I wrote about a tree, using it as a metaphor for life. Just thinking about it makes me yawn.
If I could go back in time, here’s what I’d say.
1. Work hard. This might seem like a no-brainer, but plenty of people break from the gate too slowly and never catch up to the pack. Just because you’ve worked hard for more than a decade doesn’t mean you get to slack off for the next four years.
I know, I know. It’s not what you want to hear. But believe me when I tell you that too many people make this mistake and regret it later. It’s not easy bringing up a GPA that you tanked your first year in college; so don’t tank it.
2. Remember the end game. Always keep your goal in mind, especially when faced with decisions that could take you in another direction. True story: I worked on my college newspaper and wanted to pledge a sorority. I couldn’t do both. The time commitments for each were too great.
I decided that working on the newspaper would help me achieve my goal of becoming a professional journalist more than being a sorority sister would. It wasn’t easy watching my friends pledge without me, but I knew I had made the right choice when I landed a job after college graduation based largely on the work I had done as a student journalist.
3. Enjoy college. This doesn’t mean that you don’t work hard; it means that you work hard and manage your time wisely so that you have time to enjoy college life. Books might make you smart, but life makes you wise. I learned some of my greatest life lessons while I was in college.
4. Listen to that little voice. Don’t ignore it. If it’s telling you not to walk down that dark alley, don’t. If it’s telling you to find your girlfriend at the party because the guy in the corner is creeping you out, find your girlfriend. If it’s telling you the answer is C and you picked D, you’re a dummy.
“If only I would have listened” are words you never want to say. Make good choices and, if you don’t, learn from your mistakes.
5. Enjoy the journey. It’s not always going to be easy. Truth is, there will be times when you’ll want to quit. Don’t. Remember the endgame and that most things worth having aren’t easy to achieve.
6. Find your passion. Whatever you choose to do, make it something you are passionate about. You don’t want to get through college only to find that you hate the job you just spent the last four years (and tons of money) preparing for because it’s what mom and dad wanted you to do.
What do you want to do? Do it!
Of course, I have way more than six snippets of advice, but I’ve run out of space (Newsprint is expensive!)
I hope that you are humble and help others. Give back when you’re able. And when your college years come to an end, you’ll be happy with the life you lead.
And, if you’re not, you’ll be wise enough to do something about it!
Now go live your dream.
Buffy Andrews is Assistant Managing Editor of Features and Niche Publications for the York Daily Record/Sunday News. She’s also its Social Media Coordinator.