As a college graduate, I realize I learned so much from my alma mater, Kentucky State University. I learned my strengths, weaknesses, and other things about myself that I possibly wouldn’t have found out if I hadn’t gone to college. I have evolved into the current woman I am today and I have to thank my HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Kentucky State University is one) for that. I have decided to write seven significant things that I’ve learned from college because I want others to gain knowledge about surviving their institution and what they can learn through the journey. I wish someone had made a list for me to reference throughout college. That would have helped me a lot. However, I had to learn for myself. So, here it is: a list of things I’ve learned from attending college. I hope this list is relatable and helpful to current college students and can be shared by many.
1. Live life without being apologetic.
Life is too short. Like my mom used to tell me, “Life is not a dress rehearsal.” If you are hesitant to do, say, or look a certain way because you fear what people may say, then you are not truly living. You can’t please everyone with your choice. Be-“you”-tiful. Do things that make you and only you happy.
2. There is a difference between compromising and being a doormat.
In all relationships – from roommates, to a love interest, don’t bend yourself back too far because you could very well break. Know your limits. If you don’t know your limits, you need to get acquainted with them. People will take advantage of you if they are given the opportunity. Be smart. Guard your mind, feelings, and your heart.
3. Get an internship.
It has taken me almost a year to finally have an occupation that allows me to utilize my undergraduate degree. I strongly believe that what held me back from not getting a job in my field after graduating was the fact that I had not had an internship while at school. Employers want their employees to have experience and skills to bring to the table. An internship will help you stand out from the stack of resumes that they have to sort through. It will help give you that experience you need to go into the work field with confidence. If your college doesn’t give out much information about internship opportunities, you can always search for them online. You have the resources, and it’s up to you to use them.
4. Apply for the FASFA early.
The early bird catches the worm! Use that same mentality when it comes to applying for your FASFA. The earlier you apply, the more aid you could be offered. When I was in school, work study opportunities came at a first come, first served basis. Once the FASFA became available, I applied. I did this so I could have a better chance to receive more financial aid and possibly a work study job.
5. Join an extracurricular activity at school.
I strongly recommend joining an extracurricular activity. It is a great way to meet new people, network, strengthen your resume, and experience new things. I was in the concert choir while attending college and I got to experience traveling, meeting new people, and creating friendships. Whether it’s joining a fraternity or sorority, a club, or a group, putting yourself out there socially could make a difference in your life and leave you with wonderful memories.
6. Don’t pursue romantic relationships at work.
When it comes to having work relationships (in any job setting), it can get a little sticky. Most companies have a no fraternizing policy, which means you could get fired if you were to start a relationship with a co-worker. Also, some people can’t separate personal and professional with their significant other. It’s like salt and sugar – impossible to separate once they are mixed together. Focus on doing your job – finding someone (who doesn’t work at the same place you do) will happen in due time.
7. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the same thing applies to earning your degree.
Patience is key when obtaining your degree. It seems like four, five, or six years is a long time, but trust me, that timeframe goes by very quickly. Soak in everything you can while you’re in college. Don’t aim to take easy classes just so you can get A’s and move on with your life. Challenge yourself! Find classes that can challenge you intellectually. Don’t close yourself off from people, either. Find friends who encourage you to become a better you. These same friends could teach you a thing or two about life from their unique perspectives. If it wasn’t for the friends I have now, I don’t know where I would be in life. They have taught me so much about myself and life. I couldn’t get this valuable information from a classroom. College is supposed to be the best time of your life, so don’t count the days down to your graduation. Live in the moment and if you do that, after you graduate your degree will have more meaning to you than any framed piece of paper.