Tuesday, July 17, 2012

23 Things College Taught Me

I think when we leave for college we usually only expect to learn the stuff that we write down in notebooks and read in our $150 textbooks. But I have to say, I learned a TON about life, and since so many of you are gearing up to start college, I thought I'd share some of my insights on what could be the best 4 to 5 (to 6?) years of your life. 

1.     Get out of your dorm room. Whether you live with one roommate or seven like I did, you HAVE to get out at some point, no matter how much you love them! The first thing I did freshman year was move in with my best friend, shut the door, and didn’t talk to anyone (yeah, anti-social). Some of my favorite things to do? Go shopping, visit another friend’s dorm room, drive around, play sand volleyball, swim, go for a run...which brings me to my next point.

2.     Even if you hate working out, you should work out. Most college campuses give you free access to the gym AND pool (I did not know that we had a pool at K-State until like, junior year). Join some classes or pick a night to work out with a friend. Eating dorm food all the time can make you feel really sick or gain weight or both, so hit that gym! Believe me, after all the dorm food, when Christmas break rolls around, you will be appreciating mom’s home-cooked meals more than you ever have before.

3.     Write your name on everything. Anytime you live with other people, stuff is bound to turn up missing at the end of the year. Not usually because someone stole it, but because someone borrowed it and lost it or didn’t return it!

4.     Learn to cook. Eating out can cost you a fortune, even if it’s from the dollar menu. Easy yet semi-healthy things to make: spaghetti, nachos with ground turkey (thanks Liz!), Italian chicken (cut some chicken up, put it in a skillet, when it’s almost done cooking smother it with Italian dressing), rice, macaroni and cheese.

5.     Dish towels do NOT work as oven mitts. I tried this once and ended up holding a flaming dish towel in my hand while everyone was screaming at me and I had no idea what to do, so I dropped it on the kitchen floor and left a big ol’ burn mark. Invest in oven mitts.

6.     Learn to do laundry. Ask a parent or friend to help you if you don’t know how to do laundry. I know, it sounds lame, but there are people out there who have never done a load of laundry (which if that's you, it's okay! there is hope for you!) Fabric softener is not the same thing as detergent. It WILL make your clothes smell delicious, but it doesn't contain soap. 

7.    If you decide to go mattress surfing, make sure the mattress is completely underneath you so you go down the stairs ON the mattress and not rolling down the stairs behind it.

8.     Invest in a bike. If you go to a large university like I did, parking is almost impossible, especially if you have classes later in the morning. Plus parking permits cost around $100 and you’re never guaranteed a spot and you’re doomed to become one of those vultures that follows people around the parking lots waiting for them to leave.

9.     Learn the basics of caring for an apartment/home. I was definitely thankful my dad had taught me how to turn off the water when I came home and the people above us had overflowed their toilet and water was gushing in through the vents.

10.  Speaking of neighbors, when you finally move out of the dorms, ask your apartment complex about their noise policy before you sign the lease. If you plan on being super noisy and having sub-woofers and blasting Miley Cyrus like our neighbors of 2009...then you should live in an apartment that allows loud stuff. You can find apartments that make you sign a “quiet policy” and they stick to it if you’re wanting peace and quiet!

11.  Whether you’re moving into the dorms or an apartment or a house, make sure you have the landlord/R.A. write down and sign anything that was already wrong with the place when you moved in. Like if someone left bananas in a desk chair and it rotted through the cushion the year before...yeah, you want them to know that wasn’t you.

12.  Fog machines will set off the fire alarm. So will popcorn if you leave it in there for seven minutes and then everyone stares at you as you throw the smoking microwave out the front door and your room smells like burnt popcorn for a week. (Love you, Britt!)

13.  Get to know your professors. They want to help you and sometimes if you are struggling with a class they may boost your grade if they see that you’re showing effort by coming to talk to them. They also will give you insight on how you can do better on their tests or help you with study skills or may even become a mentor for you.

14.  Your dorm room is bound to be a pit, no matter how clean you are. All that stuff and that small of a space is grounds for disaster. If you’re moving in from only a few hours away, you don’t need a year’s worth of clothes. Bring them up with you as the seasons change! Loft your bed and store all of your stuff under it. Those stacked plastic drawers are awesome for storing everything!

15.  Skip the wild parties. I have way too many friends who have woken up and had absolutely no clue what they did the night before, friends who failed a semester’s worth of class because they “went out last night,” and even a couple friends who have thousands of dollars in credit card debt because of weekends spent at the bars. I never went to a party (well, a crazy party) and still had a blast in college. 

16.  GO TO CLASS. I know you may have a class that totally sucks and you would so much rather stay in bed than get up and go sit for an hour while so-and-so professor babbles on about something you think doesn’t pertain to you...but go to class. Sometimes you get extra credit for attending on certain days AND it’s usually the classes that you skip that have the hardest tests (duh, because you skipped so you didn’t learn the stuff). Failing a class MAY not seem like such a big deal to you...but if you’re taking an in-state class that’s about $700 that you just may as well have flushed down the toilet. And odds are you’ll just have to suffer through it again, so pass it the first time. 

17. Invest in rain boots, snow boots, and other things you may need for extreme weather cases. Because when there are frostbite warnings on the news and your car is frozen to the curb (true story) your university probably will not cancel class and you will literally be walking however-many-miles uphill both ways in the snow (or deadly ice in most Kansas cases) and you'll be frozen by the time you get to class. 

18.  Research your own classes. Advisors get paid to help you pick classes, and I had an awesome one, but sometimes they make mistakes and may miss something. Make sure you know what you need to take to graduate on time, and don’t freak out if you’re not going to finish in 4 years. In fact, I took 5 years and would highly recommend it if you’re doing more than one degree. You can check ratemyprofessors.com to see what other people thought of a professor/class before you take it. 

19.  Get a job. Even if your parents are handing you money, you should find a job. I learned more at my college job than I learned in some of my classes. You will learn patience, how to get along with people, working with money, how to schedule your priorities, and you’ll make lots of friends.

20.  Branch out. This is one of the biggest mistakes that I made. If I could go back and redo college, I would have hung out more with friends. I worried so much about homework that for the first two years, I never really hung out with people. This is where time management comes in...learn it!

21. Not to be a Debbie-downer...but you cannot trust everyone. Don't sign weird things. Don't make large purchases without talking to your parents. Don't sign tanning contracts (long story) and think about stuff before you do it. If people come to your door saying, "I'm in a competition so you should buy my magazine subscriptions"...just say no! 

22. Learn another language. I know, you're like, "Well you're a Spanish teacher so you have to say that." No. I am telling you that when you graduate and you have that extra language (especially Spanish or Chinese) on your resume, your odds of getting hired increase. I challenge you to think of a job where you would never ever use another language.

23.  Don’t procrastinate. You will be sitting in the library at 3 a.m. the morning before a paper is due wondering if there is a light at the end of this tunnel. (Which is another point...don’t freak out too much about stuff. It usually gets done in 99.9% of all-nighter cases).  You will reach a point in college when you are ready to drop out...don’t. You will make it! And remember that Pizza Shuttle is your best friend at 3 a.m. And friends ALWAYS make all-nighters better! 

Oh and one thing I forgot, which makes this 24 Things College Taught Me...if you can find the international version of a textbook (usually on E-Bay or Amazon), buy it. The only thing that's usually different is the cover and they are normally about half the price of a regular textbook.

No comments:

Post a Comment