Tomorrow, I FINALLY graduate.
It’s terrifying and exciting all at once.
Throughout these 5 years, I learned a lot about life, the “real world” and most importantly, I learned about me.
1. You’re more powerful than you think
I am not going to lie.
I was scared of having to do everything on my own. Calling the doctor’s office to cancel an appointment was hard enough, how was I going to figure out everything throughout my college career with out the help of Mami?
Well, when you’re thrown to the wolves, you have to figure it out.
And I did. It’s not rocket science.
Having to do everything on my own, I learned that to get what you want, you have to fight for it and yes, that means sitting in advising waiting for hours to then argue with incompetent advisors.
But in the end, it all works out, it usually always does.
You can get and achieve anything you put your mind to.
2. Keeping records of EVERYTHING will save you
You’re not the only one trying to graduate.
Universities have THOUSANDS of students to worry about every single day and I can guarantee you your advisor will not be behind you making sure you take all of your pre-requisites to get into your desired major.
Fun little story:
Earlier this semester, I was asked if I had dropped my advertising major because the system said I had many “unsatisfied” requirements.
After recovering from my mini heart attack and yelling “WHAT DO YOU MEAN?!?!” at the advisor, I explained as nicely as I could that she was completely wrong and was ready to bring out all the proof that I did, in fact, take all the necessary courses.
3. Procrastinating will send you over the edge
In high school, I was notorious for leaving things to the last minute which ended in “whatever, I am over it” and turning in a poor assignment.
Going into college, that all changed.
Completing assignments a few days before eliminated stress and maximized my motivation to complete the assignment with total effort.
4. Never let professors forget your face
It’s not their fault, they deal with hundreds of students each semester but the professor can sometimes make or break you.
My mother always told me, “Say good morning / good afternoon every time you walk into a classroom. They’ll never forget you.”
She was 100% right.
It was the perfect ice breaker.
When it came time to grading papers and assignments, guess what they remembered? The cheesy smile that would always greet them right before class.
Worked every time.
5. You’ll learn more a day at work than a month sitting in class
Interning throughout college was the best decision I could’ve made.
It was a bit scary at first to start at new places and be the “new girl” but it helped me break out of my shell.
Best part? I ended up getting a job in the music industry (which is what I had always wanted) BEFORE even graduating.
6. Relax, you don’t have to graduate in 4 years
Okay, so if you know me personally, you know I put a lot of pressure on myself to the point of it not being healthy.
The second you step foot into orientation, they’re shoving down your throat “4 years! 4 years! 4 years!”
Everything was about graduating in 4 years, getting out in 4 years, being done in 4 years.
That stupid number gave me nightmares.
Being the control-freak that I was, I couldn’t fathom the idea of taking an extra semester let alone a whole other YEAR to graduate.
When I decided to double major (which was done totally by accident because an advisor gave me the wrong info, typical), I had to take more courses to complete a degree in the school of business and school of journalism & mass communications – oh, and not to mention the Honors College which was an extra class every semester.
1 + 1 = 2
Obviously, I wasn’t going to graduate in four years, hello.
But because of the pressure the school put on “graduating in 4 years,” I panicked.
I would spend hours and hours creating the perfect schedule to come closer to graduating in 4 years.
***Side note: I was taking 5 classes every semester + interning/working + taking piano classes.
Can you say psycho?
Finally, my mom sat me down and told me “You’re getting two degrees and graduating from the honors college. It’s a year extra, get a grip. It’s going to be okay.”
And all was well in the world.
7. It’s okay to not agree with everyone
Coming from a small-ish high school, 98% of the student population had the same background. It was so easy to stand up for yourself because hey, the rest of the class thought the same way too.
Being a little fish in a big pond, I was ready to fight with anyone who didn’t agree with me; however, I learned quickly that I really didn’t care what people thought or what people thought of me and my beliefs. As long as it wasn’t a personal attack, Becky’s world was fine.
8. Dressing like a slob is NOT okay
Towards the beginning of my college career, one of my all-time favorite professors said, “Dress to impress, you never know which professor is going to get you a job or be your next boss.”
And I never wore sweatpants to school again, unless they were stylist joggers, of course.
9. Your real friends get it
They’re trying to manage their time too. It’s impossible to see them every week let alone talk to them every day like in high school.
Friendships fizzle out after high school because they weren’t real.
It was easy and convenient to be “friends” with most people in HS because it required little to no effort. You were forced to sit with the same people for 7+ years. Hello.
College helpe define who my true friends were.
I don’t have to see them everyday or even every month but every time we’re together, it’s like nothing ever changed.
10. A single person or comment can change your life
If you ever read my papers back in high school, you probably thought “There’s no chance this girl is EVER going to have a career in writing” and I would’ve believed it. Having a paper assigned was my worst nightmare. My famous line was “I’d rather take a calculus exam than write a paper.”
Going into college, I knew writing papers would be a big chunk of my grade so naturally, I panicked when my first paper was assigned. It was just English 101 so it wasn’t too bad. As I continued throughout the semesters, I kept getting B’s or higher in papers. Maybe I wasn’t so bad after all?
I decided to do the unthinkable– apply to the school of journalism and mass communications (SJMC). Basically the worst degree for anyone who hated writing.
But, I loved the creative components and had to suck it up.
Once the famous “Gram exam” was over with, I was placed into writing strategies. This course weeded all the incompetent writers out and determined whether you would continue in the school.
A.K.A. my worst nightmare.
The first day, my professor said, “There’s a paper due every week so get ready.”
I wanted to curl up in a little ball and cry.
Every week, I would stress about each paper, putting a lot of effort in a max. 3 page narrative. It was pathetic but I desperately needed to pass this class.
As the semester progressed, the professor would check the class’ papers and always note, in front of everyone, how wonderful my work was.
Total confidence booster.
Come the end of the semester, the professor pulled me aside and said I was one of the best writers he had ever had and that he would really like it if I wrote for the school paper.
What? Me? The one who would fail miserably in all of Mrs. Valdez’s AP English papers? He was talking about the wrong student, clearly.
My eyes watered.
I wasn’t a bad writer – I just missing the right person to say I could do it.
So Alfred Soto, if you’re reading this, thank you.
And so, my friends, this chapter titled “undergraduate” has officially ended and a new one begins. Let the good times roll.