Just as second semester started, the social media notifications of college acceptance letters come pouring in for high school seniors. Many of you have already chosen what school you'll be attending in the fall, and congratulations to those that were accepted and have chosen their absolute dream school.
The rest of you are quietly waiting for more huge envelopes to show up on your kitchen counter, giving you more options to decide from. Don't lose hope when you see a dainty, regular sized envelope from a college, or maybe even your dream college. Acceptance or rejection does not measure your self-worth.
Once you do choose a college, I hope you take these ten pieces of advice into consideration as you prepare for what's suppose to be the best four years of your life:
1. Be open to meeting all different types of people!
You're going to find yourself in one huge sea full of different religions, political views, lifestyles, beliefs and races. They're all there for the same reasons you are. You might even meet your new BFFL.
2. Consider getting involved in extracurricular activities.
It's the quickest way to make friends. Find others who share your interests, and keep you socially active. It can also result in potential networking with alumni.
3. Find and get a job.
Scholarships, loans and your parents' money are helpful for paying for tuition, books, and your rent. If you're lucky, they could possibly even go towards buying food. But, let's be realistic here, there's nothing like spending your hard-earned money. You can pay for your own Netflix account, buy tickets to that concert you've been dying to go to and even pay for your date's dinner. Also remember that a job is a job, no matter what it is.
4. Actively participate in class.
This isn't high school anymore. Classes are definitely not free, and there isn't a social hierarchy of "nerd to popular." You are paying to be taught by your professor, so don't be afraid to ask questions or engage in your interactive classes. Even take advantage of office and tutoring hours. Do whatever it takes to make the most of your money, because there's no excuse to complain about not understanding a concept if you don't ask for help.
5. Use a professor rating service before registering!
You don't want to take a class where you can't comprehend anything your professor is teaching. Use these services to find out from previous students whether or not you have to buy your book, how easy the class is, what to expect and how well the professors are at their jobs.
6. It's okay to find yourself not in love with the major you first chose.
When you're studying at two in the morning and half asleep, your tired mind will constantly ask you what you're going to do with your major. If you don't want to do it anymore, find a new major.
7. Sign up for classes that interest you.
As stated before, you are paying for your classes, so why not take cool ones? You can take a class on bowling, creative writing, Greek mythology and even Harry Potter. I came in as just a journalism major, and after taking random classes, I'm deciding on double majoring in English and minoring in theatre. This relates to #5, where one interesting class might cause you to re-declare your major.
*Please note that Harry Potter classes will NOT teach you actual magic.*
8. Take advantage of your school's free health services.
You don't need to call your mom and ask her to take care of you just because you get sick. You're an adult, go visit your school's FREE health services. They're there to assist you in any medical need. I mean, who doesn't love free stuff?
9. Be responsible when you go to parties.
I can't express this enough. It's fine to go out and relieve yourself from hours of studying. But, be mindful of how this may affect your life. Heed whatever you post on social media; you may never know if a future employer will come across it. Be aware of your surroundings and go out with a group of friends. If you and all your friends drink (legally!), have a designated driver or use a taxi-service.
10. A four-year university is not for everyone.
Many adults will probably cringe at the sight of this line, but it's true. If you find yourself not doing well in classes, having financial problems or just being unhappy--then leave. It can be leave of absence, where you take a semester off to find yourself. It can be to transfer into a community college, vocational school or to join the military. It could also be because you need to work full-time to pay for your education. Either way, do what makes you happy; however do not leave if you're being unreasonably lazy and do not want to work hard towards educating yourself. Leave with the intention of doing what is best for you. You can always come back, no matter how old you are.