With an associate’s degree and still chipping away at the eventual goal of a nursing degree, I’ve experienced my fair share of college failures and success. With graduation season right around the corner, I figured it’d be appropriate to do a post about the top five things I’ve learned in college (so far).
- Studying is important.
This one probably comes as a no brainer, but for some reason I feel like I never quite learn my lesson when it comes to studying for exams. Case in point, this past Monday night I had a twenty-question final for my online statistics course, it was thankfully open note and open book, but it still took me an hour and a half of panic to complete and I barely passed with a 70 percent. At one point during the exam my husband had to gently reassure me that hyperventilating was not going to help me pass, and it was with many frustrated tears I was able to pull it together and pass the test. This is my fourth year of college, having taken two semesters off and changed plans six thousand times, it still strikes me as odd how much I don’t study for things, and then get mad at myself for not doing better. Studying is important and not studying for exams is a terrible cycle I need to break if I want to make it into the big leagues and become a nurse.
- Stay committed!
This one kind of goes along with the first lesson learned, but it still needs to be said. Staying committed and keeping focused is another lesson I learned after adjusting my academic plans for the hundredth time. Finding your passion and staying committed to your classes is super important in not only maintaining a solid GPA, but also in setting yourself up for success later down the line. Staying committed to your plan no matter how hard it may seem is going to pay off someday when you’re doing what you love, whether it be a career or a hobby, commitment is key in getting stuff done.
- No one cares what you did in high school.
I prided myself in how well I did in high school, graduated top thirty in my class, was on student council, made cheering captain my junior year, I was even voted most spirited my senior year and I thought that was the absolute coolest! As fun as all those things are, I will never forget going to a career workshop at Raytheon a year later and having the executive who was looking at my resume laugh at me. Apparently once you hit the adult world, no one cares how many pep rallies you attended or what number graduate you were in high school. It was a little defeating at first realizing everything I had thought was cool and important now meant very little in terms of marketable skills, but I did find that the qualities and lessons I picked up from all those things could work themselves into traits that would be marketable in the real world. In my case, most spirited and cheer captain turned into great people skills and an enthusiasm to learn in the workforce, both of things employers could look at as beneficial to their company.
- Books will always be expensive.
This one comes from nearly four years of scrounging the depths of the internet for the cheapest book option. I’ve done digital rentals, hard copy rentals, I’ve bought brand new, no matter what the case books always seem to be an expense that you just have to suck it up and bite the bullet on. Tricks that make them more affordable are always asking the teacher if you’re actually going to need the book, and then following it up with if a prior version will suffice. Some books are worth buying, especially if you’re interested in the topic, but others (looking at you statistics) you will never want to open again, so really it’s your prerogative whether you rent or buy, but keep in mind great sites like chegg and ecampus that not only allow you to rent and buy books, but sell them as well.
- Don’t let others success get in the way of your own.
This one goes out to all of my non-traditional students, the parents that went back when their kids hit middle school, the free spirit who traveled the world then decided to get a degree, and the part time student working their way through one class at a time. Don’t let the fact that other people in your life have already succeeded and finished their degree get in the way of you doing what you need to and getting your own academics in order. It’s really hard not to constantly compare ourselves to the people around us, especially with the use of social media and how connected we are with our family and friends. But it is so super important to not get trapped in feeling that your any less successful just because you’re taking your time and haven’t reached your end goal as quickly as others have. Whether it takes you six months or six years, as long as you believe you can and keep on track with the goals you set for yourself, it won’t matter what anyone else did, because their success doesn’t mean you yourself have failed, personal success is determined by what you put out there, not the outputs of those around you.
College is a time for growth and discovery, and with a lot of hard work and perseverance it can open doors and bring about opportunities that never seemed possible before. So, to all students out there, whether you be taking one class or seven, don’t lose hope and keep up the good work!
Also shout out to my triplet brother Mike for graduating this week with his bachelor’s degree in psychology from UMASS Amherst, he’s the first to complete his undergrad and I can’t wait to see all the awesome adventures his newly graduated life has in store!