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Going to college is a major life adjustment and what I’m going to tell you will help make the transition easier.

As a continuing or prospective college student you should understand that the purpose of the college experience is to get an education in order to be adequately prepared for your future. The success of your future is reliant on gaining as much knowledge in your field which involves, not surprisingly, attending class and studying.

Another benefit of college is creating a cross-field, cross-cultural, cross-class network of peers. They say “Birds of a feather flock together”, the diversity in your network will help make you a well-rounded person.

I also don’t need to tell you to make time for fun. In fact, some of you reading this are making too much time for extra-curricular activities.

Far too many college graduates feel the need to paint the perfect picture of the college experience rather than offer concrete advice. I will not teach you how to be a good student, nor will I try to convince you to be a good student, if you aren’t already. Your life is in your hands.

This is my attempt at helping you survive college life. These are my real life tips. Whether you are in-state or out-of-state, college is your trial run at being completely in control of your life. It is preparation for a career but more importantly its preparation on being a vital society-contributing adult. Here’s the inside scoop:

  • Don’t major in the minors. The college experience is designed to help you pursue all your interests. There are as many learning opportunities outside of the classroom as there are in. The difference is that extra-curricular activities don’t lead to degrees. I don’t want to deter you from participating in clubs and sororities but balance is imperative. Pursue your interests, but never lose sight of your end goal: Graduation.
  • Find yourself. Your likes and dislikes up until this point have been based on a small box of ideas. A lot of who we are is created, or at least impacted by our small circle of family and friends. When the circle increases to thousands of people, there is a huge opportunity to find the core of you.
  • What can you live with? Roommate horror stories often precede the college application process. Before moving think about what you can live with as it relates to cleanliness, noise, guests/sex, and the sharing of belongings. On the first day make a roommate contract where the rules are written so when something comes up you can consult the contract. Also, it is best to not room with best friend. I mean if you do who will you complain about your roommate to? And when it comes to sex in the room I’ve found that one roommate benefits more while the other has to compromise more. Be sure to take the time to really think about the rules for this issue.
  • Find your style. High school can commonly be a breeding ground for drones. For most people an ounce of individuality in high school will get you ostracized. In college, outward individual expression is encouraged. You will encounter people from all over the globe and you can incorporate all your favorite aspects of fashion to create your style.
  • Take a stand. Motivate yourself to discover a cause, a charity, a belief that you will fight for. With education comes a heightened awareness of the consequences of behavior. There are things that we do and don’t do that are contributing to the worlds injustices. We talk about lowering our carbon footprint, but the focus ought to be on lowering our contribution to injustice. Fight for something.
  • Respect everyone. Make friends with everyone, from the dean of your school to the service staff. Why? Because you need them as much as they need you. You should never look at someone as superior or inferior to you, just different. We all have a role to serve and the system only works when everyone does their role to the best of their ability.
  • Choose your classes wisely. If there is a subject you don’t like, tackle it first and get it out of the way. The last thing you want to do is have to take classes you hate (which generally translates into concepts that are difficult for you) when you’re preparing to graduate or interviewing for future jobs.

I was a first generation college student. There weren’t many members of my community I could consult for college advice. This is everything I wish someone told me before my journey began. This is a lot to take in but I hope it’s helpful.

As always,

L.I.V.E. H.O.P.E G.I.V.E. H.O.P.E.

Teneasha Pierson
Marketing Director
The H.O.P.E. Scholarship