It’s hard to believe that I’m entering my senior year of college. These past 3 years have been difficult, scary, and life changing, and the 4th one is looking to be quite a curveball as well. I’m far from a model example, but I thought it might be nice to share some of the things I’ve learned in my college experience for all you young un’s heading off to college for the very first time.
- Your freshman year isn’t necessarily going to be amazing.
I went to college expecting that my freshman year was going to be the best year EVER. I was so ready to be independent, and live on my own in a big city. My freshman year was actually the worse year of my life, but the good news is I only had one direction to go from there: up. Going to college is an emotionally tough experience for most of us. It’s okay if you struggle initially, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Also, you’re totally not lame if you call your mom every day (I still do).
Universities have counselors in your health center, but not all of them are stellar. Getting help is nothing to be embarrassed about and if you need it, you need it. Remember, mental health comes first.
2. Eat some vegetables you animal.
Some of you are healthy and responsible 18 year olds. Others would happily subsist on a diet of pizza and Hot Cheetos. No one’s there to remind you to eat a salad once in a while so you have to be that person for yourself. Trust me, you will feel so much better.
3. Experiment (and no, not just in the way you’re thinking).
Do something every month that makes you want to throw up. And I don’t mean you should chug Jaeger bombs on a monthly basis, ad nauseum (literally), but do something that scares you. I know it sounds super cliche, but doing scary shit is the best part of being young.
4. Remember that no one cares.
College offers a comfortable level of anonymity, so do you. If you want to show up to class with sweatpants, hair up, chillin with no makeup on, go for it. If you want to emulate an Asian international student every day, go for it. No one knows you, and even if they do, they probably don’t care.
5. For my femmes: be smart. For my cis men: don’t be a f*ckboi.
College is also traditionally a time of romantic and sexual exploration. There really are no rules (despite what sex ed/the church/your parents may have told you) except the following:
Be up front, but respectful with your partners and ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS get enthusiastic consent.
For my femmes: I hate to sound like your mom but be careful. While the onus of stopping rape culture isn’t on you, we have to be realistic sometimes to protect ourselves. Go with friends, don’t wander around alone at night, and turn on Find my Friends if things seem a bit sketchy.
Also, the politics and systems that inform our day to day life don’t end at the door to the very cute guy from your calc class’s dorm room. Even our romantic interactions are informed by the kyriarchy. I’m all for sex positivity, but college girls aren’t Samantha’s. We are 18 year old girls who don’t have a lot of power.
For my cis males: Just…..don’t be terrible. JK, that’s a laughably low bar. College may seem like the perfect opportunity to bounce locker room talk around all day long but it isn’t. You shouldn’t have to be told this but drunk consent is not consent, incapacitation is not consent, and nothing should happen without consent. More than that, be honest and sincere in your intentions and for the love of god, please treat women more than a 1:12 am “u up?” text.
6. Learn how to budget.
All college students are broke, but your life will be so much easier and less ramen-filled if you learn how to budget. There a lot of online tools to get yourself up to speed on personal finance, but LearnLux is a favorite of mine.
7. Don’t listen to your parents (sometimes).
At the end of the day it is YOUR life. At the same time, your parents are wayyyy smarter and wiser than you think they are right now. I am still blown away but how much my parents know and how good their decision making skills are.
While your parents are literal gods of wisdom who love you very much and want the best for you, they are also human beings. Meaning they are fallible.
It’s okay to make some choices that go against what your parents think. Just make sure it’s an informed decision, and not just a token rebellious act. And get their advice anyway. You’re almost real adults and it’s important to have the ability to make good decisions without relying completely on your parents.