As the school year comes to a close, I find myself in a state of reflection. I truly believe it is important to not only look back, but also to share what you have learned. When you are young it is so hard to see beyond the here and now. I asked a ton of impressive women of all ages to complete the sentence, "The one thing I wish I knew before going to college...."
Below are the wonderful answers I received and I hope they help you as you move forward in your journey:
LIZ SEDA, A LIFE ON YOUR TERMS
The one thing I wish I knew before going to college is that it's an experience that is much more than pure academics, and you'll get out of it what you put in, but you have to get out of the classroom to reap the full benefits of this once in a lifetime experience.
SARAH KING, OWNER OF BLUSH BOUTIQUE
That you will never find another time in life that you have so many resources at your fingertips to learn, grow and network. College life is unlike any other segment of life in that you are constantly surrounded by people that are helping and guiding you into your next biggest phase of life. Building those relationships, utilizing the abundance of resources, and networking at any and every opportunity will lay a strong foundation for whatever path you take after graduation.
SUZANNE TUCKER, CREATOR OF MY MOMMY MANUAL.COM AND CO-PRODUCER/DIRECTOR OF LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER ST. LOUIS
The one thing I wish I knew before going to college is that once there I could no longer blame my mom for not waking me up on time. ;) That, and to hold on tight to letting go. Some of the best things that would happen for me (in college and in life) would be unplanned, happening despite of me more than because of me.
MALENA SMITH,FRESHMAN AT MERAMAC AND SINGER/SONGWRITER
The one thing I wish I knew before going to college is don't take more credit hours than you know you can handle. Professors tell you that you should spend twice the amount of credit hours that a class is worth studying for that class per week. My first semester of college I enrolled in 18 credit hours, meaning that I would need to spend at least 36 hours a week studying on top of the time I spent in class, at work, on extracurriculars, and with friends. By the end of semester I had withdrawn from one class and received a D in another class. Be realistic about what you can handle, especially your freshman year.
ASHLEY JOSEPHINE, ASHLEY JOSEPHINE
I wish I knew that I could be exactly what I wanted to be and I didn't have to compromise to fit into a "declared" major.
JENNA BURCH, SOPHOMORE AT MIZZOU
The one thing I wish I knew before coming to college was the importance of time management and involvement on campus.
CHESLEY BROOKS, MIDWEST CATWALK
I wish I knew keeping in touch with high school friends would be hard. I didn't go to a school where everyone else went, and it made it hard to keep in touch with my old friends, many of whom went to the same college. In the end I had to focus my efforts on new relationships instead of obsessing over the old ones. I couldn't be jealous I was "missing out" because they were together. Instead I cherished the time I got to see everyone when we were at home on breaks!
JORDAN WOODRUFF, FRESHMAN AT SMU
The one thing I wish I knew before going to college is that no matter how much advice you receive, you will only be ready for college once you start experiencing it yourself. Everyone has a different college experience, and you have to go through it with ups and downs in your own unique way. College helps you learn so much about yourself, and you can't do that by simply doing what others advise you to.
GINA MARTIN, DIRECTOR OF GIRLS IN THE KNOW
I wish I had known or believed that the choices I'd be making would affect the rest of my life.
ROBYN JORDAN, SOPHOMORE AT UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS
That failure is an option and the thought of it is needed in order to succeed. I have never once heard someone say "I want something bad to happen to me today," and yet everyday something bad is happening to somebody. I had to realize that you can't pick and choose what happens to you, but you have the power to choose how you acknowledge it and how it affects you. Failure is just a stepping stone to greatness. It often makes you feel embarrassed, disconnected, and uncomfortable with yourself and the people around you, but I feel like it's only there to make you realize or change something that's in your life that put you in that position in the first place. Failure is an experience, but it's also a state of mind. It's meant to make you feel lonely, self-pity, and impossible to conquer. It's meant to alienate you from your surroundings and create negative thoughts that don't make you feel any better. However, with strength, perseverance, and support, failure is just a path that can help you or defeat you. It's your choice.
DEVIKA CHRISTIE, OWNER OF NO LEASH NEEDED
The one thing I wish I knew before going to college is that universities provide many opportunities to see brilliant minds speak or have discussion forums. Attend as many as possible, you can always learn something from someone who has walked in steps before you. If I could pick two things, I would also say I wish I knew that the end result isn’t just about getting a job, it’s about securing your future happiness.
SHELBY HARTMAN FRESHMAN AT KU
The one thing I wish I knew before college is a better outlook on time management. Going into a field of study that is constant work and no downtime, time management was surely a rude awakening at the beginning of the year. This consists of getting all your work done while still managing to eat well, exercise, and maintaining a decent social life.
NELL BRECKENRIDGE, INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AT BOEING
To take as many classes that are of interest. You don't have to be so focused on your major and planning to get a job. It's one of the few chances you have to take classes in lots of things you enjoy and to just learn and grow. You have the rest of your life to focus on one (or two) areas; college is your chance to enjoy learning anything.
ISABEL CAMPBELL, FRESHMAN AT UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS AND JUST A TASTE OF FASHION
The one thing I wish I knew before going to college is you really are starting over. No one knows who you are so you have to step up, show all you have, and see who are the right people to be friends with. Also, the first month is stressful. Living with a person you barely know is a new experience and classes can be up to 200 people, which is tough because your teacher has no idea if you are a hard worker or not. It is really the small things that can shock you!
KATHLEEN FRESE, MATHEMATICS TEACHER AT KIRKWOOD HIGH SCHOOL
That it is ok to be selfish and focus on what you want out of life. It is important to not make decisions based on what other people in your life think.
WHITNEY STREAM, SENIOR AT UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS
The one thing I wish I knew before going to college is that it is ok to say no to things. Everybody thinks that in college, you have to try everything, be friends with everyone and associate with the coolest and most popular organizations. Truth is: that doesn't work. It's so much easier to try a little bit of everything, see what you like, who you don't like, and what suits you best as a person and sticking to that for the next couple years. College is all about "finding yourself" but a lot of people graduate college thinking they still have yet to do that, and they're the ones who spread themselves so thin while others got plugged in, immersed into specific places and friend groups and really stuck there. Learn how to say no, do what you want to do (not your roommate, girlfriend or mom did in college) and you'll benefit from it in more ways than you know.
JENNIFER DENEA, DRUG DISCOVERY SALES SPECIALIST AT CORNING LIFE SCIENCES
To truly bask in every experience and moment you have in college starting with Day 1. You're so worried and consumed about moving in, your roommate, where your classes are located, if you have the right text books, if you've made a good first impression with your biology professor, if you're going to get. 4.0 this semester etc that you really miss out on those first few memories and experiences of this transition in your life and to let the livelihood sink in that this is the next phase of my life... Independently and on my own!
KATE MCCLURE, FRESHMAN AT ARIZONA STATE
It's not important to be going to a school that's "different". It's important to find a school right for you. Start early. Make a list of everything you want in a school and go from there. Fill out lots of applications and lots of scholarship applications.
Most importantly, don't over look Mizzou! I made this mistake my senior year of high school in an attempt to be an individual, but in the end, the college you attend isn't about that. Here I am at the end of my freshman year of college and I am happy to say that I'll be transferring to the University of Missouri next fall!
STEPH GOLD, EMPOWERMENT COACH & PROGRAM VOLUNTEER WITH GIRLS IN THE KNOW
Introduce yourself to your professor... I noticed a huge different between the quality and attention I received from the professors that knew my name compared to the experience of my peers that never introduced themselves. If I had a question or needed to schedule a meeting with a professor it was never a problem to get In touch with he or she because I had established a relationship from day 1 of class. My advice would be to go up to the professor and introduce yourself after the first class. You will notice what a huge impact it will have on your experience because you will become an individual they know and care about instead of just another one of their students.
APRIL HUNTER, WORK REDEFINED
The one thing that I wish I knew before going to college is that it is great to dream and have an open mind about what you want to study in college. But it is even more important to have a plan on how to practically use that education to live in a financially stable manner.
VANESSA WIDESKI,MINDFUL ABUNDANCE
I started college very late. Now looking back, I wish I would have started college a lot sooner. I wish I knew how helpful college was going to be and that it can shape an individual's mind. College gives a person a lot of knowledge & self assurance too. I wish I would have known that straight out of high school.
ELMA GARRISON, REGIONAL SALES DIRECTOR OF SHIRE REGENERATIVE MEDICINE
To have more fun. I took myself too seriously at times and didn't enjoy college to its fullest potential because I worried too much about "my future" rather than enjoying the present. Study and be responsible but have lots of fun too- go out, go on spring breaks.... Biggest regret: I never went on a single spring break because I always worked but now wish I would have done it. And I didn't go out enough either. College was still my favorite four years ever!!!
A HUGE thank you to everyone who took the time to finish the statement! All of you had amazing answers!!!
Now it is your turn...I would love to hear what you think. Did you connect with anyone's answer? How would you finish the sentence?