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What I Wish I Knew in College

Your Grades Do Matter
Most companies won’t ask for your GPA (unless of course you’re applying for Google or Facebook). But if you eventually decide to go back to Grad School, that C minus in statistics may come back to haunt you. 

Get Involved
Although clubs and volunteering may seem sooo high school, this will give you experience for your future career or improve your grad school application. What employer wouldn’t be impressed by the President of the Red Cross, or someone who was proactive enough to start his or her own club? It’s also a great way to meet new friends and help out your community.

Take Classes That Really Interest You
It may be hard to imagine at the time, but after college, you’re going to really miss learning. There are so many more classes I wish I had taken for the sake of learning instead of just getting credit towards my degree. 

Choose a Major That You Love
You’ll find once you start interviewing, that most majors prepare you in some way for whatever job you are applying for. Instead of choosing a major because you think it will look better on paper or impress an employer, choose a major that you are genuinely interested in. If your job requires a specific major, choose a fun minor. 

Get Experience
In college, I was pretty sure that when I graduated, employers would be sympathetic to my lack of experience. After all, I was a college student with little time to study for all of my classes let alone work! But I quickly found out that this was not so, and employers do expect you to have experience immediately after graduation. Internships are the best way to get experience and have a job ready for you after graduation. Most internships are only offered for college credit or are difficult to take after college when you need a steady income. Take advantage of the experience and networking, which internships offer.

Watch Your Credit
Between parting, studying, and going to the beach, the last thing on my mind in college was my credit score. However, after graduating and looking for houses, the late payments came back to haunt me. Every landlord does credit checks, and it can be very difficult to get an apartment with a low credit score (especially if moving to a big city). No matter how busy you are, never neglect to check your bank account, and avoid overdraft charges and late payments.

Care About Politics
It wasn’t until I graduated and moved to San Francisco that I really started caring about who I voted for and the propositions. However, after seeing the huge impact the youth vote had on this election, it is extremely important to start caring as soon as you can vote. The elections impact college students tremendously from college loans, parental notification for abortions, military service, and community college board members. 

Limit Your Alcohol Consumption
Although you may have the mentality that you won’t drink like you do after college, the effects from binge drinking can last a lifetime. Over-drinking can lead to poor decisions and regrets that will last long after college. Have fun and enjoy a drink or two, but don’t start poor drinking habits that will carry with you after. 

Cherish Your Friendships
After college, it’s hard to stay in touch with friends. You move back home to different states and countries, and have different schedules that make it hard to stay connected. Spend as much time as you can with your friends, before they are a plane ride or time zone away. 

It’s Okay to Move Home After Graduation
In college, I couldn’t imagine how or why anyone would move back home with their parents after living independently for four years. All I could think of was the image of Will Ferrell in Wedding Crashers screaming “Mom, the meatloaf!” Little did I know, that I would be moving home after graduation, along with 95 percent my friends. Most people don’t have the money or career immediately after graduating to move straight into their own apartment. Moving home temporarily is a great way to acclimate to your new lifestyle and save money while finding a job. 

Practice Good Habits
Without mom there to scream at you, it’s tempting not to leave your room in shambles, drink straight from the milk carton, and sleep until noon. However, the habits you practice during college will carry with you after you graduate. Cleaning, taking care of your health, and practicing a regular sleep schedule will start to come naturally if you do these things regularly (and make you a better roommate).

Enjoy Every Minute of It
As Tom Petty said, “Work never ends, but college does.” While college may be a blast, you never really appreciate it until you start your nine to five job and feel guilty staying out past 11 p.m. Savor the ability to sleep in on a Wednesday, or go drinking with friends on a Tuesday, because you’ll miss it later. I know I do!

What do you wish you knew in college?