What I Took Away from my First Year of College

So, I haven’t posted in two months. I have to do better, I know. I’ve been busy. There were finals, interviews, and lots more excuses that I could make as to why I’ve been neglecting you beautiful people. In short, I’m sorry. I could say it won’t happen again, but I’d probably be lying. I’m getting busier every day but that’s only because I’m trying to take full advantage of what my amazing campus has to offer.

My freshman year of college is over. I honestly can’t believe it. It flew. I met an amazing bunch of people, especially my marvelous roommate Marina.

Here’s what I learned.

I was a star in high school. Not a casual far away star that could be seen in some night settings, but basically, I was the sun. No one really knew up until my senior year though when college admissions came out and I was the only one who got into Duke, Swarthmore, and a couple other top schools. I was captain of the softball team, secretary of NHS, started my own business.. and the list continues. Even though I’m now a student at The University of Florida, I can honestly tell you that my high school achievements don’t matter at all. Not one bit. Not one single bit. No one cares what you did in high school. You have a fresh start. For some, it’s facilitative, but for me it definitely took some adjusting.

I had to go to the library and study? You mean, open a book and stare at the information and hope that it seeped into my neurons somehow? Three ‘B’s my entire high school career and I had never studied a day in my life. I was lost and confused and really not used to not being one of the best in my classes of over 400 people. I didn’t fail, but I didn’t do as well as I could. In short, learn which way of studying works for you. For some, it’s group efforts, maybe it’s reading, maybe it’s being tutored (which costs), whatever way it is make sure to figure it out fast.

Friends. Join organizations and friends will find you. It’s a little harder making friends in college because you’re not surrounded by a particular group of people unless you choose to be. There are so many great organizations. Yes, some are extraordinarily competitive and some you can come and go as you please, but make sure you find your niche. Don’t waste all your time in your room. It’s bad for your mental health and maybe even your physical. The dust in those dorms is crazy.

Partying? Mama’s not here anymore to tell you when to come home. For some, this is not a big change from what they’re used to, for others, they’ve entered a parallel universe. Make SURE you balance your partying and your schoolwork. Exam tomorrow? “But– but that pa–.” No. I promise you, they’re not much different from one another. There will be another party tomorrow.
Can I drink? What is this guy offering me? Should I smoke? Should I go home with him? These are all questions you should ask yourself. While I wouldn’t recommend to ever ever ever use any drugs, the fact of the matter is that many students do. Some can handle it, some crash and burn, and in the case of UF, some have died. Be careful. Never take anything from someone you don’t know. I know you’ve read it in the pamphlet. You’re going to hear it at preview. You’re going to read it in your required drug and alcohol course again, but I’m reiterating because of its sheer importance.

So, you got an 89.whatever? Did you go to this professor’s office hours? Would he know you if you saw him in the hallway? No? Well then, you’re stuck with an 89. I had to learn this the hard way. I was a quarter of a point from getting an A in macroeconomics. Oh well. Again, this isn’t high school anymore. If the syllabus says “grades will not be rounded.” They probably won’t be rounded. It sucks. Professors have so many students that they can’t give special treatment. Suck it up and study harder next time. On the off chance you did form a bond with your professor that semester, I’d go talk to him/her, but don’t expect anything.

Networking. Now, I’m a business student, so networking may be a little bit more important to me than someone studying health sciences or engineering but all in all, it’s such an important part of college. Is a company coming to your school? GO. Are there organizations who bring in speakers? GO. You could be missing out on the opportunity of a lifetime. I was searching for internships this summer and called a representative of Deloitte only to find out that I’d missed their deadline. “Did you go to Career Showcase?” he asked, “Uhhh-ermmm-uhhh.” Yeah. I would’ve known their deadline had I gone. You better believe I won’t miss another one.

Are you attending a PWI? I designed this as a black girl blog, so I have to face the debate I really do not like discussing. PWI vs HBCU? Honestly, go wherever is the best combination of financial value, alumni connections, and coursework rigor. I promise you, black people exist at PWIs. Most PWIs have their own black community. Because UF is so massive, our black community essentially functions like an HBCU. Do what your heart desires, but don’t end up regretting it later if you’re sitting on piles of debt or piles of your own resume because you can’t get a job.

Well.

I think I’ve covered my main points. If you have any questions, you know where to find me. Twitter, Facebook Messenger, or you can email this email account.

xo
-Crys.

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