School is just around the corner, and I know of some many people who will be starting their first year of college. Just to clarify, yes, it's okay to be scared and have no idea what you are doing. But, there are a few things I want to share with you guys who may just be taking a step into that new season of your life. If you've been in college long enough I'm sure there are a few things you wish you knew before that first day. In this blog I'm listing out 5 things I wish I knew before I started the crazy journey of college.
One: Stop Stressing so much
This is just the truth. Starting college, I would worry about: what my future career, if I would graduate when I wanted, where I would live after college and so on. My stress level was so high because I worried about everything! Learn from me, it's okay to plan but, its not okay to obsess over your future. All of my plans I made my freshman year of college look nothing like my life does now and I'm thankful that God has bigger dreams for me than I do for me. Trust that your life is going to work out exactly how it was always designed to. Will you have to study hard? Yes. Will you have to try different, new things? Yup. That is just life my friend. If you spend every moment of your life worrying about tomorrow, your today won't be what it could have been. There is so much worth in the place you are in right now. Whether you're reading this as an incoming freshman or you're a recent college graduate. Each day is taking you on a journey called your life. Don't stress over what next week, next month or next year might have in store. Remember it's okay to plan but not obsess over your future. I am still learning to take life one day at a time. Yes, I still have a calendar/planner I make sure to keep organized. So what's the best step to not stressing out as soon as you hit your college campus? Take a deep breath, pray it out and just take it a day at a time. Pretending you have it all together will only make it worse.
Two: Don't spend all of your money
If my mom is reading this she is thinking "you're one to talk Tess". Let's just say my budgeting didn't go very well my freshman year of college. I was barley working on campus & was living off my parents as well as graduation money. Most of my graduation money went towards my dorm... Don't be like me. Instead of shopping at Target, go to Home Goods or Marshalls or a thrift store. Save your money! Half of the things you buy for your dorm won't travel with you to an apartment or house, so make sure they are resalable. When it comes to food and the glorious fast food fries I ate every other meal, budget it out. Going out to eat every day is just going to leave you hungry and broke tomorrow. Yes, make friends and go out to eat every now and then. However, If you constantly find yourself burning through money on food, you're not helping yourself in the long run. Instead, make sure you have a mini fridge and microwave. Get some things you can eat at your dorm or healthy things to eat in your cafeteria. You will more than likely have a meal plan, so use it! In the future, you will be thankful you budgeted and didn't spend every ounce of your money. I'm sure you're thinking "Well, Tessah, how do you even know where to start budgeting?" I actually love the budgeting app called "Mint". On this app it gives you a balance of your bank accounts and tells you where you are spending most of your money. You can also add bills and other expenses that come out of your account. I'm linking it here: https://www.mint.com/
Just start with little steps, limit yourself to only spending a certain amount a week and stick to it.
Three: Just be yourself
Stepping foot on a new campus, surrounded by new people can be terrifying. I remember worrying if people would like me, or if I would ever make new friends. The craziest thing about my freshmen year is that I didn't have to change to find some of the best friends in the entire world. The second week of college I plugged into a college ministry that connected me to people who were so welcoming and relatable. There were times I craved not exactly the friendship of others but the approval of them. I would compromise what I knew was right in order to be accepted. Friend, if you have to change in order to be accepted those people aren't your friends. Find people who will love you for you. Who will appreciate your awkwardness and welcome you as you are. It might take a while but I promise there are people out there who know how to be a great friend too. Also don't be afraid to welcome new friendships. Be-friend people who are different from you, believe differently and so on. It's okay to have diverse friendships. College is all about learning who you are and stepping into the person you are going to become. But, as of right now, just be YOU.
Four: Understand your financial aid & admission stuff
This one sounds boring but it something so important. Getting into college most things (such as loans) aren't under your parents names anymore, it's all under YOU. It took me asking a lot of questions to understand how everything worked with scholarships, financial aid and all the things. Go and ask those questions if you don't understand. Your college advisor or a friend at the same college should be able to direct you to someone who can help. Some of these things they could have explained at orientation but if there is a question you have, don't be afraid to ask.
Five: Picking a Major and Future Career
The average college student changes their major at-least once. Thankfully I never changed my major, but I did add on a minor at the very last minute of my undergrad (which can also be stressful). Picking a major can sound like you are promising yourself to a specific area of the work force and if you don't pick the right one the first time "your in trouble". That is so false. Usually your freshmen year is packed full of general education classes (speech, college algebra, electives). so you really don't have to jump in right away and pick a major. But, if you must, my biggest advice would be to look at what you love to do. Do you love organization and leadership? Try Business. Have the skills and passions to teach? How about Education. Passionate about design? You can major in Art or Design. The bigger the college the more options you will have. If you are only in it for the money it will be a lot harder to decide if you will really love the major you choose. I actually created a FREE downloadable resource to help you figure out the things your good at! I'm linking it HERE: https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/decabd_8c476a8af59e474fa60be97d6e41b512.pdf
If there is one thing I wish I would've understood going into college is God's plans for your life aren't limited to a degree you get. Or a degree you don't get. Yes, he works through those accomplishments and works out some great opportunities. But if you think God needs your education to do amazing things in your life, he doesn't. He can use you right where you are. You have everything you need right inside of you. You were created with purpose, gifts, talents, and personality. It can't be categorized to just one thing. You are your own category. Trust God to lead you where you need to go, pray about those decisions you are stumbling to figure out yourself.
You've got this!