Straight Outta High School: College at 18

Straight Outta High School: College at 18

Going off to college can be an exciting and nerve-wracking experience, especially if you’re just finishing up high school. It’s a chance to spread your wings, make memories, make mistakes and learn valuable lessons both in and outside the classroom.

There are a few facts you should consider before you decide to start college at 18. These tips can help prepare you for the journey ahead, so you feel a little less overwhelmed when the time comes.

You Can Change Your Mind

Many students enter college thinking they need to know their career path right away, but that usually isn’t the case. The future isn’t set in stone. If you enter college with a major in mind but decide on something else later, your school can help you navigate the change. Most colleges offer general education programs or allow students to use their first year as a time of exploration to discover their interests. If you start by finding a subject you want to learn more about, you can let the career plans come later.

Time Management Is a Learning Process

Time management in college may be different from the kind of time management you learned in high school. When you go off to college, you may have other financial and social responsibilities you didn’t have before. Combine these responsibilities with full-time class work, and you may become discouraged in the struggle to balance all these aspects of your life. Remember, time management is a skill that takes both discipline and experience to learn. You can find the right process for you if you keep working at it.

The “College Experience” Is Yours

The “college experience” people talk about doesn’t necessarily refer to one specific path. College is about finding yourself, accepting change and learning more about the world, which means you can choose to learn however you please. This is your journey, so whether you’d rather take on an internship than study abroad or try out a bunch of clubs and activities rather than stick to one or two, you can experiment in whatever way works best for you.

You’re Not Alone

Some first-year college students feel lonely after they leave home because they’re in an unfamiliar place surrounded by new people. Maybe you’re missing your loved ones back at home or you’re worried you’ll have a hard time making friends. Believe it or not, many of the other students at your school are likely sharing the same feelings. Almost 70% of first-year students experience severe homesickness or loneliness.

You may face a variety of challenges in your first year of college, but preparing yourself for what’s ahead can help the transition go more smoothly. With the above tips, you can start on the next step of your education with peace of mind and confidence in your ability to succeed.

~Here’s to Your Success!

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