Things I wish Someone had Told Me

You’ve flipped the tassel and, armed with a diploma, you are ready to march out into a whole new world: college.

With a lot of excitement and apprehension, you smile at every “Congratulations!” and repeat your well- practiced speech about what you’re doing in the fall. But inside, you’re quaking.

If you were being honest, you’re terrified.

At least I was.

I mean, college is a scary place and for the homeschooler, you are walking into a place and an experience you know nothing about. That’s terrifying for anyone. The good news is people survive that same transition every single year. I survived it and I learned some very important lessons along the way.

Ask Questions – Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s perfectly normal to have questions and not understand something. If you have a question in class, just ask it! Your professors will be thrilled.

Get a Planner and Use It! – Remember that planner you hid in a drawer somewhere? Well, get it out and use it! Look at the syllabi your professors give you and write down all the assignments and due dates so you know when everything needs to be done and turned in. Or use the calendar/notes on your phone or computer to schedule in assignments and let it remind  you when they are due. It’ll make your life a thousand times easier, believe me.

No, You’re Not Going to Change the World Right Away – Wait, what? Really? Yes. Really. Believe it or not, you have a lot to learn. You’ll always have a lot to learn. Give yourself time to do so and cultivate the humility to learn from mistakes so you don’t make the same ones again.

Get Involved (But Not Over-involved) – Within your first few weeks, you are going to be bombarded by a swarm of clubs, student councils, and activities, all clamoring for you to join them. It’s easy to be overwhelmed or easily persuaded and sign up for more than you can handle. Conversely, don’t be like me and be so terrified of being over-committed that you end up under-committed. Instead, choose one or two that interest you the most and join those.

Learn! – Yes, contrary to popular belief, you are not at college to party…you are there to learn. Think about it: you are getting a college education, something a lot of people around the world don’t even get the opportunity to pursue. You’re sitting in lectures every day hearing from professors who have studied for years on topics they are passionate about.  Don’t take it for granted; rather, use every class and assignment as an opportunity to learn.

Call Your Parents – They want to hear from you, trust me. Just pick up the phone and call them in between classes or on your way to dinner; it’s not that hard!

Have fun! – You are at college to learn and while that should be your first priority, you also need to have fun. Hang out with your friends. Go someplace fun on the weekends. Explore coffee shops around your school. While college is a time to work hard (and you’ll have to work very hard), it’s important to find a balance between work and play.

I’ll be honest, those first few weeks at school are going to be challenging. But give yourself time to settle into the pace and rhythm of college and you’ll soon realize it’s starting to feel like home. College is a wonderful and memorable season of life and I would encourage you to enjoy every day…it goes by way too fast.