It’s that time when Facebook and Twitter are fully of weepy parents dropping their child off for the first year of college. I get it, I do because I got weepy dropping the resident 5 year old off for Vacation Bible School this summer. Don’t worry – I made her eat Ramen Noodles and trash her room all week so she would get the full college effect (she was in heaven).
However looking back on my college years and the years since then, I have a few words of advice for those going off to college.
#1. Regret is going to happen but you have control of how much.
11 years after college there’s still things I regret. I can and have forgiven myself and moved on but the regret is still there. What if my kids one day ask me, “mommy did you ever do this when you were in college?”. That question is going to sting.
Some of it I don’t regret because it’s just part of growing up and the college experience. But without a doubt, I took some of it overboard, brought it back to the surface and then threw it overboard again.
At college you’re going to make mistakes and screw up because you’re not perfect. It’s natural.
BUT – there are mistakes that you may never be able to move past such as drunk driving and killing someone.
Don’t let college be your excuse to act like an idiot. This is not the time to make as many regrets as possible that are currently masquerading as “living a little”. Whatever you do now that is truly stupid, you will regret and it will be with you for a long time.
Is that what you truly want? Make a vision for your life that includes your goals and where you want to be in 10 – 15 years. Chances are that your life will change and probably not meet that vision but it will help you stay on course rather than be jerked off of it by giving your new adult wings a crazy test drive.
#2. Take the classes you want to take.
My grandfather gave me this advice when I was in college. He told me that never again in my life would I be unattached and as free as I was right then in my life. So I needed to learn and experience everything I truly wanted to before I started working or had a family.
Let’s just say that I took a TON of electives. If there was a degree in electives, I’d have my masters.
But – there’s not one electives class that I can say I haven’t used since then. There are several core curriculum classes that I haven’t used but the electives that I chose and wanted to learn about reflected my passions.
They weren’t all electives either. I took a botany class to learn more about plants and loved it so much that I almost changed my major. Now I can identify a lot of plants and I know which ones make great toilet paper if nature ever calls while in nature.
Take the classes that you truly want to take now while you can.
#3. Take a financial class, or ten of them.
Dave Ramsey would go postal on me for saying this but if you have to go into debt with school loans to learn how to manage your personal money, it’s worth it.
I did not take any financial classes and I regret it.
All the sudden you’ll be out in the world making your own money and what are you supposed to do with it? How can you manage it? (P.S. buying a lot of shoes is not managing your money.)
I wish that I knew more about managing money and all the different things you can do to to increase your bank account such as investments and the stock market.
Also here’s the shocker – most people that open their own business did not grow up saying that they wanted to be a small business owner when they grew up. Managing money and books is a huge part of owning a business.
Life is going to change and offer you great opportunities such as owning your own business and you need to be prepared. College is a time to prepare not only for your career but the next 60-70 years of your life. How do you want to live it?
That tattoo you want to get? Imagine it rippled and hanging 3 inches lower. Gravity, you’ll be familiar with it one day.
Stop refusing to be in pictures because you don’t like the way your body looks. Kids are coming… if you think it’s bad now just wait and you’ll find out what bad really is!
When you wait on a table full of little kids, don’t judge those parents – take notes!
Love is rarely found at a frat party while wearing a toga.
College is fun and adventurous. Don’t be scared or shy! Just be you.
But be the smartest you that you can be when it comes down to the choices you make in your first year of college.
Also – call home. Your mom misses you.