So when I graduated I was the happiest person in the world. I thought about every stressful situation, every heartache, every defeat, every victory and it made me realize just how strong I was to get through it all. I was happy to finally have my degree. The very next semester I cried walking in a Walmart because there was no more school. I know I am a rare person most folks would have rolled over and slept or even just went to work but I didn’t. College had really been so much fun and a place for me to learn about myself.
I literally wouldn’t be the woman I am had I not gone through the experience. It helped me to see others for who they really were too. One of the biggest things I got from Penn State outside of the education was a lifetime supply of friends. College isn’t for everyone. I don’t look down on anyone who hasn’t gone. It seems like a party all the time but it’s not. It’s hard work. There are many students who start out and don’t finish. I would be lying if I told you that there were many days I wanted to quit. I cried a lot. I was stressed. I had disappointing times. End of the day it was something that I wanted so I fought and won. If you want to take the journey into college whether that’s community classes, a big or small university or college it’s your choice to make. Make sure to be clear what you want and if you decide to change your mind that’s fine too, but be sure and prepared to do the work to graduate. To some college is just a piece of paper but I call it the proving grounds. If you are a graduate of higher education do NOT let anyone make you feel bad for attending. You did the work and like me may even be a first generation college student. I had many people tell me how stuck up I was. I had people say I thought I was too good. I wasn’t. I simply made my plan and with detours in the way made it happen.
To incoming freshman embrace this new life you are about to embark on. It is the most challenging and most rewarding one yet.
My last key things to remember:
Breaks: It doesn’t matter if its Fall, Spring or Holiday breaks take them. Try to spend time with family but also go on one trip with your new friends. It is the time to have a blast so don’t waste it sitting on campus unless you are working getting your coins.
Meal Plans: I had one of the biggest meal plans but like most colleges they have places off campus where you can use them and of course they eat up your points. Try to do this every now and again or prepare to eat Ramen noodles and spaghetti O’s.
Refunds: It seems like a big check in the beginning but once you account for all of your needs during the semester which will also include entertainment try to budget especially if you don’t have a job or work-study.
Off Campus Apartments: Make sure you either have a reliable car or get familiar with the bus system in your town. Make sure that you pick convenient living arrangements.
Roommates: Do not always choose your closest friends to live with. I did and had no issues but just because you are friends does not mean you can live with one another. I have seen friendships end fast. You do not know how another person lives. I was a neat freak it drove my roommates crazy but we were able to live together.
Romance: If you read my college blogs you know that I ended up marrying my college sweetheart but not everyone ends up with that love story. Make sure the one you decide to make public and date on campus is on the same page. Dating should never interfere with your grades. So if you are dating someone who is encouraging you to let your grades slack you already know what to do. You both came to get an education so get it. Be balanced. Yo do not need to be joined at the hip. Separate us time, me time, friends time, school time, and maybe work time. This is practice for when you get into the real world or get married its the same expectations. If you were interested in certain activities continue them. Keep the campus folks out of your business. Rumors spread faster on campuses so be aware of what you allow out.
Laundry: Many students do not take laundry into account. Most campuses have machines that take cards, points or some type of monetary exchange. Please consider the options. Mom and dad love you but no wants to see a semester worth of clothes coming home.