What I Actually Learned in College

What I Actually Learned in College

It's senior year and I'm like "where the heck did the time go?" Lately my roommate and I have been reminiscing a lot, and I mean A LOT. Are we having an oh-crap-we-are-graduating-soon life crisis? Maybe. But when we think back on everything we experienced in college, we aren't sad. We are so grateful. I would say I've learned a few more important things than the significance of ancient Greek pottery, or that Ladies' Home Journal was the first magazine to reach 1 million readers.

1. Make new friends—it gets harder as you get older. When you're a freshman in college, you're excited and eager for a new adventure. Don't be afraid to ask the girl sitting next to you in that confusing philosophy class a question, you might end up having more in common with her than you think.

2. Go out on weekday nights because college might be your last chance to do it. In Ames, my favorite nights are Wednesdays, which is dollar drink night, and Thursdays, which is mug night. In my opinion, these two nights are way more fun than the weekends anyway—and as a broke college student, the drink deals sure don't bother me either.

3. College friends will come and go, but your hometown friends will always ride for you. One thing I've figure out is that my hometown friends are always honest with me—they tell me what I need to hear and they always have my back, even if I'm being out of line. So, make new friends, but also don't forget the ones that have always been there.

4. When searching for an internship, blast your resume everywhere—you never know when an opportunity will present itself. I got my first internship after my junior year of college, and I think I sent my resume to 15 different places. I was worried I wouldn't get one, but then (what felt like last minute) I got a call in late March, and boom. Don't give up!

5. You will get your heart broken and it will be okay. I've learned that if it didn't work out, there was a reason. At the time, getting your heart broken can feel like the entire world is crumbling down around you. How do you get through it? Easy. Surround yourself with real friends who will show up to your apartment at one in the morning with ice cream. Friends that will cry with you. Friends that will let you stay over for a week straight because they know you need them. Friends that will go out on that boring Monday night with you just because you need a drink.

6. Grades aren't necessarily everything—your experience is. This might not apply to everyone, but for many majors, it's the truth. Now, I'm not saying don't try to get good grades. What I'm saying is this: yes, you can get that 4.0 (and that's impressive!), but if you don't have any real world experience, you're one step behind those who took the time to get an internship. Employers want someone who has experienced the real world, because let's be honest, homework and school projects don't compare to being in a real working environment with stressful deadlines.

7. Take advantage of everything that is offered—the "free" gym that you're actually paying for in tuition, the different clubs that present new opportunities, intramural sports, unique classes that are offered, etc. If you don't, you'll look back with regret—trust me. I only did intramural basketball one time, and I wish I'd stuck with it all four years.

8. Take care of yourself—it's worth it. When I was a sophomore, I gained 10 pounds. Being an athlete in high school, it was something I never thought I had to worry about, but drinking and eating like crap definitely catches up to anyone. It took about a whole year of struggling to get back into the gym and running to slim down again. Looking back, I think all I really needed to do was work out a few times a week and I could've avoided gaining the weight.

9. Being broke sucks, but I think everyone should experience it. Being a full-time student, keeping up with homework, and having a job is actually pretty stressful. I've always worked as many hours as I could to try and make enough money to live, while still allowing time for school, homework and friends. Whenever I got paid it was the highlight of my week, but then five days later, I was always confused where all my money went! I think struggling through college will make me appreciate and be smarter with my money in the future.

10. Don't buy expensive clothes, shoes or jewelry. You'll lose them, let the wrong person borrow them, or ruin them dancing on that one bar's wet, smoke-infused dance floor. I can't tell you how many pairs of shoes I've ruined, or how many shirts I've lost. It's simply not worth it. I live for Forever21 and consignment stores!

So, I learned a lot in college, and in my opinion, the life lessons I learned were far more valuable than anything else. College is the time in your life where you will really find out who you are. If I could give some final advice about college, it would be to work hard but have fun, remember that it's normal to be stressed and broke, don't be afraid to take chances, party it up, but take care of yourself, and cherish every moment—it really does fly by.

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