So I have a
confession interesting fact… I graduated from college 10 years ago this month! It literally boggles my mind that it’s been that long because it feels like I was running to a Frat house to bong a beer 5 years ago after a football game. Clearly, that time at The University of Toledo was where I met my best friends, dated the bad boys, drank too much, and I thought I knew EVERYTHING at 22 years old! The courage and eagerness I had back then to take on the world was incredible, but as I look back, I realize that I was living in a wonderful bubble of security (parents, friends, family, etc.). Thankfully, I didn’t have too many horrible missteps that killed my ambition or drive, but gave me the motivation to keep pushing for what I wanted out of life. With my little cousin and niece starting to put together things for their graduation in 2017 and 2018, respectfully, I felt compelled to share some of the things I wish my 32 year old self could have told my college self. It might have saved me from some heartaches, my sanity, money, and my waistline!
The Sh*t They Don’t Tell You in College
- Do the travel thing while you’re there! As a little sheltered girl from Ohio, studying out of the country wasn’t even a thought in college. I was too busy trying to figure out what fraternity to hang out with each weekend. Now that I’m super removed from the day-to-day dorm life, I would have told my young self, “It’s only one semester not a lifetime!”
- A Free T-Shirt is not Worth Credit Card Debit! Those credit cards are so not worth a damn faded, too-tight, ripped t-shirt! Lucky for me, my parents pretty much had a vice grip on my finances in college, but I remember so many of my friends wearing those shirts around and maxing out the cards with bar purchases. With the price of education skyrocketing to new heights and student loans getting people through
45 years, saving your credit is so necessary (especially when those loan payments kick in… trust me!).
- Save the Drama for Reality TV! I have a real confession this time… I was such a gossipy drama queen when I was 19 (I know not cute). I don’t know if it was an attention thing or if I was just bored, but I was just a Nosy Nancy. With shows like Laguna Beach and Real World Las Vegas, it felt like adding drama to my life was needed to keep up with the Jones’. If I could I would shake that version of myself and yell “Keep it up and you will ended up friendless, jobless, and man-less!” Being that dramatic is a waste of time and will add nothing to your life.
- Take a Business or Acting Class! Sounds really random, but as a PR major, I was too wrapped up in trying to graduate in 4 years that there were some classes that could have helped me in my adulthood. Learning skills like basic marketing or how to public speak and memorize in an acting class would have been more helpful than the Astronomy or Film 101 because as fun as they were, I can’t use those skills in my current profession.
- Keeping Girl Code isn’t Always Necessary! You know I’m a girl’s girl, but sometimes things are bigger than you. College is a time where people are trying to find themselves and it’s not always easy to fit in or find your tribe, so depression, eating disorders, abuse, and other situation like these happen. At 20, I saw things happening that weren’t safe or normal, but I didn’t know how to handle them, so I sat back because it wasn’t my issue. The thing I wish I had realized was I didn’t need to save anyone per say, but asking a simple “Are you ok? I’ve noticed that you’re…” could have opened up a conversation that could have let someone venting some important things to me.
- Don’t be so Scared and Embarrassed of be a Virgin! I was such a tease back in the day and I was proud of it (so weird, I know), but it was really that I was scared to death to do anything at all with a guy. I wasn’t trying to get an STD or pregnant because I knew I wasn’t ready for those things. Don’t get me wrong I had boys I would hang and make out with, but anything else was terrifying. My girlfriends knew I was in the V-Club, but I was just embarrassed for any guy to know. I’m sure it was clear as day to some, but it wasn’t anything to be ashamed or embarrassed about. And honestly, if people think it’s weird to be a virgin in college… they are lame!
- Keep a Journal! I wish I had kept a journal to document all of the crazy stuff that we did from spring break trips to Halloween costumes party exploits. I love getting together with my girlfriends from college and reminiscing, but how much would it be to read journal entries from back then… PRICELESS!
- Call your Mom! I was such a brat when I was in college and would call my mom if I needed something and at one point I wouldn’t give her my dorm number because it wasn’t important (told you I was in full brat mode). Now that I look back, there were more times that I need to just talk to my mom for more than money or warm clothes. I am so thankful for my relationship with my mom now because her wisdom has made my adult life 1000 x’s better! Cherish the time with her even when you’re too busy living it up in college.
- Studying and Partying aren’t the Most Important Parts of College Life! I have at admit that I was more of a party girl than study girl, but I missed a BIG part of college life, which was networking. I held internships, but didn’t really take them seriously because I didn’t want to stay in Toledo. If I had taken a little time to make connections at those internships, I would have been a little more ahead when I was looking for work after graduation.
- Take the Gap Year! You will work your entire life, so 1 year in the grand scheme of things is nothing. I took an accidental gap year, lived at home, drank with my high school friends, and worked a part time job.. It was AMAZING! I got to get the partying out of my system and realize that working a real job wasn’t all fun and games. When I think back to my first summer out of college, it really set the trajectory of where I am now because I learned what I didn’t want for my life. So take the gap year and learn what you want out of life!
- Work on the Friendships that are Important! I just knew I would be the BEST of friends with the people I was bff with for 4 years and honestly, I only talk to 1 person a regular bases from my college days. You will get busy and forget to call or text people, but be aware that friendships take work and time to keep going. I know that with some friendship, we can pick up years later and it’s like we never missed a beat, but others are just done because neither of us made the effort. So make the effort when you’re younger because when you start to get older, other things start to take priority over friendships (families, marriage, kids, work… you get the drift).
Even though I did learn so many things over the last decade, I am so happy with my life and the people in it! Would these tips have saved me from the missteps of my life? Maybe, but honestly I think they would have just made me stronger sooner; I think things would have still taken the same twists and turns. What is something that you would tell your young self? Share it on my Social Media outlets and let’s start a discussion!