Once the time has come to graduate, many students think back on their experience and wish they had known some things going into college (such as picking the right major or being conscious about posting on social media). Here are some of the biggest things many seniors wish they had known!
1. Have regularly scheduled conversations with your parents
Just because you don't live with them anymore doesn't mean you should cut off contact from the people who raised you. As the years go on, you'll wish you had started asking your parents for advice from the beginning of your college life!
2. Be careful about what you post online
Your internet footprint stays forever, so it is important to watch out for what you post. It may seem fun to post pictures of partying or doing "college" things, but remember that everyone can see this, including your future employers! Years from now as you are on the hunt for a job, your potential supervisors will look at your social media to see what kind of person you are - and chances are, they won't be happy seeing pictures of you at parties while underage.
3. Practice cooking before actually having to cook
When you first start college, there is a good chance you'll have a meal plan, so it's easy to put off cooking. If you don't have to, why would you? But when you are in your own apartment, you won't have a meal plan to use as a backup. If you mess up dinner, you have to either skip it or spend money to buy takeout. So, try to learn to cook. If you mess up a few times, it's okay because you can just walk on over to the cafeteria and use the food you already paid for.
4. Surround yourself with trustworthy people
People in college aren't always as they seem. Sometimes you can fall in with the wrong crowd. You may find yourself surrounded by people who don't want the best for you and who don't care whether or not you succeed. Some groups of people may even seem like they actually want the worst for you. It is important to figure out who you can trust and cut off everyone else. It can seem scary (especially during your freshman year), but in the long run, it is well worth it.
5. Don't feel like your grades mean everything
You came to college to learn and that is exactly what you should do. Try your best, do the work, and take in as much information as possible. However, this doesn't mean that if you don't get straight A's, you aren't doing well. Don't take grades too seriously - if you fail one test, don't stress! Just study and do better next time. If you get a "C" as a final grade, it's not the end of the world. All that matters is the degree you will get at the end of your program.
6. Don't feel like your grades mean nothing
Even though grades aren't everything, they do mean something. When graduation seems so far away, or you don't even know what your major will be, or you just forget why you are in college, it can be easy to let little grades slip. Not doing homework, not studying for important tests, skipping so many classes you don't even remember what the classroom looks like - that is not what you're here for. You're not here to spend four years having nonstop fun, you're here to graduate, so never lose track of that goal.
7. Learn what your priorities are
Balance is the key to a successful college life. Many people have seen this joke: "In college, you can only pick two: sleep, social life, or good grades." While this can be relatable, it is not always true. If you can find the right balance, it is possible to have a little bit of everything. You just have to learn what is most important to you and prioritize that. One weekend, instead of going out, stay in and finish a paper due on Monday. In the long run, that weekend probably wouldn't be memorable, but a higher final grade will.
8. Pick a major you enjoy, not just because it's practical
What you decide to declare your major in is the first stepping stone to your future. You will learn from your classes on that subject, get experience, and start your career with that degree. So make sure you pick something you actually enjoy! Don't choose what your parents are trying to get you to do or whatever you heard would have a higher salary. Choose something you genuinely want to learn more about!
9. Don't let a relationship get in the way of your future
Going into college in a relationship may not be practical, but it can work out sometimes. However, if you do, make sure the relationship doesn't hold you back. If your significant other is trying to pressure you into hanging out with them instead of doing something you really want to do, or if they want you to skip a class to spend more time with them, you should rethink the relationship and make sure it is worth missing out on some college experiences.
10. Take lots of pictures and videos
These are some of the most memorable years of your life, but a lot can be forgotten. Take lots of pictures and videos to remember what these days were like! Take random and fun pictures with the people you've grown to love, and take videos of all the goofy things you do. Years from now, they'll be great things to look back on.
Overall, everyone's experiences are different, and people will always look back and think about what they would've done differently in the past. However, following these tips will help you to have a safe, fun, and fulfilling college experience!
Author bio: Kellie Dove is a senior marketing major at Saint Leo University. She says she once went skydiving, and her career interests are advertising, social media, and writing. Kellie served as a marketing intern at Saint Leo this fall. If you'd like to intern with the marketing department in the spring of 2019, please send all inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org by 1/7/19.