Brigid Downey

August 25, 2018

7 things I wish I knew before going to college

As of May 12, 2018 I am the proud owner of a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing and a minor in Business from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. Yes, it’s a mouthful.

A friend and I were talking a few days ago about what advice we would give to incoming freshman and since a lot of students are going away to college soon or are already moved in and getting settled I thought I’d share some things I wish someone had told me those first few months.

1. Try everything.

Just like that fun song from Zootopia, do everything you can; take chances, strive to find new opportunities, be involved. If I have one regret about my college career it’s not taking advantage of all the resources in front of me until late in my junior year.

2. Don’t be afraid to say “no.”

This sounds counterproductive to the first point, but I made the mistake of trying to hold three leaderships at once senior year. If you want to sleep, don’t be me. Manage your time and know your productivity limits.

3. Be kind to yourself.

College is tough. Make sure you’re taking time for self-care and forgiving yourself for mistakes.

4. Make time to be you.

Just like the last few points, I didn’t realize until senior year that putting aside time for myself made me a lot more productive. I realized I desperately need a creative outlet to be able to get any real work done. Find what calms you and put aside time for it.

5. Talk to your professors.

I was really close to a lot of my professors. I talked to them about a lot of things and kept them updated on a lot. I have a lot of medical conditions so when I was sick a lot, they understood and that was probably the only way I survived college. Don’t forget they’ve been in your shoes, too. They get life happens. Be respectful to them and they will be respectful back.

6. Don’t lose yourself.

Around freshman year I made a series of bad choices and became a person I didn’t like. I had to really look at the person I was to get myself back on track. College can throw a lot of new ideas and values at you and it’s good to see the world in a different perspective, but remember to stay true to yourself and forgive yourself for mistakes.

7. Have fun.

College truly is some of the best years of your life. Try new things, learn more about yourself and the world around you, keep an open mind and I promise you will do just fine.

— B

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