When You're Halfway Done With College
I am halfway done with college, and this is what I've learned:
1. College is wonderful, but don't think you're alone if you have a rocky transition.
Everyone tells you how college will be the best 4 years of your life. What they fail to mention is that it is still a transition. You're often moving to a new place without the comfort of your hometown best friends. It's both scary and exciting to start fresh. You will meet people and make friends that become as close as your friends from home; sometimes it just takes time to find your people, but they're there so don't be discouraged. Social media can be very deceiving on this topic as well. You'll see constant pictures of people from high school with their new friends from college, but in reality they're still trying to find their niche too.
My Advice: Get involved and join clubs! I found my home in greek life, but you can as easily find yours within theater groups, sports teams, etc.
2. Finding a method of studying that works best for you is crucial.
Let's be honest, it wasn't always necessary to study for tests in high school. If you payed attention in class and did your homework, the amount of time you had to put into test prep was minimal. It was a shock to the system for me as a freshman in college. I realized that I had never mastered the art of studying before, and I was desperate to figure out something that worked. Especially when you have three tests a semester, you have to make them count. What ended up working for me was taking hand written notes in class (as opposed to on your laptop) prior to test prep, reading through class powerpoints as a basis for my studying, and then focusing in on concepts I don't understand. It sounds simple, but flashcards and study guides did not work for me. Everyone has different preferences!
My Advice: Test out different methods and study spaces. Once you find something that works well for you, studying is so much easier.
3. It is MORE THAN OKAY to change your major.
You’re not expected to have your life figured out by 18. Yes, there are some people who go into college knowing exactly what they want to do, but it’s definitely not the majority. Most colleges account for this and it is the reasoning behind freshman/sophomore requirements or gen-eds. Being required to take a variety of classes allows you to get a sense for what area you're most passionate about.
My Advice: Don't panic if you realize your original major isn't working out. You academic advisors will make the transition as smooth as possible for you. Switching your major is normal!
4. College is more than your GPA.
Yes, grades are important, but they're not everything. My mom (a very wise woman) always reminds me to experience everything college has to offer, meet people, do new things, make connections, and most importantly make memories. You want to be able to look back at your four years and remember how much of an adventure it was.
My Advice: Find a balance. You are still ultimately going to college for an education, so do your work and study hard. BUT, during free moments, opt for something other than watching Netflix (which I am so guilty of — my roommates will vouch for me).
I could probably go on for quite some time on this topic, but I'll spare you from reading an essay. Essentially, make the most of your experience because as a rising junior I can really see how fast it goes by. Be adventurous, find yourself, don't be afraid to make mistakes, and realize how lucky you are.