What I Wish I’d Known Before College: Prioritizing

I wish I did more prioritization during college.

Flickr user Mufidah Kassalias

When I started to consider attending college in the United States I was scared. Having spent my whole life in Venezuela, where my parents drove me everywhere I needed to go and bought everything I needed to use or eat. Moving to a different country appeared in my plans very suddenly. It represented a huge step in my life, one that I knew I had to take all by myself. But, of course, I took the opportunity.

I always used an agenda.

Ever since a was 10 years old I used to have an agenda in which I wrote down everything I needed to do for school. As I grew up it became my ally. When I started my first semester as a corporate communication major the amount of work overwhelmed me. I found myself with an extremely long to-do-list due by the end of the week. And the problem repeated itself weekly.

Now I know organization may, sometimes, damage you instead of help you. Yes, it is important to keep in mind everything that has to be done by the end of the week. But I wish I had known, that it is okay to postpone some things. Prioritization is what keeps everyone in college sane. Why worry about a paper that has to be turned in at the end of the month, if three essays have to be done by tomorrow?

College takes up so much of your time

Education consumes our lives ever since we start high school. Parents start to ask things like “what are you planning to do after you graduate?” or “what majors are you the most interested in?” And you think that after all the questions are answered, there will be some kind of peace. But the reality is that peace never comes. After high school, comes college. All these things put pressure on students, who try to keep up with every class and get good grades in order to find a good job eventually.

But what no one tells students is that it is okay to take a break from the library and all the books every once in a while. I’m not telling you to spend all of your free time watching Netflix, no. The ideal situation is to find balance. Balance between classes and social life. After those four years we spent in a classroom, it is time to step into the real world, and the truth is that out there, connections are everything. And what best time to meet new and interesting people than in college?

Joining clubs

Every college and university offers students the opportunity to meet people they share interests with. That’s why clubs were created. If you love music, go and join the band. Or, if you’re obsessed with literature, find a way to join a book club. If you enjoy writing, go and join the university’s newspaper or magazine. Joining a club is the best thing a college student can do because it opens many doors. It helps them meet people who share their passion. It teaches them a little more about something they are interested in. And it is a way of relaxing when classes are just too much to deal with.

Everyone is nervous

I just wish I had known everyone is scared at first, but it all gets better after you get a little practice. That someone told me it is okay to not do everything in one day. I wish I had realized that meeting new people and getting out of your comfort zone is as important as getting good grades.

And I’ll just tell you one thing because not many people say it, but everyone needs to hear it: it is completely okay to make mistakes, get a bad grade every once in a while and not have the answer to every question. Just because you didn’t do it right the first time doesn’t mean you are a failure. It only means you have to get up and keep trying. Try a thousand times if necessary, until you get it right. Because college was invented to teach us, not only what is written in books, but also how to apply that knowledge in real life.