10 Crucial Life Lessons you MUST Learn to Survive College
That time is coming up: your first day of college. And you’re about to learn that life lessons aren’t all easily learned, least of all crucial life lessons. These are lessons you learn, without which you would not survive.
I’m joking, obviously. However, let’s err on the safe side if you want to come off as a grown adult with their life together.
1. Time management is a must
This is a big one.
Too many students walk into their first day of class and think “Oh, this is going to be easy”. And let me tell you, it’s not. Time management skills are one of the most crucial life lessons you will ever learn, and it doesn’t just apply for college. Maybe that first semester will be a cakewalk for you, but that doesn’t stand true for every semester. And you’re going to need to learn time management skills sometime if you’d like to look like more than an undead zombie.
College students are notorious for their busy schedules. Many of them work, have social lives, attend clubs, do schoolwork, and still need the occasional hour to just relax. Consequently, it’s difficult to keep up with all this without time management skills.
I’m going to recount a quick story from my own experience to use as an example.
Coming out of high school, I was very well disciplined. I graduated a year early, after taking over ten honors classes and having acquired quite a few AP credits as well. I went into technical school with 15 credits already under my belt.
And the technical school was easy for me. I’d attend my classes maybe twice a week, as I was ahead on all my schoolwork. I was on the President’s list both semesters I went there.
However, I then transferred to University. And it was no longer a cakewalk.
No matter what you do, you will almost always have a difficult class that continuously makes you wonder if it’s even worth it. Take it from a person who’s been to school in their pajamas more than a few times; if you don’t learn time management skills, and fast, then your grades will likely suffer.
2. You need to Hold Yourself Accountable
I know many of you probably had your parents to rely on for disciplining and rewarding you as kids. And maybe you’ve already learned this, but if you haven’t, then it’s time to.
Your parents are not in charge of you as an adult. You are your own person. It’s time to Adult up, and take care of yourself. Learn some self-discipline if you actually want to achieve your goals or they’ll be just that: goals.
On the same note, don’t automatically go wild. I know many people with strict parents tend to do this after leaving the nest, and they generally end up in bad situations. Yes, you can make your own decisions now, but try to make the safe, legal ones, please.
3. That one bad grade is not going to ruin your life!
So, you’ve learned time management and are a pro at self-disciplining yourself, but you’re still worried about getting a bad grade.
Well, there’s good news: your GPA can tolerate the occasional bad grade.
This isn’t permission for you to slack off, but there’s no reason for you to have an existential crisis over a single C. I suffered several bad grades last semester in multiple classes (I actually had several 0’s…oops..), and guess what?
I still got on the Dean’s List. Four A’s and one B. Can you tell I’m proud?
If you’re still stressing about it, make sure to check your professors’ syllabus the minute you’re allowed access. Many professors drop one or even two of your lowest grades, so it’s nothing to stress over. Everyone has a bad day, or even a bad week, from time to time.
4. Think about things before you say or do them
This is definitely one of the more obvious crucial life lessons. Nonetheless, it must be said.
As a teenager, this one is difficult to conquer. Even for many adults, it’s not easy to gain impulse control.
However, giving in to these impulses can often lead to disastrous outcomes. Whether it be hurting friends, doing things that are morally wrong, or saying things you don’t mean, you need to master the ability of impulse control.
Doing so will give you more self-discipline, and could prevent you from ending up in an awkward situation down the road.
5. Focus on your relationships and experiences
Materialistic things can make you happy, but everything will fade with time. I doubt you’ll think back to how much you loved your iPhone in your college days, or how you enjoyed wearing those brand new shoes.
Instead, it’s often your memories of that time that count the most. Personally, even a certain smell can send me hurtling back to a point in time where life was free of worries. Cherish your friends and family, because it’s the memories you have with them that will stick with you.
Take advantage of your current relationships, and prioritize them over materialistic things. If you have to choose between getting a new phone or going on a road trip with friends, go on the road trip. It will help your relationship grow and you’ll have memories of amazing experiences in college.
6. Perfectionism is Procrastination in Pretty Lettering
Don’t ever try to make anything perfect, because you can’t do it. Worrying about something as trivial as that leads to procrastination and unhappiness.
Often, the best course of action is to do something to the best of your ability, and then stop stressing over it. Your stress will stay with you longer than that project ever could, and as long as you did the best you can, there’s no point in agonizing over it.
7. You don’t need to win every argument
Yes, your brother should have filled the gas tank before returning your car. And yes, your sister should not take your stuff without asking.
Sit them down and talk to them about how this violates your trust in them, but do not get in an argument. And if your dad wants to believe that the moon landing was faked, let him. Getting in an argument never solves anything, in fact, people are wired to believe what they want to regardless of the facts.
And even if someone close to you does blow up over a problem that you just don’t understand, try to see it in their point-of-view first before you overreact. It’s easier to lose an argument than someone you love.
So, accept that sometimes you can’t change someone’s views, as you’ll be happier in college and life. Plus, you’ll automatically be the wise friend when you tell someone “Be the bigger man, it’s easier to forgive and forget”.
8. It’s the little things that matter
Yes, people actually have a point when they say this.
It really is the little things that matter. While other people may not notice your significant other cleaning the house for you after a long day of work, you will. Don’t take the home-cooked meals, warm smiles, and soft apologies for granted.
One day, you may not have those people or experiences anymore. At that point, you’ll remember the little things. Take advantage of your physical and mental freedom by learning the skill of gratitude.
9. Sometimes it’s Better to Let Go
This is one of the crucial life lessons that will save you a lot of heartaches later in life.
You’re going to meet a lot of brilliant people in your life. They will bring you to your highest points of happiness, and you’ll forget what it felt like to live without them. But there are also people that will drag you to your lowest points. Oftentimes, it will be someone you care deeply for.
In these times, it’s best to let go of the people that bring out the worst in you. They will not improve your quality of life and will lead you down a path you’d be better off straying from.
10. Everyone fails now and then
This is another of those crucial life lessons.
Sometimes, you won’t give it your all. And it doesn’t matter if it was your fault, your professor’s fault, your employer’s fault, etc. If you fail, you fail.
However, failing is an important part of life. If we didn’t fail, we wouldn’t learn. Chances are, your failure won’t destroy your entire life.
So take your failure with stride and look at it in an optimistic light. Look at it as an opportunity to learn how to fix your past mistakes and look at it as an opportunity to grow.