As I near the ever-daunting day of graduation, I can’t help but think back on my previous three and a half years of college.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, people are constantly asking me, “What are you doing next year?” so it’s not like I’ve forgotten about the future. But, like last semester (and much to my mother’s dismay), I don’t have it quite figured out, yet.
Still, I want to take a moment and think back on the progress I’ve made in college before I focus solely on the future. Naturally, I found there were a number of things I wish I’d known as a first-year student, so here I am to give a little bit of advice to you all.*
1. Whenever you are introducing yourself and where you’re from, take time to think through what you’re about to say. This is especially important if your name happens to double as a country in the Middle East. If you aren’t careful, you could easily say, “Hi, I’m from Jordan.”** And people will definitely laugh at you.
2. Don’t make fun of anyone who goes to bed at 9:30 p.m. I know it sounds outrageous that anyone could go to sleep that early; I was young once, too. In my early years, I would often stay up until 1:00 or 2:00 a.m., but just typing that makes me feel tired. Now, having a 10:00 p.m. bedtime is honestly magical.
3. It’s not worth it to dress up for class every day. When I started my junior year here, word on the street was that everyone dressed up for class, so I would always wear jeans and a nice shirt. That lasted for about a year.
Then I was the Record editor-in-chief, and I realized quickly that I did not have the time for that. If you like dressing up, go for it, but otherwise, no. (To my professors: please don’t take it as a sign of disrespect; it just feels like a waste of time to put jeans on for an hour when I know that after class I’m going to crawl right back into bed.)
4. Either schedule all of your classes for the morning or schedule them for the afternoon; do not schedule them for throughout the day because you will feel exhausted at the end. Get them all knocked out in one chunk of time, depending on if you’re a morning person who wants a free afternoon or a night owl who needs to sleep in. None of this, “I have class at 9:00 a.m. and then an 11:00 o’clock and a 2:00 o’clock.” An 8:00 a.m. is not fun at the time, but when you’re done by 12:00 p.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, it’s a pretty sweet deal. (Sorry, this one is less funny and more just the honest truth.)
5. Friday afternoon/night is the best time to do laundry. While people are worried about being social and enjoying their freedom, that is the optimal time to find an open washing machine. Compared to the Sunday afternoon rush when everyone realizes that the sweatpants they’ve been wearing all weekend should probably be washed, Friday afternoon/night is refreshingly empty.
6. Learn how to cook now. It’s less embarrassing to call your sister, panicking that you don’t know how to make quinoa when you’re an 18-year-old living in the dorms, rather than a 21-year-old mini-adult who has been “cooking” for the last year and a half. She’ll question how you’ve survived this long (and honestly so will you). Then she’ll laugh when you get nervous that you just drowned the quinoa.***
Clearly, I have pretty much everything figured out by now, except my plans for next year. (Don’t worry Mom, I promise everything will be fine. I mean, I’m keeping my fingers crossed.)
*Seniors feel free to read this, but I think that at this point, it won’t be much help to you. (Although, notice how this asterisk is strategically placed at the end of the article, meaning you’ve most likely read it by now.)
**This is, sadly, a true story.
***Again, this is, sadly, a true story.