What I learned in college

Hi! My name is Marina and I am a double major in English and Communication, set to graduate December 2015. I attend the sunny University of San Diego and enjoy being outside, hanging out with my friends, and writing stories. When I’m not writing, I usually have my nose in a book or am indulging in my guilty pleasure, crochet.

With all the pressure we put on SAT scores, GPA ranks and standardized tests, it can be easy to judge your intelligence off a set of numbers. And colleges around the country are making matters worse. Not only did you have to have a good GPA to get into college, now you have to have a good GPA and test scores to further your education. But it’s important to not get lost in the mess of these strict, and strategic, rankings. You are more than just a number, which is why I want to explain some of the most important things I’ve learned in college. Spoiler alert: a calculator won’t help with these!
1. How to live with other people. Depending on the school, you may get to choose your roommates or you may be randomly assigned roommates your freshman year. Either way, you’re going to go through a huge adjustment from having your own space to having to learn how to share space with another person. I am an only child, so this was a big shock to me! I had to become more organized because the little space I had was now split into two. I had to stay tidy out of respect for my roommate. And I had to learn how to study, sleep and hang out with friends in the company of another person. How to live with others successfully is a lesson that every young person should learn and college is the perfect place for that.
2. Time management. This is a biggie in college. You are instantly thrown into a world of new friends, extracurricular activities, a new town, and (gasp!) homework. It takes great skill to be able to manage all of this successfully, and that skill doesn’t come right away. But with a little practice, I learned how to best manage my time and I know that this skill will help me in the professional world a lot more than a grade point average will.
3. How to disagree respectfully. With an abundance of new people comes an abundance of new opinions. This can be a shock to some students because they either come from a family that has bestowed strict views on topics, or because they haven’t ever thought about the things being talked about. Either way, when entering college you are going to be bombarded with different opinions and you’re not going to agree with them all. Learn how to disagree respectfully, and how to share your opinion as well, and you will be much better off than your closed minded peers.
4. How to interact with professors (or other professionals). I can’t tell you enough how helpful this skill is and how it has helped me thus far in the real world. Going to a professor’s office hours may seem scary at first, but it’s a great way to learn how to talk to professionals. When applying for jobs and internships, it’s important to be able to express yourself in an appropriate manner. And after four years of interacting with professors, you quickly learn just that.
5. How to have fun. You knew we would get here eventually, because college is supposed to be fun! There is no other time in your life that you get to be surrounded by hundreds of people your age, all interested in similar things. Through my college years, I have learned how to have fun and be responsible. It’s healthy to let go sometimes- be silly, have adventures with your friends- and remember that college may very well be the best days of your life.
There are a million and one other things I have learned throughout my time in college, but these are some of the most important ones. So next time you bomb that test or don’t do as well on your LSAT as you would like, remember what’s really important in college and that everyday is a new chance to learn.

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