By Mariel | June 2, 2011
My sister is graduating from high school in three weeks. I can’t believe that she is about to embark on the same exciting college journey that I started two years ago and am still on. Hers will be different I’m sure, as everyone’s experiences in life are different. We are incredibly alike and incredibly different, but are the best of friends and share everything with each other. She will be attending Syracuse University which fortunately for both of us, is only two hours away from Buffalo, so she will be a lot closer to me than she will be to home and will also be closer to another family member than I was when I first came to Canisius.
I am in the process of making her a memory/scrapbook for her graduation. I guess you could call it an advice book. Putting together this book of tips and tricks for college has got me thinking a lot about the real meaning of college and what I’ve gotten out of it so far. I’ve also been thinking about the nature of how I and most other college students spend their time. So, in the spirit of advice, here are just some of the tidbits of advice and tricks for surviving college that I’ve come up with, in the hopes that they might inspire, teach, or just provide knowing chuckles for those of you who have already experienced these woes.
- You are never truly alone. Whether they’re down the hall, in the bed next to you, or in your next classroom, there is always a friend or listening ear to be found, and most of the time they’re a lot closer than you would think.
- Never before and never again will you ever share so much with people who you have known for so little time.
- Make friends with upperclassmen. They will give you a different and much-needed perspective on college other than the typical “party all night!!!” freshmen approach to college life.
- Sustainability is the key to surviving college. Yes, you can stay up all night and eat nothing but Ramen for two weeks straight, but that doesn’t mean that you should, and more likely, it will result in poor test performance or substituting night sleep for class sleep, which is never good.
- Invest in a pair of walking shoes. Or just a pair of wandering shoes. Take time to explore where your feet can take you. It will clear your mind and open your eyes. Just make sure that you remember how to get back.
- Schoolwork is at once more important and less important. More, because you really do need to learn from it, and because a good GPA never hurt anyone. Less, because while good grades will get you traditional success, its the time that you will with activities other than studying that gets you the gold stars on your resume. Clubs, leadership activities, sports, and volunteering all help you stand out as more than a number in a test booklet.
At the risk of sounding like a wizened old maid who has all of the infinite wisdom of the ages, those are some rudimentary bits of advice. I don’t have all of the answers and some of the above statements might even sound ludicrous to some people. All I know is what I am doing in the moment and what is working for me. I guess at the root of everything, that’s really what college is all about, right?
Here’s to making your own additions and revisions to the list!