In honor of my seniors, here are five things I wish I knew when I graduated high school (yes, I realize it was only 7 years ago…):
1. Not everyone has to go to college: There are many paths in life, but the key thing is to do SOMETHING that will prepare you for a career.
2. Where you go to college doesn’t matter: It is what you do when you’re in college that matters (for the most part). Sure, going to an Ivy league school is a step above community college (and you’ll probably always have a leg up in interviews from a student at another school), but you can major in Psychology at Yale doing nothing and have a harder time finding a job than a VCU engineering student. Use your college experience as a tool for your future in regards to exposure, involvement and finding out who you are. Have fun, but also market yourself. No employer wants a student who drank for 4 years, made a C average and has no employable skills, even if he/she does have a degree.
3. Live in the moment: Everything you do doesn’t have to be about your future- explore, hang out with friends, go on random road trips, travel, enjoy, and don’t just take pictures but live what’s in those pictures. Life is more than about preparation; it is about living, enjoying and being. We are made to have fun, so while having goals are important, don’t forget to live while you are doing them. You’ll learn more about life by living it anyways.
4. Exercise: You won’t always look the way you do in high school (fat or thin) but health is the most important thing you can do to make for a long, enjoyable life. Take care of yourself while enjoying yourself. Life is all about balance, and in college it can be easy to tetter off that totter, but you’ll feel better about yourself in the long run by starting to take care of yourself NOW.
*I actually knew this, but it is so important I can’t leave it out!
5. Make everyone a friend: It is easy to overlook people, but you never know who will be a friend and change your life. People will surprise you, so give everyone a chance and have different kinds of friends. Venture out of your comfort zone in meeting people. Stick up for your beliefs when friends aren’t doing something you agree with. Have an opinion. Find something out about yourself from a friend. Different people bring out different parts of you, so don’t limit who you associate with. You are allowed to not like everyone, but don’t cut yourself off from people different from you. I find sometimes the greatest friends are ones you wouldn’t expect right away. Also, keep in touch with them as you move on in life- there is nothing better than reuniting with old friends!