3 Tips for The College Kids

We've Been There, We've Done That. You'll Get Through, We Promise.

I graduated high school in 2010. I was my class graduation speaker. Life looked promising. Fast forward to my bachelor’s degree. I graduated college in 2016. 6 years. It took me 6 years to earn a 4 year degree. Why you ask? Walk with me.

In high school I was the over achiever. I was hopeful, green-eyed, and confident in my future success. But then life happened. It happened to quite a few of us. College is already challenging enough, adding the other elements like a job, social life, love life, and a healthy regime may prove hard to keep up with. Here are some tips while in school to stay the course!

1. Make sure you have a support system of family and friends to meet your one mental breakdown a day quota. Use all the resources your school has to offer.

When I attended FCC, Frederick Community College, I had no intentions of talking to anyone. I barely wanted to talk to my college adviser, Persis Bates (now Johnson). She’ll tell you. (P! What it do!) After being denied from all the ivy league universities to which I applied, (either my high school counselors under educated me on state schools or I could have very well ignored their advice and shot for the moon—either way I missed) you can imagine I wanted to be in, out, and onward. All that hard work in high school just to end up in the 13th grade? I was annoyed, exhausted, and discouraged.

But when I got there, things started looking up. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at FCC and it all started from meeting Ms. P and getting involved in the multicultural center. There I established a network of friends and potential business contacts. So don’t skip the corny offices you see around campus. Poke your head in, and you may be surprised.

With that being said,

2. Go to a school with a rich campus life.

That was how I enjoyed my time at college. At FCC, I was “robbed” of the traditional four year university dorm life, living on campus and being away from home. But I was rewarded with so much more by the activities in which I engaged. You get out what you put in. Either way, it worked out well but my general sentiments about higher learning remain unchanged to this day.

The classes were blah. I’m not your traditional college student. In fact, I hate the classroom experience. I hate the desks, I hate pretending to be attentive when really I’m making a mental to do list of my life post-class, I hate in-class exams and the deafening tense air it brings, I could go on. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I hate school, although that can be argued based on past reflections, it’s just that the institution of learning and the channel in which you’re forced to learn isn’t my style. I had 12 years of looking at a board, don’t you think that’s enough? Haven’t I earned my stripes? We learn that life is about endless learning, whether in or out the classroom — and that’s a good thing. Hence, why I dropped out. Shocker. You’ll see why. Read further…

3. Do not take a semester off. Stay with it.

I continued reaching higher heights and finished my two year degree in a year and a half (whether fueled by my ambition or strong desire to get out of school), with a degree in Business Administration. I was off to the University of Maryland College Park’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.

Well, their satellite campus in Montgomery County. I moved to the area and began my short daily commute to class, similar to my last two years. But this time, I just felt unfulfilled. The classes were rigorous, my financial priorities had shifted, and I needed more balance and focus…and more money. Unfortunately, UMD didn’t offer any online courses, an option that was dire for my success.

So, I took a semester off. Not a good idea. Never a good idea. Dwindle down on the workload if you must, but don’t quit. A semester turned into two years. Two years. After multiple mental breakdowns, harsh lessons learned, relived childhood traumas, and severe escapism by means of sex and alcohol, I was ready to go back. Do I regret it? Sometimes. Only because of the opportunities missed. I wasn’t prepared because I didn’t have a degree. I’m glad I finally finished, but it’s the curiosity that kills me. What if I had finished sooner? Don’t miss your opportunities. Finish now, so you can be prepared for what tomorrow brings.

Have any advice for the college kids? Leave a comment below!

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