There is an abundance of self-help guides to help parents cope with the “terrible twos,” but none to help those toddlers when they grow up and experience the terrifying T’s: tuition, taxes, and telemarketers. While The Signal can’t help with your taxes, we can offer some advice to make growing up a little less scary.
A five year old kid lies in bed, bubbling with excitement for the new Pokemon game dropping tomorrow, and thinks: “Which Pokemon should I choose? Which one will my friends choose? Will I be the very best?” Fast forward 13 years and that kid is asking the same questions about colleges, not Pocket Monsters.
Despite all the promises that high school and AP courses are supposed to prepare us for the real world, I’ve found that, while I could tell you the history of taxes, I don’t actually know how to file them. Many of us get to college woefully unprepared for the real world – I still can’t tell you how to budget or how to kill that spider in your bathroom. What I can do, is offer you five pieces of advice I wish I had going into college.
Disclaimer: I am NOT advising you to get a motorcycle and try to jump over a tractor-trailer, but you do need to get a little out of your comfort zone. Try new things. College campuses, especially one as big as GSU, have thousands of opportunities, and all of them are aimed at helping you discover yourself and your passions.
Get involved on campus
Okay, okay, I’m sure you’ve heard this a million times from your family and the Incept team, but it’s so important. Even if you only join one club, your time at GSU will mean so much more to you, and with choices from astronomy to film and modeling, there really is something for everyone (except maybe basket weavers). You can check them all out at gsu.orgsync.com
There’s no such thing as a “guilty” pleasure
You shouldn’t feel ashamed about something you love. Who cares if you’re in college and still like One Direction? Everyone else is too busy balancing school and a social life to pay attention to you humming “Drag Me Down” in Unity Plaza. With well over 30,000 students, you’re bound to find someone else who enjoys the same things as you. Besides, One Direction is awesome.
You don’t need to have everything figured out
Allow me to let you in on a little secret: no one knows what they’re doing when they start out. According to The New York Times, 61 percent of college students change their major at least once by their second year. The national average is three times. If you think it’s a waste of money, ask a professor if you can sit in on one of their classes so you can get a feel for the material before making a commitment. The worst they can say is no, and you might find something you didn’t even know you were passionate about.
It’s okay to ask for help
This is the single most important thing for you to remember. Going to college in a big city might make you feel like you’re alone, but you’re not. If you think that you’re struggling at all, talk to your friends or your family. If you don’t want to worry them, talk to your advisor or a counselor. Make sure you know your own limits.