I’m going to college

Suzanna (or “Suzie”) Toske is the oldest and only daughter out of four children. She recently graduated with a degree in Journalism and GIS from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA. She’s a fulltime geospatial analyst at Dewberry Consultants LLC, located in Fairfax, VA. Currently, Suzanna is working on reclassification for Topobathymetric LiDAR mapping along the East coast. When she’s not handling geospatial data, you can find Suzanna hiking up at mountain, or running at the gym. Either way, she’s always on the go! If you’re curious about what other GIS related projects Suzanna has worked on, you can look at her portfolio at toskeink.com.

You’re probably thinking to yourself, “Wow, I’m going to college!” And the more you think about college, the more your thoughts turn into like, “Wow, I’m going to college… And, I’m leaving everything that I know behind.” But, I’m here to tell you that everything will be okay. Actually everything will be great because college will be the best four years of your young-adult-life. Sure, the thought of leaving your friends and family behind seems terrifying, but there’s so much more you have left to experience. I’m here to tell you the three things I wish I knew when I was a freshman at the University of Mary Washington, and I hope it does you well. So here it goes.

1. Acceptance
Accept the things of what they are in the present. You’re going away from home. Accept that. Because if you continue to worry or miss your past, you will never fully appreciate what’s currently happening in your life. Another thing to keep in mind is you’re going to meet a lot of new people, and I mean A LOT. Keeping an open mind will allow you to understand a wide spectrum of individuals. Let them tell you their stories. The more you know about the world, the more comfortable you will be with other people and with yourself.

2. Get Involved
This is pretty sweet and simple, but sometimes it’s overlooked. Getting yourself involved with extracurricular activities is one of the easiest ways you can set yourself up with a fantastic group of friends. Usually colleges host a club fair where all the clubs come together and display why each one is better than the others. Sign up for the ones that catch your eye. Heck, sign up for the ones that you wouldn’t even consider trying out (like a’cappella club, or boxing club), too. It’s not permanent. If you don’t like the club, you can easily stop going. But you never know what you’ll like, or who you’ll meet, if you don’t try.

3. Try Everything
I’m kind of echoing the second point I just mentioned, but this is, by far, the most important point of truth I’m going to bestow to you – Try everything. These four years are going to be the years of experimentation, mistakes, and glories. You’re going to finally understand who you are and who you want to be, but you can’t hold yourself back in order to get there. Try everything and definitely make the most of it.

I hope this works for you. This isn’t the exact “how-to-guide” by the way. It’s a little handout that you can either take or leave behind. If you do take my advice, you’re going to save yourself a lot of anxiety (just saying). But, there’s also more to college than 3 points of advice. Your experience will obviously be different than mine, but I can assure you that your experience will be earth-shaking because college will literally change the world as you know it.

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