College is a challenging period that requires developing the skills to pay your postgrad bills and cultivating who you want to be for the rest of your life. As a senior, I confess there have been plenty of moments of anxiety caused by coffee-fueled late nights; however, these last three years have also helped me grow into someone I’m proud of! To help others plan ahead in college as effectively as possible, here are some lessons that I learned during my time at university.

1. No one cares about your major.

Don’t ever feel pressured to conform. I seem to get strange responses whenever I tell people that my major is Women’s Studies, and if I had a dollar every time this happened, then I wouldn’t need to work in the future! Despite feeling anxious concerning what individuals might think of me for changing my major from journalism to Women’s Studies after a year of hesitation, interning at USA Today and being offered an opportunity with Turner Broadcasting ultimately taught me that it truly doesn’t matter which degree you hold- what matters most are your capabilities. Follow your heart and study something you adore; furthermore do whatever brings joy into your life!

2. Say yes more than you say no.

If you, like me, often shy away from challenging prospects, then hear this story: while I was a sophomore in college and writing for the campus newspaper, the news editor invited me to become an administration reporter. Instead of taking on that intimidating role – which would have been my first step towards becoming senior editor – I decided to go with what felt easier at that moment; covering Greek life. Unfortunately by doing this, I limited myself; if only had taken up the chance when it arose! To this day my decision still bothers me as who knows how things i wish i knew in college may have panned out differently…

3. Be smart about opportunities.

If you are anything like me, it is quite enticing to pursue every possible option. However, these opportunities come in abundance and we must be judicious about our selections instead of spreading ourselves too thin. Before taking on a new venture, ask yourself if it truly excites you or if this opportunity is just another line item for your resume.

4. Don’t discount your health.

Making exercise part of your regular lifestyle and avoiding fried snacks and alcohol when possible will help you avoid the freshman “15” while simultaneously providing a beneficial way to manage emotional stress. Practicing these habits now will benefit you not only during college but also for years to come!

5. Plan for spontaneity.

Attention all you Type A’s! You may feel the need to plan out every minute of your life, however, sometimes it is more beneficial if you resist this urge and schedule some unstructured time. It is during these times that you can explore unusual art exhibits or wander around your college town by yourself – without a set itinerary – which allows for self-discovery and growth. This is what college should be about! Things to know before college starts include embracing unstructured time for personal exploration.

What are some things you wish you’d known in college?

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