I have now officially been in the “real world” for four years (as opposed to my first 21 years which were apparently fake).
College was rough in some aspects, but it also was the most incredible years of my life. I don’t regret anything to the point of beating myself up over it, but I do think if I had to redo the experience, there are 7 things that I would do differently. Hopefully these can help a young college “Jordan” out there (AKA a Type-A student that reads blogs like this to add to their “To Do In College List”).
Here are the top 7 things I wish did in college, in no particular order:
1. Saved my Papers
Boring, I know. I never thought that my college work would be of any use. But you would be amazed at how many times I wished I could refer back to a paper I wrote or have something available to show as a sample of my writing. Keep your papers!
2. Lived on Campus All Four Years
When I was in college, I couldn’t wait for the opportunity to move off campus. I thought it was the best move ever to get an apartment my last two years with a couple friends. It definitely had its advantages and made me feel more “adult-like”. But the moment I graduated, I immediately regretted not living those years on campus. Campus life is irreplaceable. It is unlikely you will ever live in such an environment again with so many people your age. You have the rest of your life to experience “adult freedom” (YAY, pay bills and scoop the dog poop). Embrace the campus life while you can!
3. Initiated more Friendships
I had an incredible group of friends in college. Still, I was insecure when it came to initiating friendships, especially with people that were different than me. If I could go back, I would be intentional about getting out of my comfort zone and making friends from all walks of life. Campus is full of unique people worth knowing. Open your mind and your heart to new people. You may even make lifelong friends!
4. Traveled More
Don’t get me wrong…I did a lot of traveling. But if I had to redo my four years, I would do even more. If there is any way to swing it, I say GO. It doesn’t really matter where. Just GO. Sure, one day you will have more money to travel, but you also will have less time and more commitments. Experience the world while you are young! It may even open your mind to future possibilities you never dreamed of.
5. Went to Career Fairs
I know, another boring one. But I wish I thought more about the future in college and preparing for my career. Growing up, it’s easy to go from one year to the next without a thought of the future beyond school. Then one day you graduate and there are no teachers telling you what assignment to turn in. No advisers telling you what classes to take. Instead, you call the shots. You have to be intentional and diligent in pursuing a job that aligns with your skills and desires. And that’s no easy task. Prepare all that you can! Don’t be so focused on the fun of college that you forget why you are there.
6. Worried About Knowledge Gained, Not my GPA
If I’m honest, I was good at working the system in school. Don’t get me wrong, I learned a lot. But I cared much more about getting a good grade than I did the knowledge I walked away with. What a mistake! There are so many times now that I wish I could go back and take a class, simply for the knowledge. Soak in everything that you can!
7. Lived Honestly
If I had to prioritize this list, this one would be at the top. The biggest mistake I made in college was trying to be perfect. Perfect student. Perfect athlete. Perfect Christian. And trying to be a perfect anything will make you miserable…especially a perfect Christian. Why? Because that’s the opposite of true Christianity. True Christianity is admitting we are a mess and allowing Christ to use that mess and transform us. I wish I admitted when something was wrong rather than staying hidden in darkness. College students…please hear me: don’t do what I did. Live in the light. Admit your weaknesses and get help when you need it, even when it’s awkward. Embrace the awkward (hey, that would be a good blog theme).
My college experience was wonderful, but if you’re not past that stage of life yet, I hope this list can help make yours even better. Don’t take for granted the season you are in, but also, don’t neglect to think about the season to come.
Enjoy the now.
Prepare for the later.
Question: Anything you think should be added to the list? Comment below!