Seventeen years later, though of course it really feels like so much less, I am finally done with school. As I nervously prepare to head into the workforce and adulthood, I want to reflect on what has been possibly the most challenging period of my life. The last four years have been spent at a university, that will now feel like a home to me, where I learned, laughed, and was challenged.
From being a baby SDSU freshman, to going to my first college party, to sleeping through a Final exam and crying in the dean’s office (lol), to being a faculty instructor…188 units later, I finished with my Master’s in Accounting and a specialization in Accounting Information Systems and am officially an alumni. Thank you, SDSU, and go Aztecs!!
When I graduated, the phrase “it hasn’t hit me yet” came from all of our mouths. A few nights later, I had a dream where I was at university and was crying in that dream because I was so sad!! I’m going to miss being a student.
In these years I went through my first real relationship and accordingly my first real break up. Dating in college is way different by the way (hah). I also got my first job! It is tiring and difficult to work while going to school at the same time, but the hard work is well worth it in the end. Don’t lose sight of that. My papa also got sick during my last year of college, but it reminded me why I’ve been trying so hard in school: to provide for my family and future family.
Here are my 5 top pieces of advice that I would give to my freshman self. I’ve mixed in a couple of practical tips (I can’t help it), but most of them are just general tips on how to enjoy college more.
1. Travel More
Travel, travel, travel. There’s no better time. Unless you’re doing summer/winter school, spend your breaks going to new places. This, too, is a learning experience. My cousin and his girlfriend just graduated from high school and are doing a whole Asia trip – that is the way to go. I didn’t do anything the summer after high school! (I actually did two menial internships but I definitely should have traveled)
2. Ask About Recruiting
There is a method to going about recruiting – accounting, in particular, has a VERY specific recruiting process. I had no idea about those exact steps, which screwed me over for a bit since I was so uninformed/unprepared – it worked out in the end, but it made the recruiting process so much riskier/harder. Make sure to ask others, namely older students, about the realities of recruiting. One of your main objectives whilst at school should be focusing on getting a job.
3. The Dating Game
The juicy topic. I have a lot of older coworkers who always tell me how hard it is to find people to date in their late twenties/thirties. In college, it’s so much easier because you have hundreds of the same peers that you see every day in class. So let loose and give a guy a chance.
Guuuurl, dating is quite different from how it was in high school, that was something my innocent/naive self was unprepared for. Everybody doesn’t know everyone’s story as much, so just be careful. For example, I once dated a classmate who LIVED with a GIRLFRIEND?! She was studying abroad for the semester and he didn’t have social media (which I now know is a red flag) so I had no way to know!! Besides him, the rest of the SDSU guys I dated were luckily gems.
I referenced this badboy more than I read my textbooks. I’m focused on what is going to make learning most enjoyable for me and where am I going to get an A. For example, I looked for whether attendance was mandatory – I don’t normally benefit from attending lecture because honestly many lecturers don’t help me more than the textbook. I’d rather stay at home and study than waste hours in class. I also looked for whether there were group projects because ain’t nobody going to let you down more than your college group mates. And lastly, I looked for how many papers there were to write because ew.
In high school, you aren’t allowed to teacher shop, but in college you are. Take advantage of it. There are obviously a lot of disgruntled students on that website so just be conscious to overlook the basis-less complaints.
5. Hangout More
Is it embarrassing to say I wish I had made more of an effort to make/keep friends? But that’s one of my honest regrets, and in general to just spend less time working and more time living life. I was so busy – I was working 40+ hrs/wk and attending 12+ hrs/wk of lecture. Then of course there were hours of homework, papers, and projects. Any spare time I had, if any, I tried to spend it studying or with my family/boyfriend. But normally I was too tired to do even that! I truly was asleep most times not at work/school. As a result, it left little room for my old/new friends…and working out (lol).
But I did meet some of the coolest people in college. I made one of my best friends in undergraduate, he was my fake boyfriend when grossies tried to hit on me around campus. I found it really weird just how similar so many of my accounting classmates were to me, personality wise. It was so nice to be around like-minded people who just get me. And I am happy to say my old best friends (who are, thank the lord, low-maintenance) are doing big things in their respective cities that I get to hear about whenever we do get together.
Good luck, to the rest of you entering college!!! Make the best of it!! Your girl has graduated!! Xo