Ten Things I Wish I Knew About College

Before I Went

Sometimes I Pretend I Know Vietnamese

Hi! This is part of my “What You Wanted Me To Write” series where readers tell me what to write about. No topic is too hard! Today’s suggestion? Lessons from living at College. Read the rest of the topics here.

This article is dedicated to Shalini and all college students out there who are approaching campus without a clue where the bathroom is.


I like college a lot.

Even though it made me bawl my eyes out after a Chemistry test, come close to starving in my dorm one Friday night, and grind my teeth when my shower-mate plays her music too loudly-I still like college.

After all, it is easy to thrive at college.

You just have to be cute as Selena Gomez, talk to all the guys, and get As from your professor-

Actually, it is easier than that. Here are Teresa’s Ten Tips:

1. Talk to the Walls

Ok, maybe that is not your thing.

But talk to EVERYONE you meet. The woman serving you in the cafeteria, your professor when she passes you in the hall (awkward, I know), that guy sitting next to you in class.

Not only will you feel less lonely but you’ll pick up tidbits of information! Maybe that classmate will share the study guide with you, maybe the Professor will tell you a bit about the test material, maybe the cooking lady will just look at you weirdly…

Who cares?

Put away the phone. Talk to people. Brighten up their days and yours.

2. Set up a tent in your teacher’s office

You do not have to be my friend Sumi and do your homework in the Professor’s office every afternoon.

Unless you want to.

But you do need to establish some type of permanent settlement in the office of your Professor.

There should be a chair with your name on it.

When your Professor sees you walk in, he should put away all other work and sit back because he knows you are there to stay for a while.

Why not? Don’t you pay for his advice and knowledge?

3. You are good enough

Ok, time to get more serious.

Especially as girls (is this a problem also for guys?), we tend to think people are judging us from the moment we leave our room.

  • Is my hair falling out? -Am I sitting with the right people? -I wonder if he just saw me make that sign of the cross?

Y’all: just STOP.

In college you’ll meet the guy who wears shorts in December and the girl who sword-fights wearing a cape.

Be yourself and be confident in your beauty.

(If you are still doubting yourself, here is an article I wrote for you.)

4. Schedule your time like a maniac

So, you remember that thing called “free time” that you used to look forward to on the weekends?

I regret to tell you it’s gone the way of nap-time and the dinosaurs. Extinction. Comes as often as Hailey’s Comet.

Clubs, Homework, Volunteer, Work, Friends, Family, Prayer, and I-Gotta-Eat-Sometime…

College is simply about two things: Responsibility and Time Management. Succeed at those two and you will succeed in college.

Actually, they are the same thing: Be responsible, especially with your time.

5. Challenge yourself

“Orientation Leader? I will major in Applied Math before I ever touch that.”

And then I realized something.

It scared me, this idea of being a leader. It was stronger than me and prevented me from seeing what would happen if I was a leader.

I did it.

I became an Orientation Leader.

I grew as a person.

That club, class, person that scares you? Challenge yourself and see if you can use it to grow instead of shrink. College is the best time to do that.

(Except for Applied Math. I still can and will run from that.)

6. Actually read the Syllabus

This one is easy.

The syllabus has words on it. Those words tell you how many days lie between you and your impending Day of Testing Doom .

No one will tell you the day nor the hour but that syllabus.

Keep it and cherish it always.

7. Get a laptop with a name

When you began elementary school, you were probably in the process of growing a couple teeth.

In college, you will grow a laptop.

It will be your closest companion and accompany you all the days of the semester. It will probably see you cry and curse during finals and it will see you bite your nails as you contemplate tuition.

So give it a name. (Mine is Entropy because it is the measure of disorder in my life)

Get it a nice cover or some cutesy stickers.

Treat it nice.

Besides your laptop, you may find you need a few other items essential for surviving four years in school:

a toothbrush,

a pen,

a backpack,

a bed if you want to be extra-

A College Student Surrounded By All His Possessions

8.But don’t buy anything else

That TV? Don’t need it and won’t have time.

That quilt?You won’t be sleeping, my dear.

That 20-piece makeup kit? Are you preparing to do the facials of everyone in your hall?

College, unless you shop at World Market, is about learning to live on money you do not have.

One day you may have money. Then you can actually eat sushi and buy textbooks full-price.

But until then? Keep picking up second-hand pencils and bobby-pins off the ground. They still work, you know.

9. Conquer and Claim your study haunt

My friend likes to study in a popular cafe on campus. I, on the other hand, like to use the cafe for people-watching. Not the best place, therefore, for me to take a Practice Test in Chemistry.

My preferred place? The three-walled Prison of Shut-Out. A cubicle that keeps my distracted head in and the distractors out.

Find out where it is you enter your study zone and then guard it like a college student guards his coffee.

Carving your name on the table is recommended. Surveillance Cameras are not unknown.

10. Live your best life

Finally, my college friends, life is short and being young is awesome.

Don’t let grades, human respect, or roommates interfere with living out God’s plan for you. He has things He wants you to do for Him there so get involved, make a difference, and bring Christ to others.

That is what college is for.

Oremus Pro Invicem
Teresa
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