Happy Cinco de Mayo! Other than just celebrating our love of everything Mexican, do you know what the Fifth of May means? For you seniors, you’ve decided where you’re going to school next year! For you juniors, well, you’ve got a long way to go. But we’ll still be here helping you through it, so don’t worry.
No matter where you ended up going, there are a few pieces of advice that I wish I’d known coming into first year:
- Don’t expect to be the best of the best. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean don’t try. In fact, I encourage you to try to be at the top of your class. But colleges take the elite students from all of the high schools, so you might not do as well in college as you did in high school. Most of you might actually have to start studying…I did, because college was certainly much harder than high school for me.
- Learn to manage your money early. I thought I was fine on the money front…but then Wings Over, Campus Cookies, and late night Cookout happened a lot…that always hungry thing? That’s where all your money goes when you inevitably run out of plus dollars after like 3 weeks.
- Leave the Library. College is about more than studying! Make friends, have fun, find something you never knew you loved. These will be the best four years of your life, before you have all the responsibility of the real world, so make the most of it while you’re here! Grades matter, but the difference between an A and a B really isn’t all that much in the long run.
- Get involved. A piece of stereotypical college advice, but it’s true, and goes along with leaving the library: find something that you really care about and throw yourself into it. It’s harder to get leadership positions in college, but if that’s something you want to do you can certainly find some space for it! But remember you’ll have the most time your first year, so explore all of your options, even if it’s something you’ve never tried before, and find something that you want to stick with.
- Take the classes you want and not the ones you think you should take. You have the time in your schedule to take the fun classes on topics you’ve never heard of before, so take advantage of it. Once you declare your major you’ll have plenty of time to take those boring or ridiculously hard required classes.
- Don’t get caught up in a name. Brand name schools or brand name personal belongings usually aren’t worth the sticker price. Be it where you want to go to school or what you want to wear on a daily basis, make sure you decide based on what’s best for you. Trust me, you’ll be a lot happier for it. I chose UVA over a school with a bigger brand name, and though that decision was super rough back in high school, if I had to make that decision again I’d choose UVA in a heartbeat.
- Go to football games. We have 8 home games next year, and there’s so much tradition in Scott Stadium that you’d be hard pressed to make me miss it. Even if we’re getting smashed by Oregon, it’s still a big deal that a team of that caliber would want to travel all the way across the country to play us.
- Buy two laptop chargers. Keep one in your room, and one in your backpack, that way you won’t lose one or be stuck on grounds without a power cord. That being said, consider getting a common laptop so that you can share power cords…the three most common ones of course being a Mac, a Dell, or a Lenovo ThinkPad depending on what school you’re in. But really, buying a second power cord was the best $20 I’ve ever spent.
- If you have an iPhone, get an Otterbox. Everything breaks in college. Literally everything. Protect your phone, because iPhones, while wonderful, break at the most inconvenient times.
- Seriously, everything breaks. Don’t buy nice quality furniture or large items. Be prepared for anything you buy to break or be lost. It may not be, but it’s certainly better to be prepared for that to happen.
- There’s a reason I talk about food so much. It’s also the reason I’m so poor. In college, your parents aren’t feeding you, so you will always be hungry. Also always in need of caffeine, because who has time to sleep when there are football games to go to?
Just a few pieces of general advice based on my experiences here…take it or leave it, but no matter what, make sure you love your school. It doesn’t really matter where you go as long as you’re going to have fun and remember those four years.