What I Actually Learned in College: Tara’s Tips & Tricks for the Collegiate Experience

It’s no secret that college is the BEST and FASTEST four years of your life. It feels like just yesterday I was crying about graduating high school, “tara-fied” of what the future would hold. “Where do I go to college? What do I major in?” These questions suffocated my everyday conversations with no hope for escape. Fast forward: Now, here I am about to embark on the next phase of life while holding tight to the irreplaceable experience over the last four years at JCU. I can’t believe how fast time went–but I did it! Check out my top 15 lessons learned over my undergraduate years!

Dear Freshman Tara,

I’ve definitely learned a lot over the last few years. From academics to adult-ing 101, I thought I would highlight a few of the life lessons acquired:

1. You must conquer your fear of public bathrooms. *laugh if you must, but this fear is legitimate and crosses every freshman’s mind as they learn the ways of communal bathrooms*

2. Always keep your leftovers even if you think you won’t eat them. Because when you realize you’re desperate for food, you’ll eat it. Or you can share with roommates!

3. If there is free stuff in the atrium, take it! You never know when you may need a pencil blessed by a priest.

4. Always keep your roommates’ numbers on speed dial in case you’re trapped by a BIG HONKIN SPIDER in your apartment and need immediate backup. *Yep, it’s happened. After 45 minutes, 8 ounces of tears, and 3 roommates working together, the deed was done*

5. Always bring napkins back home when you go out to eat. If you have a car, keep napkins in it! Even if you don’t eat in your car…trust me. They will come in handy in case a spider wants to make an appearance.

6. Keep chopsticks in your apartment in case you need to make a spider Shish Kabob because the vacuum, bleach, and sheer will power aren’t enough to exterminate it.

Okay okay, relax. You probably think these tips are all about spiders. Rest assured, that’s it, but they significantly impacted my senior year, thus the issue needed to be addressed. You’ll thank me later. Let’s continue:

7. Memorize important phone numbers of roommates, friends, and family because if you’re stranded downtown at 3am during Game 6 of the World Series with a dead cellphone, and don’t have money for an Uber, you’ll want to know the right number to call off of someone else’s phone.

8. Don’t make enemies. Especially if you attend a small college. Even if someone rubs you the wrong way, be nice to everyone you meet.

9. Always hold the door for a fellow student/professor/human. Do not let it slam on them or you will be marked as a rude individual.

10. If you don’t already, invest in a credit card. We are all in deep student loan debt–the least we can do is build ourselves good credit card credit.

11. Send snail mail cards to friends at different universities. Even if you don’t receive any in return, I promise it will make a difference in their days as well as yours.

12. Go to the career center. Even if it is painfully awkward, there are scholarships and career-enhancing resources that go unnoticed by the everyday student. Take advantage of all they have to offer.

13. Never settle for a major, career, or situation that makes you unhappy! Seek any and all experiences to make life worthwhile.

14. Don’t be scared of unpaid internships. Yes, of course it’s not ideal, but if you find the right ones, you’ll gain irreplaceable experiences that will last a lifetime. *Also, if you make connections with the career center as mentioned in lesson #12, you may find ways to get funding for those internships!*

15. Do something that scares you. Go out of your comfort zone and the results will amaze you. I owe a lot to my decision to go through sorority recruitment and I am grateful for all of the opportunities.

I hope this makes you laugh while assuring you that college will teach you so much more than academic subject matter. This is your chance to discover who you truly are and simultaneously make memories that will last you a lifetime.

Best,

Post-Grad Tara

Maybe If I Ignore It, It Will Go Away: Part 2 of the G-Word Saga

If you’ve been following my collegiate endeavors, you know how hard it was to pick a college and pick a major. For the longest time, I was convinced that I would NEVER find a major for my indecisive self. From the very beginning, I knew I was different. I didn’t want a career in which I felt trapped. I didn’t want to be consumed in the rat-race of life. Life is so much more than making money and moving up the ladder. Yes, money and upward mobility are an added bonus, but it shouldn’t be the motivating factor behind all actions.

So what does this mean for after the g-word? Instead of panicking about my future, I have decided to be full-blown cheesy and follow my heart. I am officially announcing that I have been accepted to work for The Walt Disney Company. I have no certainty in my role, the future, or the upward mobility….I just know that I am following my heart and pursuing what is really important in life: experience.

For those that are searching for a job, waiting for acceptance into grad school, pacing around the room hoping that an ounce of an epiphany will shine through the window…you can do it. This is just the next step in your life…not your whole life. You don’t always need immediate answers. Do what makes you happy and seek any and all experiences that make you feel full of life…and the rest will come with time.

 

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