College Advice from a Broke College Graduate

College Advice from a Broke College Graduate

From the football games, late night studying sessions, to being called out by my professor in front of a class of 300 people for texting in the back, I will never the good and bad times in college. Whether you're a freshman or a senior, here's some advice I'd like to share with you from what I've learned in college. 

  1. There's more to college than just receiving an education. 
    • Whether you're in college for 4 years or more, these years will fly by. It's easy to go through the motions and much harder to be in the moment. When you feel overwhelmed, remember, you're not just going to college for an education. There's so much more out there. Pick up the phone and catch up with your family or old friends. Go join a club. Attend school events, etc. Clear your mind and do as much as you can during your time in college. 
  2. Be vulnerable, in a healthy way. 
    • College is a great time to open your mind to new things, ideas, friendships, etc. Be open to what people have to say. It doesn't mean you have to change your beliefs or whatever, but you never know what you can learn from hearing someone else's stories. Working towards being an active listener will benefit you the rest of your life (especially in class).
  3. Don't conform if you don't want to. 
    • Everyone has a different tolerance level when it comes to pressure. Some people handle it really well, others don't. Above all, trust your gut instinct. You may feel pressured to do ________ to be cool in front of others, etc. but it's your life, and you don't need to live life to please others. Don't wanna drink? Don't. Wanna leave the party early? Go ahead. Wanna stay inside and play board games? Go for it. Do what you want. 
  4. Be a good person
    • College can show the ugly side of people. Regardless of how cruel people can be, you have full control over your actions, beliefs, and who you want to become. I highly recommend that you be good to people even when the world can seem so unfair. The world can never have enough good people. 
  5. Everything is temporary.
    • Not going out with friends on a Friday night because you have to work on a project? Temporary. Being sad? Temporary. Feeling stressed? Temporary. Everything in life is temporary. Take it one day at a time, just do what you can and do it well.
  6. Get ahead
    • One thing that I'm really thankful for is getting ahead. Whenever I had the opportunity, I would get ahead as much as possible. Though there were times I had no motivation to get anything done, if I had the chance to make things easier for me in the future, I would force myself to seize the opportunity. This paid dividends for me as I got closer to finals I had less to worry about. Planning and getting ahead let me fly out of the state for a weekend trip visiting a friend, or go up to the mountains and hike.
  7. Always press Ctrl + S 
    1. I was sitting next to my friend one night while she was typing up a 12 page essay. She didn't save her work once during the 3 hours of typing...and of course the computer froze and she lost all her work. Every time you type up a paper, excel sheet, presentation, you better be saving it every time something new is added. You cannot trust technology. I repeat, you cannot trust technology. 
  8. Keep an archive
    • Saving your work will go a long ways. If you have an email account or hard drive, create folders and save your completed work. As you get further in college and need to build a portfolio or upload documents on your LinkedIn acct., it'll benefit you to have it all saved. Simplicity and organization is key. 
  9. Love yourself
    • This goes beyond college. This is a life long journey. Never let someone else be your source of happiness. Be comfortable in your own skin, your own progress, and who you hope to become. Encourage yourself and be happy with how far you've made it. Loving yourself is a victory and a comfort no one else can take away.
  10. Utilize your resources
    • One thing I regret is not using my resources to the fullest extent. Use the career center, writing center, tutors, etc. to learn from classmates and professionals. You have the choice to determine whether you want to accept their advice or not. Being able to learn from various people and their methods will only make you more versatile not only in college but whatever you do. 
  11. You don't have to live for others.
    • I came across this a lot with my friends and strangers. I've had friends who felt obligated that they had to live the life their parents expected of them. To be in a specific major, to land this exact job, to be more successful than their parents. I understand the sacrifices that a lot of your parents have made, but if you're living a life to meet their standards while you're not happy in what you're doing, that's not truly living. 
    • For the longest time I felt like I had to become a doctor or engineer to be successful in the eyes of my parents. My parents sacrificed their lives, passions, and dreams back in their home country to move to America to grind for the American dream.  Carving your own path no matter how much it doesn't make sense to others doesn't matter as long as you're happy with who you're becoming. 
  12. Pass the class the first time.
    • There may be some classes that will beat you up. For me, it was organic chemistry. I thought I was going to fail and would have to retake it during the summer. I never wanted to deal with that class ever again so I kicked it into a whole different gear, studied my butt off, and passed the class. Grind it out. Do what it takes to pass the class (with integrity of course). Not only will that save money, it'll save you time in the long run. 
  13. Big picture first, small details later
    • This applies for most things (ex. integrative metabolism stresses understanding the big picture), but a lot of my classes required that I look at the big picture first and then fill in the small details later. As long as you understand the big picture and the purpose of why you're learning it, its function, and how to apply it, it'll be much easier to fill in the small details later. 
  14. Piecing it together
    • It's OK if you don't have it all figured out. Society has an expectation that people have to complete college in ___ amount of years and then find a job afterwards. If your original plan was to graduate college in 4 years but it ends up taking you 6, that's OK. If you find out college isn't right for you, that's OK. Everyone has different situations and what may be right for someone doesn't necessarily mean it's right for someone else. Don't stress out trying to figure your entire life out. 
  15. Have fun
    • Whatever is your definition of fun, have fun. Be safe, be smart, watch out for one another. 

Published by Kevin Leung


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