32 Things I learned before graduating from College

This is my last semester of college. I am about to be a graduate with a degree. I’m technically a big girl now. How did that happen? It feels like yesterday was the start of my first year and then, BOOM… two months away from graduation. Scary feelings, team!

I really wanted to put together as much advice as possible for new students that may be nervous about post-secondary. I also understand that some older adults are equally as nervous going back to school. So I wanted to compile all the learnings into a really really really long list for you. I also asked some of my friends about the top things they have learned! I think it’s important to hear from people who go to different schools, are in different programs, and experienced different things. Not every experience is the same so it is really important to share everything and anything. I won’t keep you here long, so I hope you enjoy these 32 things I learned before graduating from my degree program. Enjoy your scroll!

  1. There are already so many people criticizing you, so stop criticizing yourself over every little thing.
  2. Everyone learns at a different pace, our brains are not all wired the same. Don’t feel bad if someone doesn’t understand your process, and don’t make others feel bad for how they learn.
  3. Plan for the future, but don’t obsess over it. In no time, you will be in your final year and you will wish you could turn back time.
  4. Excuses = No progress. Listen to Nike. #Justdoit
  5. Not everyone is meant to be in your life. Do you, and those that are meant to be there will grow with you.
  6. Your vibe attracts your tribe. Drama doesn’t “get better after highschool” so create the vibe you want and find people who support that. Ignore the drama.
  7. A failed test or assignment doesn’t reflect how smart you are and your capabilites. In 5 years, that failed financed test will not matter. (Sometimes crying in the teacher’s office helps…just saying.)
  8. Take care of your body and brain. Mental health and physical health should always be a priority.(Eat some dang veggies.)
  9. It’s okay to skip class when you need to but I promise, you will actually learn better if you go to class. (I know, I’m sorry but it’s true and I learned the hard way!)
  10. Your highschool habits can’t be your College/University habits. Create good habits because it will set the tone for the next four to five years of your life. (See this blog post for online learning or this blog post for student advice.)
  11. Listen to your gut. It’s okay to ask others for help, but most of the time you know what’s right for you. So listen to yourself over all of the other voices.
  12. Stress isn’t always a bad thing. But put it away when the laptop closes and don’t let it consume your off time.
  13. You can’t really control your grades, so don’t obsess over a number. You can work hard and put a lot of effort into the project, but you can’t pick the grade you get.
  14. Find the best fitness routine for your body! Not everyone is made to kill a CrossFit workout daily. Maybe your favourite workout is a long run, yoga, biking or a HIIT workout. Don’t listen to the millions of fitness influencers online, find what works for you.
  15. Love yourself for where you are right now and then you will love yourself even more as you grow.
  16. You are capable of SO MUCH MORE THAN YOU THINK! School will test you and you will always make it out, no matter how daunting the test looks from the outside.
  17. Don’t compare your degree to anyone else’s. You are lucky to be in school and getting this opportunity to better yourself. You. Are. Lucky.
  18. When you feel yourself struggling, talk to someone right away. Never let your negative thoughts sit and grow. If you need support, find it and talk to someone who is able to help. Therapy is one of the best things and there is nothing wrong with talking to a professional.
  19. Save your money, Honey! Stop buying Starbucks five days a week. Find a coffee to make at home and start saving as much as you can. Collect that interest so you can have the things you need and want after school. I was lucky to graduate debt free and luckily I set some pretty great saving habits!
  20. Part two of learning #19: YOU WILL NEVER EVER REGRET SAVING MONEY! That pair of $200 boots you bought and wore once? Regret. Saving $5,000? A good feeling all around.
  21. Read as many books as you can! Give your eyes a break from a screen, people! Pick up a real book made from paper and ink, make your favourite drink of whatever you please, and read in silence. This is becoming hard for our generation, but it is so good for your brain and is super relaxing.
  22. You might apply to 25,000 jobs and not hear back from a single one. That’s not on you, so don’t take it personally! Look over your resume, fine tune it and make sure you’re showing your best (and specific) skills. Then just keep trying (also research the jobs you’re applying to, so many scams out there).
  23. Find one good thing about every assignment, test, feedback, group assignment, etc. No one wants to be putting energy into something that doesn’t give them fulfillment. So change your mindset to find one positive thing from everything you do! This will help you do what makes you happy.
  24. You will not know what you want to do with your life at 21…. even if you had four years to think about it. That is 100% okay!
  25. Use a planner! Actually writing out a to-do list and staying on top of your due dates will only help you stay organized and a little less stressed. Don’t rely on your memory because when exam season starts, you will go crazy.

INTRODUCING…. The friends.

  1. “Understand that your plans will change throughout your undergrad and learn to be okay with that!” – Laura
  2. “Always make time for friends and you social life. Try to find some sort of balance, it shouldn’t be school 100% of the time.” – The Other Sam
  3. “Never be afraid to ask questions or for help. People are there to help you and chances are your questions will help someone else!” – Leanne
  4. “Take opportunities when they come. You will most likely more regret saying no than you would saying yes!” – The Other Sam again
  5. “Learn to prioritize your mental health by finding ways to balance the stress of school with things that help you relax, like reading, working out, going for walks, etc.” – Abby
  6. “Set good time management skills, the habits you create in University matter and it’s up to you to get all of the work done on time.” – Josh
  7. “You will never be able to please everyone, so do what works best for you and is best for you!” – Abby

I know this is probably a lot and you’re thinking, “okay this is great, but how is this supposed to help me?” Well, it might not help you at all but I hope you can find just one thing to motivate you! I love quotes and they give me the motivation to look at things from a different angle, be more confident in myself, and even spark creativity. So I hope that reading through the 32 things I learned from school, you keep one thing to take with you on your journey.