Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Things I wish someone had told me in College: GUEST POST SWAP

Hi there!

I'm Liz, and I blog over at Creating Silences. I'm super excited to be swapping posts with Cody! She asked me to talk about college, so, without further ado, I bring you what I'm calling:
I'm coming up on one year since I graduated from college, and I thought it'd be a good time to reflect on my college experience. It wasn't the most normal of experiences. The short version of this story is that I attended New College of Florida in Sarasota for two years before I transferred to Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. It was a crazy ride, but I have never regretted a second of it. Here are my top pieces of advice for surviving (and thriving) in college and making it work for you.

Major in something you love

I was a member of a youth theater in my hometown for twelve years. When I got to college, I quit cold turkey. New College doesn't have a theater program and barely has any performing arts classes at all. I fought as hard as I could against majoring in theater, but eventually I found that I couldn't fight it anymore. It made me happy, and I had to be true to myself and go for it. And it was the best thing I could've ever done. I wish I had made the decision earlier because it would've saved me a lot of grief. If there's something you really want to do, regardless of what you or anyone else thinks you should be doing, do it. You'll be happier in the long run.

What you want to do may change

All the above being said, you don't have to know what you want to do with your life. You don't have to know it going into college, you don't have to know it when you declare your major, you don't even have to know it when you walk across that stage to graduate. Society puts this huge pressure on us from the time we're young with the question, "what do you want to be when you grow up?" You know what? "I don't know" is a completely acceptable answer. And even if you've known forever, that can change. I graduated in theater with an emphasis in sound technology. I spent three and a half years dedicating myself to learning about theater sound technology and design. And then, this summer, nine months after graduating, I went, "I don't know if this is actually going to get me where I want to go." And now I'm doing something completely different and loving it. It's okay. It's okay to change your mind, and it's okay to explore other avenues. No matter what your piece of paper says. 

Explore your opportunities
This refers to classes, extracurriculars, and anything else. This may be cliche, but college is a time for exploration. Before you get stuck in all classes pertaining to your major, take a course you're interested in. Be it religion, psychology, philosophy, art history, statistics, meteorology, biology, or whatever, take a class outside of your comfort zone. Join a club that has nothing to do with your major. I found a deep love for psychology while I was in college. And even though no psychology-related career appealed to me, I continued to study it with vigor because I found it that fascinating. I also sang in chorus for a year and a half while at Plymouth. That's not exactly far outside my major, but it got me out of the small program I was in to make new friends, go new places, and do things I loved. And speaking of which...

Make sure you're friends with the right people
The people you're friends with in college can make a huge difference in your experience. When I was at New College, I didn't have many friends. Everyone I knew (save a select few) was very into drinking and drugs, things I wasn't interested in at all. When I finally did make friends, they were people who shared my interests and my morals. At Plymouth State, I met some of my best friends. It helped that most of them were in my program, but seriously. Seek out the cool people and leave everyone else behind. Because those are the people who will make or break your college experience. Find the people who will text you to make sure you got home okay on a Saturday night, who will make you a cake when you break up with your boyfriend, who will give it to you straight because they love you and want you to succeed. Find those people and do this:
Ultimately, most of this comes down to something you've probably heard before: college is what you make of it. So make it fun, make it count, and don't let it get you down. You're going to have to make harder decisions in your life than what you major in. And though it may not seem like it at the time, college can be a great period of growth, maturity, and perspective. It's your life, and nobody can tell you what to do with it. So get out there and do you. Your future self will thank you for it.


You can check out what I wrote for Liz Here.

1 comment:

Beth W said...

Thanks, Liz! That's spot-on to my experience (and I wish someone had told me that before I started college, too). Heck, I'm 32 and still have no idea what I want to do when I grow up! And that support system is so very, very vital.
Thanks to both of you for joining us for the swap, and sharing your hard-earned knowledge! :)