What I Wish I’d Known Before College: 9 Things

There are some things I wish I knew in high school, like think before you speak.

Flickr user GTM NERR

The struggle in high school is crazy, struggling to deal with superficial people and separating our best friends so that we would have someone to sit with at lunch. It’s like the whole world is obsessed with who wears what, who is going out with whom, who’s the most popular, and other such trivial matters. It might feel like we’ll never be separated from our friends or our high school sweethearts. But, we can’t be more wrong.

What I have always failed to understand is how and why so many people expect us to know how the world works in that tender, careless age. We don’t even know what we want to study at the age of fourteen for the next four years, so how the hell are we expected–and forced–to make decisions regarding what we want to do for the rest of our lives.

Watching all those inspirational movies, I only wonder one thing. Why do people even let us make our own stupid choices which we’ll only end up regretting when we’ve already wasted like, two years of our life in college?

Even though all the valuable lessons and experiences I have gained at the expense of my reputation and injury to ego, I wish someone had given me a good slap before I made half the decisions I thought I was making because it felt cool or it was something I really wanted to do. Below is a list of things which I’m writing to spare you the trauma of going through them yourself.

Grades are actually important

Yes, you read that right. Grades are important. It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. No one knows how talented you are when you show up for an interview; they evaluate you based on your GPA and accomplishments–and of course the interview itself.

Experience matters too

There is still a lot more to learn even after you graduate college; and the things you learn outside the classroom matter just as much as the academics. Intelligence is based on continuous curiosity. Limiting your knowledge to only your curriculum is restraining your mind.

You don’t have to immediately start college

College education isn’t going anywhere and it’ll still be there by the time you come up with a decision about what you want to study, or where you want to go. Maybe you’d like to take a gap year to explore your interests or work to raise enough money to pay for tuition. Either way, do not rush off to college heedlessly without a proper plan.

Your major is not necessarily your future career

Being forced to decide on a major when you have barely enough knowledge about existing courses and what you really want to do, many people (including me) decide against pursuing it after graduation. It might be a lack of proper guidance, employment opportunities, or of course, a better salary package.

Think before you speak

Be sure to run your words in your head and see how they look like when they come out before you speak. The “send” button is final and irrevocable.

 Don’t be in a hurry to grow up

Value your adolescence, and always stay young at heart. Don’t act all stiff and grown up because you want to seem more mature and take on responsibilities. They’re soul-crushing and the adult world can be a dosage of very bitter medicine.

Read the terms and conditions!

Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that you have to skip the terms and conditions. Cautions, disclaimers, and rules are essential and need to be followed for your own self and security. Don’t be tricked into giving information you’re not willing to relent.

 Celebrate your experiences

Always share your learnings and experiences. Don’t forcefully put everyone on the same plate just because you’ve had a bad experience. Don’t let others go through the same things you had to.

Be serious about each job

Everyone likes to think they’ll start landing bigger and better jobs. The sad truth is that most of us continue our humble jobs throughout college because there just isn’t enough time for others. It sounds so appealing to slack off at your menial job and not to care, but it has a serious effect on your future.

That being said, I would urge you all not to make haste and rush into decisions. You’ll only end up wasting your valuable time and regretting them. Don’t be indebted to anyone and break away from all social stigmas. Do whatever you feel like doing. Don’t let people’s judgments influence your way of thinking so that you’ll be able to look back at these days with no regret.