Surviving college

Kyle Sharp is a 2012 graduate of Durham College’s Print and Broadcast Journalism program. Since graduation, Sharp has written for print and online publications including Tribute Magazine, Music Express and Access.

It might not always feel like it, but college is one of the best times of your life. It’s that last moment of freedom where you can party your weekends away and embrace the last moments of being a reckless, care-free teenager. Where your future is anything you want it to be and your biggest worry is finals. However, those three to four years also go by pretty damn quick.

Looking back, I’m happy with how my tenure as Journalism student went but as is life, there are plenty of things I wish I had done differently. So learn from my mistakes as I detail my biggest college regrets and how I’d correct them should time travel become feasible any time soon.

I get it, college can be stressful as hell. When you sit in class that first day and go over your workload for the term it can kind of feel like standing at the foot of Mount Everest and no one would blame you for simply doing what you have to do to pass. When I was writing for our campus newspaper, my classmates covered major college events and unearthed campus scandals through intensive research and networking, I wrote opinion pieces about things I was a mildly interested in and covered stories that would require the minimum number of interviews. They ended up on the front page, I did not. I’ve kept every issue that we printed and there’s not a single story I’m proud of because I know none of them are me at my best. Yes, it requires more effort and yes, it may mean missing a few episodes of Scandal but looking back, it will be worth it knowing you accomplished something you’d be proud to show to a future employer.

If your college is anything like mine, it’s likely filled with neat amenities such as an athletic complex, doctor’s/dental office, employment services, maybe even a reasonably priced gourmet restaurant where culinary students test their abilities. These aren’t cool extras, their cost is folded into your tuition so you might as well make the most of them.

It feels like nowadays, all I hear the college students in my life talk about is studying and work and while I appreciate that the road to a college degree can be a challenging one, I can’t help but feel like they’re robbing themselves of a real college experience. Remember how quickly high school went? College is about twice that fast. Between all the lectures, workshops and mid-terms, carve out some time to have a real college experience. Go to parties, pull an all-night study session, hang out at the campus pub, cheer on your college sports team (Go Durham Lords!), because five years from now when you look back at your time there, you don’t want to just remember all the work you did.

If there’s one thing that unifies each of my points it’s this: College is what you make of it. It can be a blip on the roadmap of your life or it can illuminate your path. It can be the place where you met your best friend or your future husband, where you finally figured our your career path or just discovered that you really hate the taste of tequila, either way, you have to try. High school was the time for auto-pilot, in college, you have to give a damn.

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