10 Things I Wish I Had Known Before College: Recent Graduate Edition

Beth Dumbauld

Tips for College Studentsby Brittany Hege

I've been out of school (Savannah College of Art and Design) for seven months now, but I still remember that first day. My mom saying goodbye, crying, and me crying as soon as she closed the door. But, then I realized, “Screw this, I'm own my own now! Heck yea!” Now, freshman year wasn't all smiles and laughs, but I had some darn good times. Peep my list of 10 tips for college-bound students and soon you'll be swearing in excitement too!

1. First of all, let me just say, don't mix V8 Splash and tequila or Crystal Light and vodka. Unless you want to end up slumped against a fence, saying, “I'm sorry you guyssss!” over and over again. And then have to run drunkenly and sloppily because the cops have infiltrated the backyard. And Yoo-hoo? Yea, it just curdles with liquor.

2. On the serious side, though, you might fall in love, and you won't have much of a say in the matter. His name was Kirby. A sarcastic blue-eyed boy with an affinity for Squarepusher. And me, a quiet girl who wore her Boards of Canada shirt two days in a row. It all started with, “Will you, like, be, like, my girlfriend?” And ended with, “Yes!” Five years later, and we still like each other! Imagine that.

3. This one's for the shy gals and guys. You will be expected to contribute to class discussions on the reg. This can be pretty darn hard. Especially when you're used to teachers being sympathetic to your introversion. College professors are a different story. Nodding your head in agreement isn't enough, so you may want to write down a few things to say for next class. If it helps, practice in front of the mirror. (And if you’re really shy, you may want to consider online college courses.) 

4. Remember, recruiters are your friends. Even if you're just taking the fundamentals like Algebra 101 or English Composition, if you're passionate about your career path, they'll listen, take notes, and save your resume for later. Trust me. (Shameless Plug: I now work at a local Baltimore staffing firm, MJ Morgan Group, and we really do care about our clients.)

5. Your roommates might suck. Sorry, but I speak the truth. Freshman year, I had the pleasure of rooming with a girl who left her used tampons behind the bathroom door, beneath piles of dirty clothes. But there is hope for you! Many schools, like Savannah College of Art and Design, invite incoming students to partake in “meet and greet” events. This way, you can make friends and fill out a roommate request form for the chosen one. Hallelujah! (One of the benefits of online college is… no roommates.)

6. Now, here's something I wish I'd considered. Online college courses. They're a great option if you're on a budget (student loans, anyone?). Don't pay extra for a simple Intro to Philosophy class when you can take it for $99 a month from the comfort of your own dorm room. You don't even have to get out of bed or put your pants on, although maybe you should at some point. You wouldn't want to turn into that sucky, stinky roommate we just discussed, now would you?

7. Ramen noodles will save your life. Not because they're cheap as hell. But because the cafeteria food, well, it ain't anything to bring about. Sure, you can get by if you stick to the soup and salad bar, but beware of that beef briskety looking thing over there. Is it fish? Chicken? Who knows and maybe you don't want to know. Moral of the story, meal plans ain't got nuthin’ on a good Cup o’Noodles.

8. Don't try to have a party in your dorm room and expect it to be off-the-chain. First week, I invited all my dorm neighbors over. The lights were low and the House music was bumping, but no one wanted to dance, and we were all under-age, so drinking was out of the question. So what did we do? Played “Apples to Apples” for an entire hour, and it wasn't even my idea. Save yourself the misery and leave the party hosting to those who live off campus.

9. Depending on the creature, you can absolutely get away with keeping a small pet in your dorm room. A domesticated rat will keep you company when you're bored. And here's the fun part: you never know what they'll get into next. Or, if you're bold like my Senior Year roommate, get a kitty. Lucky for her, Harlow was a quiet cat. We didn't even know the cat existed until a couple months in. It was awesome!

10. My last words of advice. Lists like these can be helpful, but don't take them too seriously. You don't really know what's going to happen in college. Will you find your soulmate? Will your mom finally treat you like an adult? Will you end up hating your school and transferring to another college? Will you climb abandoned buildings late at night? Who knows! That's the best part of college. So enjoy the surprises to come!

About the author . . . . Fresh out of art school and obsessed with digital music, Brittany uses her love of sound to inject her writing with rhythm and just the right amount of rhyme. When she's not tweeting, blogging, or facebooking, she's either at a local concert or playfully poking fun of reality TV stars (and enjoying every second of it).
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