Some random advice to you, because these things are on my mind.
Some things are much easier than you think they are. Internships, for one. If you are like I was, the name is rather intimidating. But it’s kind of the same thing as volunteering (if you are a humanities major) or a job (if you are in one of those fields where they actually pay their interns.) So if you have ever volunteered, or held a job, it’s pretty much the same thing, but with a spiffier title. You apply, which can be a formal process or something like stopping by the local historical society and talking to the director, then you get the internship and you follow the directions and do as you are told.
Do what you like
Speaking of volunteering/interning/working while you are in college. If at all possible, find things to do that interest you. If you get work-study, try and find a work-study position that interests you, even if it doesn’t directly pertain to your major. If you decide to volunteer, do something that is fun to you, not what you think would look good on your resume. Same for internships. The reason is that you might not do what you thought you were going to do after college and if you are applying for jobs that are outside of your area of study, it’s great to have some experience somewhere in your past. It may be that you have to work food service to get you through school, but if you love to spend time with children, try and volunteer with them. Maybe you will end up working in a school or a daycare and you will be happy you have that experience with children.
Really think about it before you get a tattoo. Think about the placement and design for a very long time before you commit. This is because–like everything–styles of tattoos come and go. Maybe you picked out an awesome tribal tattoo for your very first, because tribal tattoos are the coolest thing ever. How will you feel ten years later when someone points out how clichéd and lame tribal tattoos are? (Could this be an example from my actual experience? I’ll let you decide.) In general, I would also caution you to put those tattoos where they can be hidden, especially when you are just starting down the tattoo path. You’ve got your whole life to splash them across your body. Put the first ones where they can’t be seen until you know that you want to be the kind of person who has visible tattoos. It’s possible that in 10 years, you won’t be that kind of person.
Drinking and Drugging
Think carefully about drinking and using drugs. If you are going away to a new school, meeting really cool people and ready for new experiences, it’s tempting to dive right into everything. But you don’t really know these new friends and who knows if they will be the kind of friends you had back home who watched out for you while you were not 100% sober. John Green said once that there are those in college who say never to drink and those in collage to drink all the time. He advises that you probably don’t want to pick either of those factions. If you are going to drink, do it lightly and with care. You’ve got stuff to learn and assignments to complete. It’s best to minimize the fallout from your social time (read: hangovers). Also, that stuff’s expensive, and you’re probably underage which makes it illegal.
Take fun classes! You’ve got requirements to meet, sure, but find the most interesting classes you can to fulfill those requirements. As someone who wasn’t the biggest fan of science and math, I was pretty happy to take Botany and Anthropology to fulfill science requirements and Logic to settle the last of my Mathematics requirements. And I turned out to be awesome at Logic, which was not an experience I had in any other math class of my education. Maybe you love science and math but are dreading your humanities requirements. Find the crossover classes that sound interesting. Or just scan through the schedule and take what appeals to you. Maybe a class in memoir writing will be just what your physics-loving self desires.
Protein and PE
Eat protein every day and take a PE class every semester. I’m not kidding about the protein. There’s a good chance you will become a vegetarian/be faced with an entire dining hall devoted to pasta/have to cook for yourself for the first time in your life. Take it from me and HAVE PROTEIN WITH EVERY MEAL. And PE in college is awesome, plus it makes you exercise, which is good for your stress levels and health. Most colleges have really great choices in all areas of PE. I took everything from Ballroom Dancing to Advanced Swimming and Diving to Mountain Biking. I would have loved to squeeze in a hiking PE class, or learning how to kayak or scuba dive, but I had to graduate. If you take the class with friends, you have built in social time during the week too.
That’s all the random advice for today, collegiate friends. Good luck to you.
3 thoughts on “Essay: Advice for those in college, or planning on going.”
Nice advice! I so agree!!! Take fun classes! Dr. Sappington's anthropology class was a hoot. I didn't need it, but I loved it. And he was crush-ably dreamy looking in that Idaho rugged sort of way! I always has 18-21 credits because of choir and ballet. I took ballet classes every semester but one and it was hard but amazing. I even was able to do point work for a semester. I doubt that opportunity will come again. And choir. What can I say about that? It was hands down the best M-W-F 3:30-4:30 class I ever took. And I never skipped once, not once. I only missed class for the week my parents took my to Spain before spring break. I learned so much from that class and I was the only choir smillee still in it after our freshman year. 4 years of Big Choir were the MOST amazing! I loved every minute of it. I even wrote to the director and thanked him for the opportunity he gave me. He rewarded me with a great honor a few years later when the choir was visiting Boise. They were singing at the Grove and I still new a few members of the choir (younger sisters of friends, I think). Dan saw me in the hall and pulled me in to warm up with the choir! It was so awesome! I am not sure I could have had that experience anywhere else but college.
I would add:
Cherish your Time! This is a very special time in your life, where, while you are busy with the day-to-day duties of being a scholar, you will actually have the most freedom. You will have more free time and choices of how to spend that free time than you will in your future. Art, music, games, and fun will be right at your doorstep, just a walk on campus away from where you live. Everything will be relatively cheap, if you use your student ID to get into all of that art, music, games, and fun. Heck! It might even be free. This will not be the case in your "grown up" adult life. Take the moment and savor it!
Make Memories! Becasue of the above statement – this is your time! Do everything you can to make awesome memories and have cool experiences. I would say, record it all in some way. Take pictures! Make photo albums. Be sure to record the fun silly thing you do with your roommates (The biggest hair competition that arose between my roommate and me one late night of studying – is quite classic. And I have the photographic evidence to prove it!).
These are great additions. Anyone else should feel free to add suggestions too.
I agree with all of these and have nothing to add except an anecdote. My senior year, I had a full course load (and I worked like 20 hours per week) but I took Tai Chi anyway just because it sounded fun and relaxing. I have never regretted that decision. It was a great class. I still remember it well, long after my memories of many other college classes were lost in the mists.