullet point facts.
6. Stick to your morals
I saved the best bit of advice for last. In college, you will encounter classmates, roommates, and peers who may have a very strong opinion not in line with yours or in fact, the polar opposite of your beliefs. Fellow peers may encourage you to “loosen up” but NEVER compromise your standards for anyone! If you have faith, stick to your faith by attending church services and praying. Remember what you stand for. Too many times I have seen friends change into completely different people just so they could fit in with the popular crowd. A professor of mine wrote the following quote on the board during one class and it has stuck with me ever since.
“Fitting in and belonging are not the same thing.”
Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW
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