This summer has flown by. I seem to say that every year, but I really mean it this time! With the new semester close at hand, recent high school graduates are getting ready to become college freshmen. Much like a graduation tassel, their lives are about to take an exciting turn!
I certainly remember that feeling — a specific kind of excitement that made me very smiley, but also a little nauseous. I drove my fully packed car up the beautiful entrance to University of Mobile and knew I had made the right choice. The first few weeks of college felt like an extended summer vacation, with so many events, activities, people and food. The dreamy fog eventually cleared, and suddenly there I was – an actual college freshman!
Having recently graduated from University of Mobile, I think about the things I learned at college, many of which cannot be found in a textbook. Without further ado, here are eight important truths that college taught me:
1. Drink water.
Coffee is amazing, and Diet Coke is a treat, but dehydration is real. Get a refillable water bottle and carry it with you everywhere. This water bottle is now an extension of your soul, so neglecting it won’t do anyone any good. Seriously – it’s much easier to make an adult decision or two when your brain isn’t fried from your caffeine addiction.
2. Go to class.
About three weeks into the semester, you’re going to realize you can skip going to class without facing harsh consequences. Resist. Someone is paying a heavy dollar for you to have this privilege, so don’t laze the semester away. You think you can learn everything you need from the textbooks, but nothing can replace face-to-face instruction. Wake up, have a cup of coffee, get dressed, and go to class. You’re here to learn, so hunker down and do it!
3. Carry a raincoat.
It rains in Mobile, and just when you thought it was clear, it rains again! Invest in a packable raincoat and bring that sucker with you everywhere you go. No matter how fast you run, the rain falls faster and puts a weird dent in the day. A little preparation here goes a long way.
4. Be present.
A general rule for life: put your phone away. When you’re in class, learn! Instagram will be there when you return. When having a conversation with someone (friend, professor, staff, or anyone at all), look them in the eyes and make a connection. One of the great things about University of Mobile is that the professors actually know you and they truly care, so give them the opportunity to do so. When it’s time to sleep, go to sleep! You’ll be surprised by how much more enjoyable life can be when you aren’t distracted by meaningless pictures and sounds.
5. Expect, then accept.
It’s completely fine to have expectations for your life, especially when it comes to your college experience. However, it’s not okay to hold onto those expectations as biblical truth. In all parts of life, accept the outcome and adjust accordingly. If you don’t do well on a test, let yourself feel the disappointment for a minute and then strategize for the next hurdle. If you have a relationship fall apart, analyze your actions, make amends, and move on. Life goes on whether we’re on board or not, so don’t fall behind out of inflexibility!
6. Walk it off.
You will come up short. You will miss assignments. You will crack on the high notes. You will say the wrong thing. You will be uninspired. Tough days are inevitable – walk them off. I mean this literally! This gets your mind off things and gives you a little time with nature’s healing wisdom, and UM’s 880-acre campus gives you plenty of room for a stroll. Plus, a little exercise certainly couldn’t hurt. Tie your shoes, put on your favorite Taylor Swift album, get outside, and walk it off.
7. Eat a salad.
When college students get together, they love to do one thing – eat! There’s food everywhere on campus and all over Mobile – especially amazing seafood. The possibilities are endless; that is, until your freshman 15 turns into a freshman 28. Carbs are delicious, but eat a salad, for Pete’s sake! I’m not talking about iceberg lettuce swimming in ranch dressing, but a proper salad with leafy greens and an assortment of other vegetables to assist. You’ll thank me in a few years.
8. Time flies.
You’ll get to the end of your freshman year with great memories, incredible friends, and probably a few extra inches on your waistline. One year turns into four years quicker than I care to admit. Take each opportunity and learn what it has to teach. Every moment brings a bit of truth, so find each one and hold them close. There is truth to the saying, “Time flies when you’re having fun.”