Confessions of a Graduating Senior: 5 Things I Wish My Freshman Self Knew

by Malcolm Angoya   |  Jan 25, 2023
Image: Pexels Art: Pau Moyano
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As I enter my last semester in college, there are a lot of things I wish I had done differently or wish I had known before starting this new chapter in my life. No one tells you that college is a whole different realm from high school, and that you *will* make mistakes. I definitely did, so here are some general tips from a senior that every freshman should hear before they head off to college:

5 Things I Wish my Freshman Self Knew

  • Find a good study hub.

While some students are capable of studying at home, others like me find it difficult to focus when there are distractions everywhere. I eventually discovered the ~*magic*~ of study hubs, and it was an absolute game-changer. These are spaces where you can *actually* get some work and studying done, be it coffee shops or study lounges to get your brain juices a-flowin'. 

But what makes a good study hub? You know you've found a good one if it ticks off the essentials: (1) has sufficient sockets, this is so you wouldn't have to fight for your right to charge your devices; (2) a productivity-conducive environment, the ambiance should encourage work efficiency; and (3) it must be student-friendly, you should be able to stay long hours so you can study to your heart's content!

  • If it's not mandatory, join anyway!

One of my biggest regrets is taking too long to join a school organization. I can't think of a better way to find people who share the same drive, passion, and mindsets as you. You would also be exposed to tons of events both in and out of school. It is definitely not mandatory, but if you're having trouble making friends or finding your passion—a school organization is the way to go!

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Send out your applications, join seminars, and attend school clubs! Get involved in the community and make the most out of your college experience.

  • Friends come and go.

This one took me a long time to learn, but it's an important lesson that I've had to face in college. I've had my fair share of toxic and unhealthy friendships, aka friends who weren't contributing positively to my life. I got worked up over and fixated on the wrong people, and it made my grades drop and my stress rise.

Losing friends is not always a bad thing. In fact, it opens up doors for the possibility of meeting new people. College is filled with people who have ambitions and interests similar to yours. It's fine to let go of old friends, relationships, and ideas to make room for new perspectives and companionship. At first, it can be hard to adapt to an entirely different group of people, but once you find the right people, I promise, it will get easier.

  • Always plan ahead.

You won't always graduate with the same people you started college with. I can't even count how many of my classmates changed their majors or even transferred to other universities during my stay in college. This affects graduation timelines, financial needs, and overall well-being.

While the road to success looks different for everyone, it's a pretty good idea to identify your interests before college or even during freshman year. Work at your own pace, but *always* plan ahead. This is your education and future we're talking about. You should be invested in finding the career path that works best for you.

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  • Take college seriously.

My freshman self would *constantly* need the reminder that college is expensive. With that amount of money and your future at stake, don't take your classes lightly. Planning a night out with your besties? Make sure you are caught up on all your backlogs. There's a new Netflix show you want to binge? Plan for it on the weekend.

Make sure you're capable of finding a balance between your social endeavors and your academic goals. Trust me—you don't want to look back on your college life and regret being all study and no fun, or all fun and no study. Go ahead and enjoy your time in college, but don't forget why you're there in the first place.

REAX!
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Malcolm Angoya
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