So it’s almost the end of June and that means two more months till all recently graduated high school seniors head off to their first year of the “best four years of their life”. This topic is something I wish I could’ve told myself prior to beginning college, but as a rising college Senior, I am glad I have the knowledge now to share with those who are about to begin a new journey in their life.
For most of us, we typically live and grow up in the same hometown from the minute we were born. We have attended elementary, middle school, and high school with most of the same people and it has always felt comfortable. But now, most of you will embark on a journey in a completely new environment, perhaps even a new state like I did, surrounded by completely different people. I will admit, when I was 18, I didn’t really give this a second thought because I truly felt ready for this change in lifestyle and environment. However, there are a few things I wish I could have kept in mind as I entered this new reality and I’ll explain why.
- Envision who and where you want to be at the end of those 4 years. They all say it, college goes by really fucking fast and many fall into the trap of getting stuck in the college mindset, especially during the first two years. If you don’t know who you want to be, and no, I’m not talking about whether you want to be a doctor or a writer. I mean, give me three simple traits you hope to be described as. College will change you, you will experience a lot of new things that will shape you into the young adult that walks across the stage during commencement. But, if you remember the type of person you envision yourself to be, you will make much wiser choices in college and think twice if you care about your own outcome.
- Don’t be afraid to make a drastic change if you believe that’s the best for you. When I say this, I really mean it applies to anything. But for some in particular, it could mean transferring to a different university that you see would be more suitable for you. I myself transferred to a different school at the end of my sophomore year and I will also even admit, I almost took back my decision during the summer before my fall semester because I was scared of the big change! However, it’s been almost one year since then and I can happily say it was the best decision I could’ve made in college. At my new university, I have met people that I feel are much more aligned with similar goals in college (and life) and even better, I love the material I am learning in my major/minor. I came into college as a Business Economics major and soon realized that it did not fit me well, although I still wanted to be studying business someway. When I transferred, I switched my major to Strategic and Corporate Communication with a minor in Entrepreneurship, both I find extremely fitting and helpful for my passions and current business. Sometimes, you simply need to make that jump for yourself and realize that if you do not like where you are, then make a change.
- Choose your friends wisely. In other words, be wise with who you surround yourself with, even if they aren’t your “friends”. One of the most important lessons I have come to understand and learn more in-depth during my college experience thus far is how important it is to surround yourself with likeminded people. I know it’s often said by our elders, but I think what most failed to help us understand is why. I really like and resonate with the quote, “You are the average of the five people you hang around most.” Those we are around with the most, we develop similar habits to them and often are brought down by those who have less ambition and drive. This is very important to understand because I have seen many individuals lose their hunger or drive after hanging around and becoming close friends with someone that didn’t have the same drive or vision in life. That’s the why. Also in general from my own experience and observing others’, most tend to have more conflict with those who are less likeminded, which to me seems quite natural and logical. Even worse, often times people lose energy from being around others that are not their “type of crowd”, so why force it? Trust me, you will gain much more energy and fulfillment with 1-2 friends who are likeminded, than a crowd of people who have different values and goals. So choose wisely, because it will affect your mindset and your outcome in the long run.
My main takeaway is this: if you go into college knowing at least somewhere down the line where you want to be, as a person and in life, use that to redirect your decisions and to maintain your focus. This doesn’t mean to not have fun, because I swear, I am all about having fun. But, at least be around people you see yourself still around after college. And also, no matter what university you attend, if you have the vision for yourself and aim towards that consistently, your final outcome will be relatively the same.
I hope this served some of you well and know that I am sharing this with hopes that I can help some of you make the best decisions during a crazy up and down time of your life.