Ten things I’d tell myself at the start of college

By Farah Bassyouni Jan 29, 2024

As I’m entering the end of my senior year and reflecting on my time at Illinois Wesleyan, I have learned so much over the past four years. If I was able to turn back the clock, there would be ten things I would tell my freshman self.

1. Primary school never ends

Unfortunately, there will always be bullies, just like in K-12. Not everyone will mature and college will not change the mean girl’s ways. As the saying goes, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

2. Hobbies make it easier to find your people

Figure out multiple interests that you want to explore during your college career. I have gained friends, leadership positions and new skills by participating in organizations on campus like my sorority, the Argus, and the IDEA Center.

3. Attend as many CAB events as possible

Go to any and all on campus events, especially those hosted by the Campus Activity Board (CAB) . I have won money, gotten free food and met new people by attending CAB events. The events are usually free and a fun place to hang out with friends.

4. Utilize your professors’ office hours

It may be the oldest study tip in the book, but go to a professor’s office hours. Nine  times out of 10 they’ll be helpful. Plus, it can be easier to speak one on one outside of class, rather than in front of all your peers.

5. Not every friendship lasts

Throughout college, I have had several friendships end. Some ended on purpose or because something caused us to no longer be friends. With others, we simply drifted apart. Butfor the friendships that do last, put in the effort to make them healthy and fulfilling . 

6. It’s okay to be average

As someone who was on the honor roll throughout high school, I had high expectations for myself academically in college. Over time, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I am incredibly average academically and I will not graduate with honors. All that really matters is that I have never failed a class and will graduate on time. 

7. Trust your instincts

Usually, if your gut is telling you something is wrong, there’s a reason. Once, I went to a party with a group, and a friend and I left early because there was an off vibe. Nearly everyone else in our group caught COVID-19, while we remained unaffected.

8. Utilize the library

My biggest regret of college is not getting more of my books from the library, either through the IWU library or the I-share system. I could have saved a lot of money if I had taken five minutes to search the catalog.

9. Advocate for yourself

It is 100% acceptable to promote your wants and needs. For many careers, including my chosen field of nursing, you’re required to act as an advocate for others. But in order to take care of someone else, you must care for yourself first.

10. Change is a part of life

Nothing is definite in life besides change. But change can be a good thing, especially in college. Not only should it be expected, but it should be celebrated.

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