A Few Easy Steps To College Success

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Emily Semlow, Staff Writer

To all of those juniors being faced with only a year between them and a taste of the real world, college is bound to be a subject on your mind. Whether it’s steering away from the idea, trying to figure out the right fit for you, or just doing as your parents want, it’s an inevitable topic coming up.

There are so many things that people are going to tell you, and you’re going to feel like you’re under pressure to figure out your whole life right then and there. With that, there’s a few things to remember.

First of all, college does not give you a job. What you major in does not fully limit you to the obvious. This is your opportunity to do anything. What does your heart desire the most? What’s something you have a passion for, and you want it to be more? You get to choose your path; the moment you graduate high school you are considered to be an adult, and you can make your own decisions. If you don’t know what you want to do with your life right in this moment, don’t worry about it. Just learn. Just learn everything you can in the things that you love. You’ll figure out how to use it later on, especially because there are so many different jobs, some that you haven’t even ever heard of.

You also can’t worry about what others are thinking in your college decisions. Sure, there are some obstacles that may pull you back to reality if you can’t afford some colleges or if they are simply out of reach, but you need to make sure it’s a college you can see yourself thriving at. It’s important that you feel comfortable in your new environment that you’ll be spending your next four years at. This is the campus you will be learning, living, and expanding on. This is the campus where you will become the adult version of you. If you’re at a school where you are not comfortable and don’t feel as if you belong, you are potentially stunting yourself and missing out on things you would otherwise never be exposed to if you hadn’t gone to the school your friends went to or your parents were more excited about.

The application process: not as bad as you would think. Long? Yes. Difficult, testing all of your abilities as a student? No. The hardest parts are the essays. Don’t overthink them. The goal of the essays is for the college to get a feel of who you are and what you could possibly offer to their school. In other words, you’re selling yourself to them. This is the opportunity to take what you think makes you special and share it with the world, or to take your passion and let them know that it’s just not a hobby like others may or may not think. Take the essays as an opportunity to explore yourself and share yourself to the place where you may really want to attend. Just be you.

The last topic that is sometimes overlooked has to do with campus tours. The thing is, no one really knows what it’s supposed to be like. You never really know for sure what you’re looking for. And honestly, most campuses are mostly the same. Some are more diverse and have more activities and cities and internship opportunities around; some are so sport and school spirit oriented, you”ll be bleeding the school color at the end of your four years. Campus tours are everything, even if you think you already know where you’re attending. Just seeing where you’re going to live and sleep and getting a true feel for the campus can either confirm all your doubts or make you even more confident that this is the place for you. Take advantage of the tours, especially because the school gives you days to go to them.

Don’t let the stress get in your way. The next four years after you graduate high school are going to be the best in your life, supposedly. If you feel lost now, college is going to be where you find yourself a little more. College is where you’re going to experiment and make lifelong friends. Don’t be too worried, just know that everything will work out in the end.