You’re making a major investment in your life when you enroll in college.
Considering the financial cost and the time you’re spending — it makes sense you want something to show for it besides a degree.
With so much importance riding on your success in school, it’s not the time for you to go wild. But, you can have impactful adventures if you do it right. College is a great time to enjoy your experiences and make long-term friends without sacrificing your future.
Between your studies, classes, and side jobs, or even during them, use these ideas to make some memories that will last forever while you’re in school!
1. Aim for a Balance
Most college students head into their first year of school with one of two mindsets. They want to explore their newfound freedom and have fun while they learn. Or they want to focus on getting the best education possible to ready them for the real world.
Both of these mindsets are part of learning who you really are, but they take balancing. Working hard is important, but so is enjoying yourself.
You might think that focusing on your classes and keeping your nose to the grindstone is the best thing you can do for your future. However, there is truth in the “too much of a good thing” adage. Academic burnout is a real problem, especially when you’re in a highly competitive program.
Study hard, but don’t be afraid to have fun and make some lasting memories! As you get to know yourself and your habits, watch for signs of extremes. When you notice an imbalance in too much work or too much play, correct your course.
More than anything, this self control will be a skill you need for the rest of your life.
2. Find the Right Crowd
No one chooses to be the odd person out. Desperately seeking friends, though, can get you in trouble. When you hang out with the wrong crowd, you’ll find yourself trying to fake who you are and what you enjoy doing.
The truest way to be happy is to be your authentic self. You’re still young and growing into who that person is, but you’ll know if the people you’re around and the things you are doing feel right.
Trust your gut and walk away from anything that makes you uncomfortable, even if it means losing friends. It’s one thing to step hesitantly outside your comfort zone; it’s another to be peer pressured into something dangerous or unethical to you.
Be willing to walk through academic life alone for a while as you watch others and get to know them. Try to connect with peers who have similar interests and goals.
3. Get a Part-Time Job
You can’t make memories while you’re stuck in your dorm or apartment. If your routine doesn’t put you naturally around other people, you’ll have to create your own ways to do this.
One of the most common and healthy ways to meet people in college, outside of the classroom itself, is through your work. Even if you don’t need one, find a part-time job that works around your schedule. Positions that cater to students tend to attract college-aged business, which is precisely what you’re looking for.
If your courses align right, you can also sign up for an internship. This gives you the double advantage of learning the tricks of the trade you’re planning on working in and meeting people at the same time.
4. Let Yourself Try New Things
College is a time of spreading your wings and seeing what is out there in the world. It’s a rite of passage for anyone furthering their education. You are not the first person to go through this season, and you won’t be the last!
Even though it may seem scary, have confidence that millions of people have traveled the same path you are on. They managed to juggle academics and a personal life, too. And they made plenty of memories along the way.
This is the time to try new things and learn what you like and don’t like as an independent adult.
Safety is always the crucial, number one thing, of course. But if it comes down to a decision between staying home and watching TV or trying out a new restaurant with a potential friend — go! You might have fun!
Climb out of the box you’ve been in until now. Know your limits, and don’t sacrifice your morals. Be open to trying new experiences you might not have thought you’d enjoy. You’re evolving, and as you do, so will your likes and dislikes.
5. Stop Stressing the Small Stuff (or the Big Stuff, Either)
When you’re looking back on college and telling your kids stories about your time there, do you really want it to all be one big stressful thought?
Remind yourself that you are one of the millions currently going to college in the world. It’s not easy to get good grades and balance all your other responsibilities. But it’s also not impossible!
Living in an environment of stress, even when you’re the one creating it, has dangerous effects on the body. Your muscles tense up, causing pain and discomfort. Your heart rate rises, causing the body to work harder.
The stress response process in your endocrine system creates increased cortisol. It’s a hormone that is helpful in short bursts but unhealthy over long periods.
Ultimately, too much stress can make you sick, which increases the problems. Instead of worrying, focus on what you can control and let the rest of your issues work themselves out.
In the long run, what will matter is that you made it through, got your degree, and continued on your path.
other valuable tips:
Your parents, teachers, counselors, and other well-meaning adults around you probably have given you lots of advice. Their words may have led you to believe that college is the end all and be all.
Yes, it’s important. Yes, you should do your best. But this is also the time for you to get to know yourself, and if you have common sense and self control, it’s going to be a great season of your life. While you’re here, you might as well make some lasting memories!
Image Credit: by envato.com
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