Congratulations! You’ve successfully finished federally funded education and now you are one step closer to becoming fully responsible for yourself. If you thought high school was intimidating, then meet high school’s bigger and more intimidating older brother: college. Some of you might be extremely optimistic about this opportunity, and some of you might just view it as a way to appease your parent’s desire to vicariously live through you. Whatever reason it might be, we all need to face this next step in our lives. So wipe your tears and close your high school yearbook—here are five unconventional tips that you need to know before entering your first, second, or even third year at Boston College.
- If you can, do not take 8 a.m. classes. You can not handle them.
Yes, I know. You just finished a high school career where you had a 7 a.m. class every day for four years. As tough as you think you might be, college is a whole different ball game. Although taking an 8 a.m. class doesn’t seem too difficult on a regular night where you can go to bed at 10 p.m., it does get difficult when you find yourself studying the night before for two midterms that are worth half your grade because you were overwhelmed by club involvement activities and internship searches. College isn’t about whether or not you can keep up with your schedule. College is about letting your schedule fit around what times of the day you are most productive and available. If you have to give yourself a motivational pep talk everyday to get to your 8 a.m., then chances are you are not cut out to take that course. Also, don’t force yourself to take an 8 a.m. just to fulfill a particular academic requirement. I promise all you overachievers that four years is more than enough time to fulfill the credit requirements for your double major and minor.
2. Test out of the language requirement. It will save you a bottle of Tylenol and unnecessary stress.
BC is a college that is centered around the idea of a liberal arts education. We want all of our students to be well-rounded in every facet of life, even if that means learning a foreign language they will most likely never use in their day-to-day lives. Don’t go into an intermediate language course thinking that you “got this.” Remember, you’re in college. College language courses are not just you spending 50 minutes watching a Spanish telenovela with English subtitles (I have learned, much to my surprise). They’re intensive courses where the professor actually expects you to learn the language. If learning the past subjunctive tense of the verb “tener” doesn’t interest you, then test out of language and use that time to take a course that actually interests you.
3. Stop crying because you don’t have friends.
A lot of freshmen struggle with being in a new community. It’s not just you. While many take the beginning of their freshmen year to try to find a community, they sometimes forget the real reason why they are at college. It’s not like high school, where you feel like the friends you make there will be your friends forever. Friendships come and go—people in college base friendships more upon their preferences and who fits them. Stop trying to fit the standard and mold of everybody around you. Try to figure out what you want out of your college career first, then surround yourself with people who have like-minded goals and aspirations. This will save you from the late night talks you have with your ceiling about whether or not you think that one kid down the hall is a true friend.
4. You’re not Superman. You can’t be everywhere at once.
You have a newfound love for learning. You’re excited, energetic, and proud to be an Eagle. You want to do everything. You want to take classes from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.. Then, you want to attend as many club meetings as possible, while planning time to go to an 8 p.m. lecture about the dying art of Zen gardens. You want to, you want to, you want to—but you can’t. You are human. Remember that and pace yourself. College is a four-year marathon, not a four-day sprint. You are going to realize that the novelty of college will die very quickly. It’s great that you are enthusiastic, but you want to make college an interesting and engaging experience for four years. Don’t get tied down to club commitments or major choices. Feel free to explore the different options that college has to offer at a reasonable pace. Once you find your community and the things you enjoy, then invest time into these areas of your life.
5. Finally, take college for what it is.
Remember that college is not the be-all and end-all of life. There is life after these four years, and that life ahead of you is way bigger than this 373-acre university. People sometimes get so enveloped into their lives within these gold and maroon walls and focus too much on what the University does and doesn’t do right. College isn’t meant to be perfect. College, like any path in your life, will carry both its triumphs and disappointments. But how you decide to contextualize and learn from these experiences will directly affect how beneficial college is to you. Some of you might be paying your way to college, and some of you might be going to college due to the good graces of your parents. Whatever your circumstance may be, remember that college is an investment of money, time, and effort that you can never get back. Enjoy college for what it is, not for what you expected, wished, or hoped it would be.