Dear College Freshman
So this may be a moms blog, but when I think of a period of my life that most helped prepare me for the future as a professional and a mother, my college years stand out the most. The beginning of a new school year is near, and with it, a brand new crop of students will invade our town, ransacking Target for the latest dorm room trends. While most Baton Rougians roll their eyes over the increase in traffic, I find myself rolling my eyes at the carefree attitude these young folks exude. Really, I’m just jealous! College was one of the most exciting and crazy fun times in my life, and I look back on those years with mostly fond and some fuzzy memories blurred by one too many Long Island iced teas.
It seems like just yesterday I stood in a tiny dorm room and bid my parents farewell as I started my college journey that catapulted me into adulthood. It was the first time in my life I was completely on my own, and the impending independence was a bit daunting but mostly exhilarating. Now almost 20 years later (GULP), I’m a parent who utilizes college students as baby sitters for an ever elusive date night and realize that before I know it, I’ll be waving off my own collegiate as they start their adventures.
When I began college I casually brushed off all the advice anyone gave me (especially from my own mother) on how to have fun, pass classes, and be successful in college. Now, I look back on my college years and look hesitantly forward to waving my own children off, here’s the advice I most wished I’d graciously taken.
Find a friend
Find a dorm mate, team mate or class mate and make them your friend. Trust me, at first you’re both scared and nervous, but in just a few weeks without a close friend, you’ll be very lonely without someone to join you in the dining hall, rec center, or out in the club. Over the years, this person will become your ride or die. And in the distant future, you’ll stand in each other’s weddings, host baby showers and vacation together. This person will be your friend for life.
Have fun but not too much
Trust me when I tell you that in just a few short years you’ll be happy to turn in for the evening by 8pm. It is important to find balance, but now is the time of your life so go out to that late night social, take a weekend trip full of adventure, and take advantage of all the fun activities offered on campus. Get up early, stay up late and enjoy this time of your life with no strings attached.
Your college years are where you set the stage for the rest of your life. So work hard to meet your goals, make yourself a priority, and try to save a little money. And if nothing else, study and pass the classes you (or someone) is paying dearly for you to attend. Always remember student loan debt accumulates whether you pass the class or not, and one day you’ll have to pay those loans back.
Choose a major you love
Do yourself a huge favor and major in something you really like. These classes that you hazily drag yourself to every day will one day be your career for a VERY, VERY long time. So pick something you like to do and stick with this regardless of the earning potential or the choices your friends make.
Call your parents
As you hurriedly close that dorm room or apartment door and begin your college career, don’t forget to give your parents a call (maybe even a visit) every now and then. You may not want them meddling in your busy class (read: partying) schedule, but one day when you’re a parent, you’re gonna really need them. Shuttling kids back and forth, cooking dinner, and making your career work truly takes a village, and a good relationship with your parents will make your future life as a parent a whole lot easier!
So pack up all your new dorm room duds and head out for the time of your life! You will look back on these years fondly, and in many years you will realize how much you miss your college years.