Summer has almost come to an end; soon will come the days when yellow buses return to the roadways, weekends are filled with football and social media is flooded with #FirstDaySelfies, student complaints and countdowns to midterms, finals, and (of course) graduation.
Five years ago I moved to Hammond, LA to start my journey through college. Today, I reminisce on my days as a student, two short months and a couple degrees later. Here is my advice to students at all stages of their academic careers.
1. Get involved. I recommend joining a minimum of four organizations including social/service, academic/ honors, religious and career-related. Take your membership a step further by being more than a name on the roster. Accept leadership roles; attend meetings. Make new friends.
2. Take advantage of available resources. Utilize access to free gym memberships, tutors, athletic events, counseling services, prints, etc. They won’t always be free and are offered to help you transition and succeed.
3. Manage your time wisely. It can be hard to balance school, social life, and part-time jobs, but it is possible and necessary. Find a system that works best for you and use it.
4. Plan ahead. Whether you’re graduating in four months or four years map out your road to success and the steps it will take to achieve your goals.
5. Be prepared to work hard and make sacrifices. You will not be able to buy every cute new pair of shoes or attend every dinner party. Remember you’re in college to earn a degree.
6. Learn how and when to say no. It’s OK; there are thousands of students who can say yes when you want or need to take a pass.
7. Make memories. Meet your president; attend a football game. Contribute service hours in The Big Event. Build or continue a legacy and develop stories that you can share later in life.
8. Enjoy the moments. They will pass fast. Don’t let stress steal the spotlight of your college experience. FYI: I haven’t met an employer who has asked to see my transcript, but I’m asked about my experiences with every new job opportunity. They are all more interested in how I started a Chapter of PRSSA, interviewed our most notable Southeastern Alumna, Robin Roberts, and the hectic week I attended a conference in Washington, DC, fulfilled duties as a Homecoming Maid and still made it home in time for the Washington Parish Free Fair.
Your time in college may not be the best years of your life, but it is time you will never be able to get back. Carpe Diem!
Jasmine C. Tate