Back to school, back to school

And so another semester begins. I’m getting way too old for this. Sometimes I regret transferring and taking time off to work, but honestly I’m happier this way (and less in debt).

I created a pretty kick-ass schedule for myself this semester: all of my classes are at night or online and each is taught by an associate professor. I think it’s integral to learn from someone who is still active in their field and not just reciting facts from a textbook (further props if they don’t even assign a textbook, saving me lots of  money in the process!)

To set the tone for the next couple months, I thought I’d share some lessons I learned from my very first semester of college. These are things I wish I could go back in time and tell my 18 year old self, but it’s better that I learned this lessons first hand.

+ Go to class. Yes, I know you’re tired, and you mistakenly signed up for 8ams every single day, but you need to go. You can practically sleep through class, they’re not hard, but you need to go.

+ Don’t overburden yourself your first semester. College is very different from high school. Just because you were used to being on the go from 7am until 11pm every day doesn’t mean you’ll be able to maintain this schedule in college.

+ When you sign your name on a club’s info sheet at the organization fair, you are granting them permission to place you on their listserv and bombard you with emails for the rest of eternity.

+ Meet as many new people as you can. Not all of these people will be friend material, but you’ll figure that out along the way.

+ Be active. I went from dancing 30 hours a week in high school plus working out to doing almost nothing besides very long walks up hills trying to find parties. Those late night calzones will catch up with you quickly.

+ Don’t be afraid to initiate: I’m a natural hostess and invited my entire dorm to the season premiere of Grey’s Anatomy, booked our lounge, and provided snacks. Great way to meet people in a non-inebriated state.

+ Find one or two causes or groups you care about and get really involved. This is more fun and meaningful than attending 87 different club meetings a week and doing nothing but showing up.

+ Call home. Call your friends from home. Everything’s changing very quickly, but there’s nothing better than getting a reality check from the people who love you and know you best.

+ Don’t stress about having a crappy roommate. I talked to mine extensively before school, thought we had tons in common and would be best friends, and showed up to find she was a pothead. A nice pothead, but still, a pothead. She didn’t return for the second semester and I got a new roomie who I actually liked.

+ Get off campus. Find a volunteer opportunity, go for a hike, just do something that gets you out of the bubble that is a college campus.

What lessons do you wish you had learned before starting college?

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