After graduation, it’s common to think back on what life lessons were learned during the time spend in university. We often find ourselves reflecting on what we’d have done differently if we’d known better and could do it all over again. Here are 21 things that many people wish they’d known when they started college:

  1. It’s okay to take easy classes or general education your freshman year! Freshman year is the year to enjoy before life gets too hectic and crazy. By taking advanced classes right off the bat, you won’t be able to spend as much time hanging out with friends or participating in hobbies/clubs. Also, your major might change and then those advanced classes will be for nothing.

2. Avoid taking 8:00 AM classes. They’re miserable and you probably won’t retain much if you’re tired. 

  1. Learn how to manage money early on. You can save THOUSANDS if you learn how to create and stick to a budget. 
  2. Don’t buy every textbook that’s listed for your classes until you know it’s 100% required! 

5.There’s no shame in buying used textbooks. New textbooks are VERY VERY expensive. 

  1. Sell back your textbooks right after the semester ends. Don’t wait a few semesters before you try to sell back your textbooks since many professors change their required textbook lists.  
  2. Make time to volunteer! Any volunteer experience looks really good on a resume and the act of volunteering will also be enjoyable and humbling. 

8. Join an organization or club Freshman year. Becoming a club member will help you make friends that share common interests. Also, if you grow with the organization, you can become an executive member or president in your junior or senior year. 

  1. Make every effort to be punctual! It isn’t worth being late to class because you wanted to curl your hair, put on makeup or grab Starbucks. Being late becomes a habit that’s hard to break and it can follow you after graduation. Some professors also hold grudges if students routinely come into the classroom late. 
  2. Changing your major is very common and nothing to feel ashamed about. It’s perfectly fine if what you considered your ‘dream job’ or intended major aren’t bringing you the happiness you thought they would. It’s better to change your major to something you’ll be happy with than barreling through and ending up with thousands in debt and a career path that you hate. 

11. Take advantage of your professor’s office hours if you need the extra help. If your professor isn’t available, see if your university offers free tutoring options or other helpful resources. 

  1. A part time job is a great idea but don’t overlook side hustle options which are likely going to be much more flexible and might pay in cash.
  2. The coping mechanisms you have in college will follow you. Be careful if you partake in addictive habits when stressed. 

14. Donate blood and plasma! Donating plasma is a great way to make some extra cash and you’re saving lives.

  1. Attend parties if you want to but be careful and take care of your friends. 
  2. A lot of the people you befriend in college won’t be your friend forever. Many of the friends you make are going to be ‘proximity friends.’ Because of this, don’t burn bridges with your friends from High School when you make friends in college. 

17. Study abroad! The memories you’ll make will be priceless. 

  1. Intern in the field you want to join a career in. This will be great experience for your resume especially since many ‘entry level’ jobs actually require experience. 
  2. Ask a career counselor at your university to help you with your resume and cover letter. They might have connections for you and be able to help you land your first job. 
  3. Enjoy your time in college. After graduation you’ll definitely miss university life.
  4. Don’t take life so seriously. You’re going to be fine so stressing about everything won’t help. 

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