As a first-generation college student, I didn't have anyone to show me the way when it came to financial advice or to offer tips for surviving the college years. Here are some things I'd like to pass down to those about to embark on a pivotal, life-changing experience. After all, college is what you make of it.
Come to find out, I would have qualified for a lot of scholarships, had I known they existed.
Without student loans, I couldn't have attended college. However, I'll be paying them back for 40 years. Ouch.
Unless you can afford to enjoy your time even longer, plan ahead so you can finish in four years.
Take the opportunity to soak up a new culture while you're young and adaptable.
They say 80 percent of success is just showing up.
Learning another language will prove valuable.
Even if your major doesn't require it, writing is a skill everyone needs at one time or another.
From interviews to future career situations, communicating to a group will be necessary.
Admittedly, I'd be even more useful in my current career had I actually listened during my communications classes.
It's a resource that helped me to successfully compile all my college papers.
From class schedules to work schedules, to find time to study and socialize, you have to manage your time wisely.
Of course you want to do what you love, but also consider this: Are you good at it? Is making a lot of money important to you? Will your major require grad school? How can your career choice help you to contribute to the world?
Advisers can help you map your courses so you can be efficient and also explore courses out of your comfort zone.
Getting to know your professors will help you get better grades and also network after college.
There is a student group for every passion or interest. Take advantage and make like-minded friends.
You've got spirit!
And never stay alone at a party. Safety first.
Lock your car doors. House doors. Bedroom doors. Windows. I was robbed on a few occasions. Hey, we didn't have to lock doors in rural northern Michigan.
And be considerate of shared spaces.
Or you probably won't remain friends for long.
All relationships take work.
Your grades will follow you for a lifetime. That cute boy probably won't.
I was lucky enough to meet my husband freshman year, so this didn't apply to me. But respect yourself.
(That's all I'll say about that.)
Stop drinking so much.
Drunkenness is not a race.
Now that you're consuming all those boozy calories, eat healthier and exercise.
You'll need the caffeine. And everyone you meet here on out for the rest of your life will want to meet for coffee.
From professors to classmates and alumni, network now so you have good connections after graduation. Set up a LinkedIn profile, too.
Every school offers job-fair opportunities, and it's your chance to see what's out there.
A first impression makes all the difference.
If you can't find one on your own, your school probably offers a service to help you find one. Internships help you decide if you even want to work in certain industries and help build your resume.
That way you can explore your future options.
They love and miss you.
Revel in your college experience, but celebrate the special occasions with your family.
Dorm life is half the fun.
In college, you're always surrounded by people. Find quiet time to refresh.
If the pressures of college are getting to you, your peers can relate.
No one cares about who you were in high school.
Everything you once thought you knew will go out the window (that you forgot to lock). Embrace it.
HR people at the internships you're applying to are watching.
Take charge of group projects. Organize a student club. Run the college paper. Let your voice be heard.
You didn't pay tens of thousands of dollars for a piece of paper. You were trained to live a life of significance.
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