4 Things I Would Have Done Differently in College

Nailah Bakari graduated from Texas Christian University in August of 2014 with a degree in film and a minor in Spanish. She graduated in three years while also having held multiple jobs, internships, and being involved on campus. In her post-grad life she is interning with Static Multimedia, and working to save up and move out to Los Angeles or New York. She has a passion for film, a love of traveling, and she is looking to pursue a Masters in laughter. You can follow her on Instgram, @thenailahbakari, and you can connect with her on Linkdin, www.linkedin.com/in/nailahbakari/.

As the old saying goes, hindsight is 20-20. This is certainly true when I look back on my college career. I am a recent graduate of Texas Christian University where I studied film and Spanish. I accidently graduated in three years, so my university experience was a little shorter than most. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have no regrets about my time at TCU; I learned a lot, and made lifelong friends. However, if I could do it all over again, I would do a few things differently.
1) I would have started with the major I was passionate about, not the one I was good at. In the fall of 2011 I went into TCU as a journalism major and a communications minor. I had neither of those things when I came out. In high school I was good at writing; I always got good grades on papers. So when deciding on a college major I though, “I’ll go into journalism because I’m good at writing.” I had no real passion for it; I just assumed I would be good at it. Journalists write for a living. I’m good at writing. Easy peasy, right? Wrong. Fast-forward to my sophomore year and I am in my first applied journalism classes. I hated them. It was not the kind of writing I was good at, I was not good at reporting, and because I lacked any and all passion, I had no desire to get better. All while this was happening, my best friend was a film major, and she would constantly tell me about her classes, which always sounded interesting. So, after getting back another journalism assignment that was covered in red ink, I switched my major to film, my minor to Spanish, and I never looked back. The moral of this story, you ask? You’re going to be good at whatever you put you’re heart into, so choose the major that your interest, passion, and heart is in, not the one you assume you will be good at, or the one you think will set you up best for the future. If all those things overlap, more power to you. However, if they don’t, recognize that’s ok, and to do what makes you happy. College is a whole new ballgame, and everything will be so much easier and fun if you are actually excited about what you are learning.
2) I would have started looking for internships earlier. When you graduate, the experience from college is all you have, so make sure you have some. I waited until the summer into my junior year to get an internship in my field. Looking back I wish I had started earlier. Internships not only give you more experience, but they also increase your networking web, which is critical in a post-grad world.
3) I would have used more of my resources. TCU had so many things I never took advantage of, or waited too long to use. TCU had a math help center I never used, a writing help center I used once, and an amazing career services center I used only because it was required for a class. In addition, they had job fairs and networking nights that I never went to. Why did I not use these things? Your guess is as good as mine. Take advantage of the things that are given to you, and that, frankly, you are paying for. Take an hour out of your day to go to a job fair. Take 20 minutes to have someone look over your midterm paper. And, get to know your teachers and ask them for help; they are resources as well.
4) I would have worried less. To paraphrase Ferris Bueller, college moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop look around once in a while, you might miss it. College is such a fun and unique time in your life, enjoy it. Recognize that college is preparing you for your future, but certainly do not spend all of your time worrying about it.
I hope you learned something of my experiences, or at least had a laugh or two. Good luck with your college experience. Live, love, laugh, be who you are, and have a tremendous time at whatever university you attend.

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