When my mom was driving me home (for the last time) from college, she asked me “now that you’ve graduated, what advice would you give incoming freshman?”
I initially thought: I have no wisdom. I don’t know. I sort of botched some of my time at school.
But then I realized that I have learned so much from college and I’d love to share those life lessons with anyone. So here! My advice to incoming freshmen, underclassmen, and just about anyone else, really.
Say yes when you want to say yes, say no when you want to say no.
Barring harm to yourself or others, this advice works in almost any situation.
My example: There are too many to list. This is the piece of advice I recommend to everyone everywhere. If you want to do something, and you have the opportunity, then do it! If something or someone crosses your path you don’t wish to entertain, then say no and go on with your life.
Do something crazy.
Similar to the last bit, but this is a challenge. A challenge for you to step outside of your comfort zone and jump in to the cultural, social, and educational smorgasbord that is college. Take a road trip, talk to someone who intimidates you, just do something that makes you step outside of your personal bubble and connects you with someone or something else.
My example: Okay, I did a lot of crazy stuff in college, most of which I’d rather not share on the internet. My crazy story I am sharing here is my trip to Nicaragua for Spring break. This was crazy in that, other than my sorority sisters, I did not now the people going on the trip very well. Also, I knew it would be difficult to pay for but that it would be an experience I would not regret. And so, I flew to Nicaragua for a week almost on a whim. Talk about crazy.
Take a class on something you know nothing about.
But really. I can’t tell you how important it is to educate yourself on issues you don’t understand. Don’t be intimidated by the subject matter; learn something new!
My Example: I did not need to take any more history classes in my final semester, but I chose to endow myself with the stress of a 300 level course taught by one of the toughest professors on campus, The History of the Modern Middle East. Why? Because I knew nothing about the Middle East and I was entirely ignorant to the goings-on of that region. It was difficult, but it was eye-opening and I wish I would have branched out more.
Yeah, yeah, stereotypical college advice. But really. Get involved! You don’t need to go Greek (if you want to say no), but join something. Chemistry Club, a GSA, or be an orientation leader. Connect yourself with like-minded people. Do something (other than, you know, college) that gives you responsibility and teaches accountability.
My example: If you ask anyone at my school, I went a little overboard with this piece of advice. This advice definitely should be taken in moderation. I was in over 13 clubs in my time in undergrad, and I do not recommend that headache. But find one, two, or three organizations to really commit to, and then commit! You won’t regret it.
This is only a smidgen of the advice I have, but it’s where I will leave you today.