About one month ago, on May 21, 2016, I graduated from college! Receiving my Bachelors degree in Social Work is one of my biggest accomplishments in life, and was one of my greatest challenges. I am the youngest out of 4 children and the first to finish college in 4 years (talk about a huge weight on my shoulders!).
As a first generation student, I entered college blinded. I was only 17 years old, hardly knew what I wanted to do in life, and did not have any direction or mentoring. Despite the struggle, through my college journey, I learned so many valuable lessons. I am sure I was not the first to experience difficulty through college, but I would like to be the last person to enter college without any direction. So, below, I have listed the top 5 lessons I learned that could help those of you who are thinking about college.
- Choosing a major: When I applied to college I declared my major as Psychology, but when I visited my school for orientation, I registered for classes in an entire different major. I WAS UNDECIDED! Deep down, I knew I wanted a career that would allow me to help people, but I didn’t know how to choose. So one day, I sat down in the library and listed the top 10 things I liked to do in life (the list ranged from talking a lot to giving advice). Then, I narrowed it down to the top 3 things that I could make into a career. It turned out, my true interest was in social work!
- Getting to know people: Coming from a socially selective person, I can honestly say getting to know people helped me build long-lasting friendships and potential business partners for the future. My freshman year, I was very quiet, but I encouraged myself to get out of my comfort zone and meet people. I started attending events on campus, hanging with my roommate, and bonding with classmates.
- Procrastination: My name is Tiffany and I am a procrastinator…This was one of the hardest lessons I had to learn (and I’m still trying to stop). In college, it is so important to time manage and organize your schedule. Getting behind in one class could, possibly, cause a spiral downfall in other classes. I made the mistake of missing reading assignments which resulted in horrible quiz grades. Fortunately, during senior year, I started completing assignments in advance which is the reason for my 4.0 GPA (it’s possible!) So, it’s best to break this habit.
- Save money: College is expensive! You have the budget books, food, transportation, tuition, and social life. I was blessed to get a job on campus my junior year as an RA (Resident Assistant). Being an RA was the best job in the world. On campus jobs usually work around your class schedule which allows you to balance academics and finances. So, if you have to get a job, or receive money from your parents, perhaps you should try to budget.
- Explore!: Have fun! This was my first time being away from my parents and home, so I took advantage and visited the city on the weekends, and hung out with my friends until the early morning (no I didn’t party, just had movie nights lol). All in all, these are your beginning years as an adult, it’s your responsibility to be safe and surrounded by trustworthy people. So, live it up and enjoy it!
So, I hope these 5 lessons help you in some form or fashion. My college years were the best years of my life. I became independent, learned more about myself, and celebrated many accomplishments. Although at times college seemed overwhelming, I remembered that obstacles are apart of living. And don’t worry, it’s Life, that’s it!
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.