7 Things I Wish I Knew in College

The “real world” is completely different from college. Which is odd considering that college is supposed to be your first taste of independence and the world out there. Here are 7 things I wish I knew when I was in college:

 

1) Your grades don’t matter: This part hit me the most when job-hunting. No one cared that I had great grades or was part of a honour society for students in the top 15% of their field of study. In fact no one seemed to care that I had a degree at all. People just wanted work experience which I didn’t have (and couldn’t get because I had no work experience). Which brings me to my next point:

2) The importance of work experience: No one wants to employ someone with no work experience. Which is ironic because how do you get work experience if no one wants to give you work without prior working experience. It baffles me that this has been going on for a while now and no one has done anything about it.

3) How to work in a team: It’s not that I don’t know how to work in a team. It’s just that I don’t want to. Group projects in college were a total nightmare and we basically divided the entire project into individual parts and then got together to present the entire project. While I may love the team that I work up, it took the introvert in me five months to finally feel comfortable around them. I definitely wish someone had taught me the importance of working in a team.

4) It’s who you know not what you know: Like number 1 on this list, this also hit me hard. Finding a job seems to be more about who you know than what you know. So network network network. You never know who could lead you to your next job. My cousin found her current job because someone saw her searching career websites on her phone and they knew someone who was hiring.

5) You can’t stay at home from work just because you want to: There are many reasons to miss class in college. It’s too cold, too hot, it’s a Friday, you’re hungover, etc. Unfortunately you can’t do this in the real world. Come rain or shine, you have a job to do. While slacking off in college was okay, that kind of behavior could get you fired.

6) Treasure your free time: My holidays and weekends in college were spent complaining about how bored I was. My holidays and weekends as an employed adult are spent running errands or completing chores that I couldn’t do during the week. Free time is no longer a thing.

7) It’s all going to be okay: I was a neurotic wreck in college. I always fretted over the smallest of things (I once printed out an assignment three times because the ridiculous tutor kept changing her mind about the format of the assignment). I would love to tell my past self to relax and breathe, everything will be fine. Sometimes life doesn’t go the way we want it to and that’s okay.

What do you wish you knew when you were in college?

How to Write an Essay

As an English major and a blogger, you’d assume that writing essays would come naturally to me. It doesn’t. There’s nothing I hate more than having to write an essay. Three years of college have made me create a strict no-fail routine when it comes to writing an essay. Here are my tips for writing an essay:

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1) Rewrite the essay question in your own words- Sometimes essay questions are worded in the most difficult way possible. Rewriting them helps you to understand precisely what it is that the question is asking. It also helps in writing your introduction.

2) Decide on your main points- I do this so that I know precisely what I’m going to include in my essay.

3) Write out your essay- the first two steps above should help you in writing your introduction. Your introduction should introduce the topic and discuss how you’re going to approach it.
Your body should consist of the main statements (and supporting statements) that prove the view you’re taking on the topic. Your conclusion should sum up everything you’ve said in the essay. The easiest way to remember this is: “Say what you’re going to say, how you’re going to say it (The introduction), say what you want to say (The body) and then say what you’ve said (The conclusion).

4) Edit- Be sure to edit your essay before you hand it in. I usually do a edit on my own before getting a member of the university to check my essay for me. Editing helps you to polish up your essay so you can get the best possible grade.

What’s your writing process when it comes to essays?

10 Ways College is Better Than High School

You wouldn’t know it since it’s a million times more stressful but here are 10 reasons why college is better than high school.

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1) Unlimited WiFi- if you know me, you know I’m obsessed with WiFi. Having access to WiFi on campus makes life so much easier.

2) You Get to See Your Friends More Often- it’s like you guys are living together. And in some cases, you might be. Even as a commuter, the long hours mean you’re going to be spending the entire day with your friends (so making friends who keep the same hours as you is a major advantage).

3) Food- in high school, the only food items we could buy was junk food and pie. In college there’s no end to the variety of food available. There’s vegetarian options, pizzas, pastas, etc. Don’t even get me started on the beverages. *drools*

4) You Have Interesting Subjects- my first semester at college consisted of Criminology, English, Zulu and Academic Writing. Okay Zulu was something offered in high school but I was fascinated by Criminology and Academic Writing. High school didn’t have subjects like that. Which brings me to…

5) You Choose Your Subjects- You have greater freedom choosing subjects in college than in high school. Bye bye Maths you colossal-waste-of-time.

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6) The Subjects Are All Very Different From High School- instead of basic comprehension and editing, English forced us to read and analyse text. We had discussions on Freud, Foucault and a local author who went insane while writing his last book (which made the ending of the book senseless but oddly intriguing).

7) The Dependence on Technology- remember when we weren’t allowed cellphones in classes? College doesn’t have that rule. You might even need your cellphone to take notes (or in some cases, take out photos of notes). You may also require a laptop or tablet. That combined with the WiFi makes for a dangerous combination.

8) The Strange Hours- you may start at ten. You may finish at twelve. Hell you may even start your weekend on a Wednesday. Okay that only happened to me once but it was AMAZING. College has more flexible hours which can be a blessing or a curse.

9) Attendance is not mandatory- if you skipped a day of class in high school, you were required to bring a note. No such rule exists in college. Of course there are a few classes that have registers but that’s because they’re evil. Stats, I command thee to leave my college syllabus.

10) It’s Not High School- College does not have the same drama as high school. Yes there might be experiences where you feel like you never left high school (we’ll get into the horror of my Freshman year some other time) but here’s the great part- you can leave. College has thousands of people so if you’re having issues with someone, simply remove them from your life and keeping moving forward.

What’s your favourite part of college?