9 things you need to know before starting your 1st year of college

So you’re gearing up for your first year of college — and I’m sure you have this feeling of excitement, yet nervousness for what lies ahead. Before I give you any advice, understand this:

“You are about the enter the most growing, exhilarating, and difficult time of your life.”

You will change within these next four years more than you have changed throughout your entire lifetime. So rather than approaching this stage of your life with nervousness, get prepared! Here’s what you need to know:

1. GET UNCOMFORTABLE — You are getting ready to place yourself in an environment where there may be different types of people that you’ve never interacted with before. Rather than pushing your ideals onto them, be open to listening to their standpoint.

2. Join EVERYTHING — You won’t know what your interests are or what you like, until you know what you don’t like. So write your email down for that Technology Club, or Law Association, then if you don’t like what you’re doing — at least now you know that.

3. Stay FOCUSED — Your ultimate goal for going to college is to get your degree. Never lose sight of that, because if you do you are doing nothing but taking up valuable time and space. So if you’re ever in a situation where you have to choose between studying for that big exam, and going to a party — STUDY!

4. Build relationships — Post-grad life is all about WHO you know, rather than what you know. Get in good with your professors, advisors, and even find a couple of mentors. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be applying programs where you will need recommendation letters. This is where your personal relationships come into play.

5. Be a giver, AND a taker — this goes hand in hand with the previous point. Relationships are a two-way street. So not only should you surround yourself with people who add value to your life, but you need to make sure you are adding value to theirs as well!

Check out this article where I highlight the importance of your circle.

6. Clean up your social media — Now more than ever, people are watching you and the things you say/upload to your social media accounts. You are now a representation of everything that you stand for, so you want to make a good impression. Limit the profanity, revealing pictures, and nonsense. You’ll quickly realize the value in this.

7. Gain experience — Recruiters and any graduate schools you plan on attending love to see that you have time management. Yes grades matter, but experience matters even more. Get a part-time job, take on a leadership position in a club, or even do an internship/work-study. Oh yeah, and don’t have your only involvement be within a fraternity or sorority!

8. Establish credibility — This point really brings all the others together. Everything you do, every involvement you choose, every person you surround yourself with, plays into your credibility. Work to become the go-to person for SOMETHING during your time in college. For me, I was the go-to person for diversity related topics and issues.

9. HAVE FUN — This is a very unique experience that will mold your mind, soul, and yes — even your body (Hello, freshman 15). So enjoy it, soak it all in, and strive to learn as much as you can within these next four years.

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