After graduating from high school, many of us find our ways into universities and colleges across the nation, and for some of us around the world. We leave high school and home with grand ideas of what our lives will be like.
After having officially completed a full year away from home, there are a few things I’ve learned that are definitely worth remembering, whether you’re starting out or still working on your college degree for the next few years.
- Grades aren’t everything
Unless your ultimate destination is graduate school, grades aren’t necessarily the most important thing. Don’t take this as an excuse to slack off, working hard and doing well is still an important part of the college experience. The real message here is that college is the prime time to experience new things. Get involved in clubs and organizations, travel, do things you might never have the chance to do again. When you’re applying for a job straight after college, being able to say you learned a second language while studying abroad for a year says a lot more than that you managed to receive straight A’s, but have no real world experience.
- Home is where the heart is
Personally I moved 1,275 miles away from home. Some people literally grow up down the street from the institution they attend. An important lesson is to realize no matter where you move to, it can become home if you choose for it to be. Surround yourself with people who you make happy and do the same for you. Your friends become like your family, and they are there for you through thick and thin.
- What happened to my pay check?
Living on your own isn’t cheap. It is important to keep in mind that living on your own, even with support from mom and dad, isn’t easy. Living on your own can become very expensive, very quickly if you don’t budget correctly. Take advantage of sales, don’t be afraid of couponing and most importantly save. It’s important to learn how to live within your means before you leave home. The principle is simple: spend less than you earn and set a little aside for those rainy days.
- A healthy student is a happy student
It sounds so silly, but it really is true. Taking care of yourself is one of the most important things you can do. Eating healthy, exercising regularly and getting plenty of sleep are key to surviving college. A late night every now and then won’t kill you, but it is important to make sure you regularly get enough sleep; it’s been scientifically proven that students who get more regular and healthy amounts of sleep do better in school.
- Don’t forget to enjoy
Everyone has something they love to do. For me that’s surfing (nothing beats watching the sunrise while catching waves before that Monday morning 9 a.m. class). When you move off to college and you’re trying to keep up with your school work, don’t give up on what you love to do. Whether it’s painting, playing tennis, writing stories, acting or any other extracurricular activity, keep it up! It helps you relax when school seems hectic and even with all those papers and exams, ahead it’s still important to remember you’re there not only to study, but to learn how to live.
Every college student faces different challenges. Everyone has their own histories that makes them who they are. College is a time in our lives that helps us figure out who we are and what it is that we want to do with our lives. These five things seem like those simple old things mom, dad, grandma and uncle Bob always told you, but they really do hold true. College is a time of learning, take advantage of it and enjoy the time — it’s a great adventure if you do.