14 Things I’ve Learned During My First Two Weeks of College

I’ve only been in college for two weeks now, but I’m learning something new almost every day. I thought I’d share some tips.

~Let’s start, shall we?~

1. You can save yourself a headache by setting time aside for homework.
In other words, don’t procrastinate. It’s not good for your health and it’s definitely not good for your grades. Keep in mind that one way or another, you’re paying for your classes, whether you have scholarships or not.

2. Prepare yourself for a class you never expected to take (by looking through the college’s course book).
I don’t know about other colleges, but whenever you visit the campus on a tour, ask what the foundation classes are.
I asked and was given a thick, intimidating course book. Lo and behold, the mandatory classes for my major were art-based classes.
AKA drawing classes.
I didn’t practice any techniques over the summer at all because I thought drawing would be easier than writing.
(It’s not.)
Drawing is so not my thing, and my only advice is to set yourself up for success and study the classes that might give you trouble.
Watch tutorials on math problems, brush up on your chemistry or scientific notation.
In other words, do what you need to do to have an advantage. You’ll thank yourself later.

3. Speaking of unexpected classes, practice doing your thing so it won’t feel so bad when that surprise class makes you feel awful.
When I say your thing, I mean the thing you’re plannng to major in.
It helps if you enjoy doing it and that you didn’t assign yourself a random major to get your parents, friends, and other people interested in your life off your back.
I understand that some people don’t have a major yet, being Undecided (a popular major that’s not a major) and only have something they enjoy doing.
Point is: do that thing.
Writing is my thing, so I spent more time writing (I wrote more fanfics than short stories) than drawing or watching TV when I was in high school. I love every phase of writing now.
Work on your thing (your hobby, mojo, craft) so you can be good at it.
Then, when you have to take those surprise classes that just so happen to be all about that weak skill you never practiced, you can tell yourself, “________ isn’t what I came here to get a major in.”
And for those who only have a hobby, you can promise yourself some time with that hobby later.
No rush on deciding that major, okay? *pats on back*

4. You’re not the only one who thinks they’re bad at something.
Yes, even the masters right beside you will dislike something about their masterpiece. It’s reassuring and saddening because it means that even the ones who are skilled in their craft will (almost) always find fault with their work.
Hearing the pro with godly skills that put your work to shame complain aloud will not only make you feel better, but it will also wrap the person you may or may not be envying back up in their human skin.

5. You need a familiar face more than you think.
I missed the first day of college due to car trouble.

I know what you’re thinking and here are the answers:
A. I don’t live on campus.
B. I couldn’t take a bus to get to my classes.
C. I don’t have a car – my mother doesn’t have a second car for backup.

I was forced to check online and email a few strangers in the class rooster to ask for the notes they would take in class. Only one of them responded back to me and we became friends.
She’s in two of my classes and seeing her makes me less nervous when I’m surrounded by almost complete strangers.
But what if you make it to school your first day and you can’t speak, too nervous to say anything?
Fake the confidence until its real and you’ll forget to be nervous.
If you can’t do this, dig around.

Ask them to talk about themselves.
Examples include:
A. What’s your major (a famous question on the first few weeks of college)?
B. Where are you from?
C. Do you like this class?

And, if you’re really struggling in that surprise class and you’re sitting next to a pro:
“Hey, how do you do _____?”
Ask them for help with that technique you hate so much. They might have some tips. *wink*

6. Some people will pretend they don’t see you.
Keep in mind some people have a problem with eye contact and I’ve never paid attention to this until now. It’s funny how you start noticing things after a certain age.
Don’t get me wrong. I noticed this back in high school, but I guess now that I don’t know too many people in college and I’m trying to be as open as possible, I’ve noticed that some people aren’t. This leads me to number seven.

7. Be as friendly as possible. (That’s right. Smile.)
Someone needs a friend, but they have problems showing it. You’d be surprised what a smile can do.
Oh, and compliment someone. Genuinely.
That helps, too. Some people spend their whole lives thinking and living like they’re invisible. Let people know that you can see them (and that they look awesome).

8. Not everyone is judging you.
Reread the above. You see the “not everyone” part?
Before you start freaking out and hyperventilating (you poor nervous thing, you), calm down.
You judge yourself every day. Sometimes harshly, right?
Same thing, only it’s coming from someone else.
Besides, they’re probably being lenient anyway and if not, then who cares?
The odds of you seeing that person for all four years of college and then after college are pretty slim.
You won’t remember them in two years time, unless they try to shame you. And that brings me to number nine.

9. You have to be confident in your own skin (and then what other people say won’t bother you).
I’ve been wearing the same ugly, knee-length, autumn-patterned sweater for a whole week because these buildings are cold.
Did it bother me how ugly this sweater is? At first, yes.
But then I walked into my classrooms that are currently trapped in Antartica and this ugly sweater (I think I’ll call him Sylvester) became my best friend. I snuggle with this thing now when I’m in McDonalds at 7am in the morning.
Why? Because it’s cold and Sylvester is warm. I may not like Sylvester, but I need him and he’s starting to grow on me.
Do you like how you look right now? You might find something on yourself that you don’t like right now, but one day it won’t bother you anymore.
And if it bugs you that much, then you should do something about it.
But even then, you have to ask yourself: Does it matter what anyone else thinks?

No, for three reasons:
A. They are not you.
B. They will never be you.
C. You are the only you.

If there were three Taias walking around wearing super awesome sweaters that were warmer than mine, then I’d feel bad wearing Sylvester.
But there aren’t three other Taias. There’s only one me and for the only Taia Dominique, I draw pretty okay and I’m rocking Sylvester even though I’m wearing colors that contradict Sylvester in every way.

So, for the only you in the world, you’re doing great.
And if you really want to change ______ so badly, then do it.
Do what it takes to feel good in your own skin and your self-esteem will thank you and begin to feed your Confidence Bear.

10. Food becomes important (more than it was in high school and you’d think it would be impossible).
You can eat at eight in the morning, have class three hours later and another after that one, and by four in the afternoon, you will be starving. Trust me.
Find a way to eat lunch between classes or pack a snack. You can’t pay attention when you’re hungry.

11. Sleep doubles in value.
I have to wake up at four in the morning to meet my ride to Savannah. I am super tired when I come home.
Needless to say, I’m craving sleep or coffee throughout the day.
Catch the Zzzs, guys. They’re important and apparently becoming an endangered species.

12. You can’t afford to not pay attention in class.
You literally cannot afford to daydream, hallucinate, or fall asleep during class.
Don’t do it. Stay awake and alert.

Might I suggest:
A. Grabbing some mentos, Tic-Tacs, and/or breath mints.
B. Drinking a fancy beverage from Starbucks, preferably one made poisonous with peppermint in it?
C. Eating a spicy soft taco from Taco Bell before class so the burning in your mouth keeps you awake?

Take your pick. Depending on the teacher, their enthusiasm for their class, and how interesting they make the material seem, you may need all of the above.

13. You’ll have moments when you wonder, “Why did I do this to myself?! Why am I going to college when it’s so expensive?”
It’s true. These moments tend to suck the life out of you.
Don’t dwell on them for long.

14. And you’ll have moments when you realize you’d rather be here than somewhere else.
These moments happen, too, and they’re much more fun to experience.
Right when you’re walking to class, you’ll get a rush of something sweet: joy. (Because yay! Freedom and new friends and new surroundings that are pretty bomb!)
You’ll realize you have events to be excited about, ex. meeting new people, going to parties (and being safe), stopping by athletic and other events hosted by your school to become a part of them, etc.
You’ll become proud of the fact that you’re investing in your future.
You’ll realize that your college is an exciting place, inspiring growth and (hopefully) good vibes.
And out of the blue, you become ready for the challenges coming your way.
Nervous, but ready.

~Finito!~

Thank you for reading and see you next Thursday.

-KHW


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