Because my job as a Georgetown Storyteller has me broadcasting my life to prospective students, my Instagram DMs and Facebook messages are often filled with high school students asking for advice about college life. Everyone's experience with schooling is different, but as someone who truly loved her time in college (and seriously, seriously doesn't want to leave so soon), I definitely have some tips for making the most of your four years. Being successful in college is all about having the right mentality, and with the right perspective and priorities, it's easy to achieve!
For today's post, I've actually collaborated with another new blogger, Ashley Caroline from the blog ASH CARO. She's a super sweet high school junior from Raleigh, North Carolina, and we decided to put our age gap to good use by offering some advice on our different life stages. In Ashley's post, she'll be sharing her thoughts on how to make the most of one's high school years; for my post, I'll share things to keep in mind when entering college. Read on to see what I rank as my top five tips for shaping a college-ready mindset!
1. PREP FOR STRESS CULTURE
I first wrote about this topic in my letter for the Dear Georgetown Freshman project, but it really is my number one piece of advice, so I thought I'd reiterate it here. College campuses are notorious for harboring stress culture - it seems like everyone around you has a 4.0 and an amazing social life, not to mention a million Bumble matches and a great internship lined up for summer. In reality, no one has it as together as they might make it seem, and part of being in college is taking the time to navigate uncertainty. In the end, overcoming your stress will be what makes you a stronger and more prepared person. Accept your stress so that it does not consume you, and suddenly your worries will seem manageable, not menacing.
2. FIND YOUR IDEAL OUTLET
Whether it's something creative - like painting or photography - or something physical - a great workout or club sports team - or even starting up your own blog (guilty), having an outlet to escape the everyday concerns of college isn't a luxury, but a necessity. When you're focused on a million things at once, some quality Me Time is essential for staying balanced. When I go too long without my guitar or my camera, I totally start to lose it, so I prioritize making time for myself to relax and unwind while getting creative. Find something small that makes you happy, and hold yourself accountable for indulging at least once a week. Having something you love to look forward to can be great motivation for getting through the rough stuff - especially during midterm season.
3. EXPECT CHANGE - DIFFERENT FRIENDS, INTERESTS, ETC.
Ask anyone - the odds of leaving college four years later with the same friends you met on move-in day are slim to none. Not saying you won't have some, but losing and gaining acquaintances is just a part of life, and it's normal to find your friend groups changing over time. As long as you are kind to everyone, you shouldn't feel pressure about who you chose to spend your time with, so be sure to branch out and meet as many people as you can. I'm blessed to have some close friends now that I met during my first week, but I'm equally as thankful for the ones I met along my four-year journey. Also an ever-changing aspect? Your interests. I knew from day one that English was the major for me, but I watched a ton of friends struggle to find their perfect fit. That's why taking general education courses your freshman year can be so helpful! You might be surprised to find what subjects you enjoy, and end up pursuing something completely new.
4. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OPPORTUNITIES
I can't even explain how many amazing opportunities I've had here at Georgetown. I've seen the Pope deliver mass, been in the same room as Hillary Clinton, and even accidentally blocked Joe Biden's motorcade (my bad, Joe!). I've also been able to turn my passions - writing and photography - into useful skills that can aid in the career of my choice. It's pretty rare that someone can combine their hobbies with their professional life, and Georgetown's curriculum allowed me the space for that opportunity. I even got to write my dream thesis, Drunk Texts - not a lot of schools would let a paper with that title into the dialogue, but Georgetown is a fortunate exception. Those are just some of my personal experiences, but the same is true for any school: the opportunities are abundant if you seek them. Don't let nerves or self-doubt prevent you from seizing any and all of your desires.
5. REMEMBER WHY YOU'RE HERE
It's so easy to get stuck in your library cubicle - remember to pick your head up and put your books down every now and then. Thinking big picture is essential for overcoming obstacles, whether they be major tests or serious bouts of homesickness. As someone who struggles with both anxiety and depression, it's not unusual for me to feel a bit overwhelmed, but I find that taking a step back and reevaluating my priorities is usually just what I need to stay sane. Sometimes the only answer to a problem is a good cappuccino and a walk around campus - or a strong glass of rosé and a dance floor.
I hope this advice didn't come off too preachy (I'm not a regular mom, I'm a #coolmom!). Ideally, any readers starting college in the fall will benefit from these tips, and any who are graduating with me will agree with my recommendations. College is such an amazing time, but you'll enjoy it more if you focus on the day-to-day, not on trying to have the cliché "best four years of your life".
Be sure to check out Ashley's post on ASH CARO and show her blog some love! I really enjoyed collaborating with her on these advice posts.
Let me know if there are any other bloggers you'd like to see me collaborate with in the future, and until then, keep on enjoying the Grad Series!