What I wish I knew before college


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As a first-generation college student, I wasn’t sure what to expect my first day, semester or even year in college – even people who have parents who graduated college don’t either – and I was overwhelmed with nerves. But as the Spring semester comes to an end and a new school year awaits, here’s some simple advice from me, a graduating senior, about what I wish I knew before my first day of college to, hopefully, help.

Never compare yourself to your classmate, your friend, your co-worker – no one. You’re on your own journey, and no two paths are the same. Your journey may take longer and have more obstacles, but you’ll get to graduation and you’ll earn your degree. Give it time and be patient.

There’s no such thing as a stupid question. Don’t sit in class waiting for someone else to ask a question or attempt your homework without fully understanding it. Just ask the question. You’ll feel relieved afterward, and, more than likely, someone else had the same question, too.

Take that mental health day, even if you’re afraid of losing attendance points. The stress that comes along with college can be overwhelming and it adds up. Your mental health is more important than five points. Trust your body and your mind and take a short break when you need it.

Almost everyone changes their major. Literally, almost everyone. Don’t stick with a major that you know you won’t wake up every morning with happiness to go to work in that field – even if you’re already a year in. Change it. It’s OK.

An all-nighter will happen, at least once, and I’m warning you now. You’ll forget about a paper or huge exam due first thing in the morning and you’ll have to stay up all night to catch up. It happens. When working, taking six classes and everything else on your plate, some assignments may slip your mind.

College can be stressful and difficult, and we all learn in our own ways at our own paces, but the No. 1 thing I can tell you is to stick it through. Trust me when I say when graduation edges closer, it feels oh so sweet and oh so worth it.