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College Advice From a Recent Grad

In college, you need to learn how to stand your ground. College is absolutely a time to experience new things. You're immersed in new people and things, opening up the realm of possibilities. Throughout this, you might come across conversations where you have a certain opinion or activities in which you don't want to participate in. There's nothing wrong with wanting to try new things (in fact, that's also a part of college), but if it goes against who you are, you absolutely have the right to say no. It's okay to not do something if it makes you uncomfortable, just as it's okay to have a different opinion from everyone (so long as that opinion isn't maliciously hurting anyone else, but that's a whole other topic...).

In the cases where you're open to everything new around you, try new things. New things don't have to be anything quintessentially "collegiate." Trying new things could mean trying a certain food for the first time, going to a new restaurant, museum, whatever treasures your college's area might hold. Trying new things could also loop into the societal vision of college, the parties, the clubs, the late nights with friends and acquaintances. If you're being safe and responsible and trust the people you're with, trying new things in college does become an essential part. I plan on tackling my journey as an introverted college student another time, but it is still 100% possible to enjoy college without going out every weekend, that I can promise.

You can still have fun regardless of whether you like to go out. If you like to go out, you do you! If you don't, that is also completely fine. It's a "to each their own" kind of thing and both sides should respect the other. Chances are, if you find the right group of friends, they won't care whether or not you want to go out on the weekend or even during the week. There are plenty of other things in college to do that don't involve alcohol if you seek them out. Netflix exists for a reason! You can sit down and binge watch movies where you can still talk the entire time and remember the conversation. You can go for a long walk if your area permits it, grab a cup of coffee and a pastry and chit-chat. You can go bowling, to a sporting event, anything could be considered an outing if you're with a friend you enjoy spending time with!

The buddy system will never let you down. If you're at a club or a party, stick with a few people, even if there's a larger group with you. If you're walking somewhere at night, even in the day time, have at least someone, if not a couple of people with you. It's no joke when girls travel to the bathroom in pairs or groups. I always joke that one of us will disappear if we don't, but you never know what happens. What if you run into someone you know and ditch the rest of your group because you forget? What if you can't find your group again when you get out of the insanely long bathroom line? If you have a friend with you, at least you won't be wandering around the club with strangers surrounding you trying to find the people you came with. There's strength in numbers and there's nothing wrong with being cautious of being places alone.

College is a balancing act. You need to learn fast how to keep up with school work and a social life and even work. It will test you and your ability to balance, but be careful. I had the habit of putting too much on my plate to test myself. You don't need to test your ability to balance and divvy up your free time to make sure that you get everything done. If you need to work in college, work the minimum you need to until you know you can handle it. Don't purposefully pack your schedule knowing that it might stress you out just because you want to make everyone, including your boss and friends, happy. Part of learning how to balance is also learning how to make time for yourself. If you know you need to have an early night because you're exhausted, then you should take that time for yourself. Being a people pleaser and wanting to do something good for yourself when it comes at the expense of your friends is a hard thing to learn, but it will keep you from getting completely worn out weekend after weekend.


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