Things every college student needs to know

Carissa journeyed from Malaysia to Arkansas in pursuit of the American college experience at the University of Central Arkansas, where she graduated with a degree in journalism and creative writing.

If you’re already counting down the days to your college graduation, you might want to hold your horses. Instead, take the time to cherish every waking hour of your campus experience, as these could be some of the best years of your life.
First of all, think about how blessed you are to be there. Not everyone gets a shot at college, but you do.
Great things can come out of these four years. By changing you outlook on your situation, it will affect the way you look at things. After all, it is all about perspective. Your perspective.
It has been a little more than a year since I graduated from the University of Central Arkansas, but the memories of my college years still remain fresh in my mind. I was an international student from Malaysia pursuing journalism and creative writing. I loved campus life so much that I would gladly go back and relive those days.
Here are five things I picked up along the way throughout my time as an undergrad:
1. The people you meet in college will greatly impact your experience. So start building healthy, long-lasting friendships. Surround yourself with people who, five years after graduation, will still call you out for lunch to laugh about the good ol’ days. These are friends you’ll never regret having. The only regret you’ll have is not having them at all.
2. Score internships before you graduate, if possible. College is all about learning, and there’s no better way to learn about your major than to actually apply yourself as an intern. The more experience you get, the higher your chances are of securing a job right after college.
3. Start budgeting/managing your finances wisely. This is the perfect time to start budgeting. Beware of money-sucking stores like Walmart and Target. You’ll be tempted to buy groceries that you won’t end up finishing, so learn to control your finances and you can finally stop complaining about being broke.
4. Go for the games. Even if you know nada about football or baseball, go for the games anyway. The energy in the stadium is the true representation of school spirit – take pride in your school and the team. It’s also the perfect occasion to paint your face in college colors and cheer at the top of your lungs. Unleash that inner cheerleader.
5. Eat moderately and healthily. “Freshman 15” is not a myth. I’ve seen it happen, quite personally. Cultivate healthy eating habits (or start working out) while you can. You’re only young once, so don’t make your body pay for the mistakes of your youth.

While college offers a whole plethora of opportunities to be explored, it’s pointless if you don’t apply yourself. Attending lectures and acing exams don’t constitute a holistic college experience. Every now and then, do something that scares you, take some risks and learn to step out of your comfort zone.

When I reflect upon my college years, I don’t really recall everything I learned in the classrooms, but I do remember the good memories shared with people who made my campus experience a wonderful one. At the end of the day, these years spent on campus could be some of the best years of your life.

One day, when you write about the things you did and the things you wished you’d done, I hope the former would overshadow the latter. Enjoy the rest of your semester!

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