I have been in college for almost a full year now, and in that time I have become aware of several important facts, facts that I think could greatly help almost any college student.
1. Stay True to Your Roots
Call your mom, call your dad, Skype your brother, text your friends. If your grandparents are still alive, give them a call too. Your family misses you a lot more than you realize, and they love you more than you will probably ever know. Give them a call and just let them know you are alive. Tell them how you are doing and make sure you know what’s going on with them. Just because you are away at school doesn’t mean you aren’t still part of the family. Stay connected. This also applies to your friends from home. Your high school friends are the people that knew you first and will know you last. If your friends are anything like mine, then you have been through every high and low together. Your high school friends are the ones that have known you forever and know everything about who you are now and who you used to be…and they like you anyway! Don’t forget about them. Your high school friends are your second family. They are important, so don’t lose touch.
2. Put Down Your Phone
Life comes at you fast, and living life behind a screen will only make it go by faster. These four years are going to go by quicker than you think, and you don’t want to spend that time living through a screen. Put down your phone and experience your life. Experience and appreciate each event that happens be it good or bad, these are our college years, the years we will look back on forever, don’t hide behind a screen and miss it. Also being on your phone when someone is talking to you is rude…don’t insult people…set the phone down and pay attention.
3. Adventure Is Out There – You Just Have to Find It
I don’t believe in the words “I’m bored.” So long as there is a breath left in your body, you can find something to do. Just because you are out of alcohol or there are no parties this weekend doesn’t mean that there is nothing to do. Get creative: go on a hike, go to a movie, bake, write a story with your friends, make a dumb home movie, watch TV, go into town, draw on each other, play cards, play music, read, lie around and just talk…there is always something to do! And there is always someone to do it with. That is the wonderful thing about college: tons of people your age are living just a few steps away from you. Just knock on the door and ask. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and be unique. There is a ton of fun to be had – you just have to find it.
4. It Is Okay to Take Some Time to Be Alone
You don’t always need to be with people, or doing something. Odds are, you probably won’t be missing out on anything. Everyone needs to take “me time”: time for themselves to just step away and relax, read a book or maybe paint. Even if you are just lying in bed watching a movie, or walking around campus, a little alone time is always healthy, so don’t feel bad to take some time for yourself. In fact, you should. It will help you to relax, and maybe even gain a new perspective.
5. The Gym Is Your Friend
I know going to the gym is a pain. It is time consuming and like most college kids you are probably exhausted and just want to nap…but you can’t ignore the gym. Going to the gym not only keeps you fit and healthy. It’s not just a way for you to order that disgusting 3 AM take out on the weekends and still fit into that dress you bought for the Valentine’s Day dance. Going to the gym is also proven to make you happier. Exercise releases endorphins and endorphins make you happy and, as we all know from Elle Woods in the movie Legally Blonde, “happy people just don’t kill their husbands.” But seriously, if you are feeling down or stressed, take an hour or two out of the day, and head to the gym. Trust me, it can do wonders for your attitude.
6. Stay True to Who You Are
In college you meet tons of different people: jocks, hipsters, nerds, environmentalist, theater enthusiasts, researchers, mathematicians, scientists, writers, musicians… the possibilities are endless. There are so many unique and distinct personalities that it is impossible to list each of them, especially since no person ever truly fits into any one stereotype. The fact is that you are unique and distinct as well, and there is no reason that you should change that. Just because all your friends like theater and you like sports that doesn’t mean you have to go audition for the play. If your friends are into music, don’t feel obligated to join an acapella group over the financial marketing club or community service organization. Diversity is good. It is what helps us all grow into mature, well-rounded adults, but that in no way means that you should give up what you love just so that you can fit in with your friends. Stay true to who you are and allow your likes and dislikes to expand, but never feel obligated to let go of something you like about yourself just to please someone else or fit into a certain group.