10 Words of Advice to Get You Through College
Mar, 15 2021
Venturing off to college is often an exciting time in any student's life. Whether you’re a first-generation or life-long learner re-entering the workforce, new learning environments and changes brought on by the pandemic can make college life and pursuing an education seem daunting. To help you make the most of your experience, we asked two students to share ten pieces of advice that helped them throughout their college careers and beyond.
- “Get involved.”
Annelise: Entering a new community can feel isolating. Although it's important to focus on your college academics, it's also essential to find a sense of belonging and grow a support system. When I went away to college, I was really nervous about leaving behind my friends and family in my hometown. I ended up getting involved in clubs and student life and met many great people who became some of my best friends.
- "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."
Denise: This quote from Albert Einstein was given to me by my academic advisor during my freshman year of college. My academic advisor called me in because I was a nursing major failing all of my science classes. I was trying my hardest, and I had never failed a class before, so I started to think college was not for me because I am not as bright as everyone else. She shared this quote as a reminder that everyone has a different purpose. This helped me discover what I do best, where my talents lie and normalized switching majors for me.
- “Be yourself.”
Annelise: In my hometown, I felt a lot of pressure to fit in with the status quo. Going off to college allowed me to explore my interests and learn a lot about myself! The best thing about college, in addition to the amazing learning opportunities, is the personal growth. A great way to set yourself up for success is to be true to yourself and use your voice to stand up for what you believe in.
- “Take advantage of the resources on campus.”
Denise: Use the different services, tools, and resources your college offers. Counseling, tutoring, or career services can enhance your college experience, and they are free!
- “Don't bite off more than you can chew.”
Annelise: Leaving home and going to college – especially out of state or far away – can be a culture shock. I was extremely active in high school and expected to maintain the same schedule in college. By taking 8 a.m. classes and juggling 22 credits in one semester, I learned the hard way that college is an entirely different ballgame. You are in charge of your schedule. It's okay to mold it around what you want to do! For me, that turned into not having classes before 10 a.m. and leaving my Fridays empty.
- “Make friends.”
Denise: When I first started college, I didn't know anyone, which made my college experience boring. Join a club or a society, it’s a great way to meet new people. Even though your college years can be some of the best, they can also be incredibly stressful and challenging. Having a friend who understands makes it easier.
- “Ask for help.”
Annelise: For many people, college can be the first time experiencing a true sense of independence. For me, this was super overwhelming! In college, I faced challenges like homesickness, figuring out how to budget, juggling a social life with academics, and taking care of myself. What a lot of people don't tell you is that this is extremely common. Most colleges have wellness programs and resources available to students to help you navigate uncharted territory. Make sure to reach out for help and find support when you need it.
- “School is important, but so are you. Never forget that.”
Denise: Your mental and physical health is number one. College can get overwhelming, especially when you have other things going on. Be kind to yourself and take time to take care of yourself. Sometimes it's best to put down your homework, take a nap, grab a bite, or facetime a friend.
- “Explore your options.”
Annelise: I went into college undeclared and was terrified to choose the wrong major. With guidance from my academic advisor, I spent my first-semester exploring different subjects and completing my general electives to find a major that interested me. Although there is pressure to fall into the right career path immediately, don't be afraid to take some time to find the best fit for you!
- “Don't let social media influence your emotional and social health.”
Denise: Social media can change how you think, feel, act, and determine how you make choices but, always be your authentic self and don't engage in activities that don't make you happy just because you feel like you're supposed to based on what you see on social media.