Something my sorority diamond family does each year is have the graduating member of the family pass down the biggest lessons they’ve learned over the years and senior advice. As I went through and wrote this out I realized these are things that most college girls would benefit from hearing. I’ve learned a lot of things in college through my mistakes that I wish I could have avoided. Here are some of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn my four years or I’ve watched my friends learn.
1. A few close friends are more valuable than a hundred mediocre friends.
You don’t need everyone to be your friend. All you need is a couple of trustworthy, kindhearted people who will support you through your endeavors, even your late night mistakes. On the same note, you don’t need everyone to like you so don’t try. Just be honest to yourself and the right people will stick around. Even your closets friends will let you down at some point. Forgive them.
2. Get rid of toxic people in your life sooner rather than later.
You can forgive people without remaining friends with them.
3. Don’t stoop to that caddy “mean girl’s” level.
Yes, even in college there are people who will repeatedly try to break you down. Don’t let petty people make you look down on yourself. You don’t need to try to hurt them like they hurt you. Still be the bigger person, but don’t let petty people make you look down on yourself.
4. Leave drama and gossip to those with nothing better to do.
Stay out of drama, unless you’re defending/standing up to someone you care about. Check your facts too. Don’t believe every rumor you hear. And know that anything you say will somehow get back to the person it’s about.
5. Admit when you’re wrong and admit when you need help.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether it’s from your parents, siblings, friends, significant other, police or counselor. It doesn’t make you any less of a person to admit you can’t do something on your own.
6. Don’t let people walk all over you. Likewise, don’t walk all over someone or take advantage of their kindness.
7. Be wary of living with your best friend(s). I’ve seen too many friendships end because of people living together.
8. Relationships are tough and boys are incredibly confusing.
You don’t have to have a boyfriend. Not everyone actually means “I love you” when they say it and even a kiss can morph into a hookup rumor. Even if you keep your private life private, don’t expect that boy or the friend you told to do the same.
9. Do good things and acts of kindness even without expecting anyone to notice.
If no one gives you credit for your actions, keep doing them anyway. You’re doing it for another person not your ego.
10. Own a pair of good, comfortable basic black heels. You’ll need them more than you’d expect.
11. Don’t let a handful of people change the way you think about all people.
Yes it sucks when someone betrays you or misuses your trust, but that doesn’t mean everyone will. Don’t go spill your guts to just anyone because you think they’re a good person. Let people earn your trust through the way they treat others.
12. If a relationship isn’t going anywhere, end it. Don’t stay in a relationship because you’re comfortable.
13. If you dress like a slut, you’re going to get treated like one.
Don’t think you can go downtown in a skirt or dress that barely covers your underwear or a top that is actually a bra and attract a “nice guy.”
14. Just because you stick up for yourself doesn’t mean you’re a “crazy bitch.”
15. Don’t ever think you deserve your boyfriend treating you horribly and even emotional abuse is still abuse.
16. Puppies grow up.
If you can’t take care of a dog physically or financially long-term then don’t adopt one. Puppies are like fluffy babies who need full-time care. Just like your parents do, you have to keep taking care of it even after it’s not cute.
17. It’s okay to change your major a thousand times.
Don’t stick with your major just because you want to graduate in four years. Your career will be lifelong and you should enjoy it.
18. Everyone judges everyone. That doesn’t mean you have to voice your judgments.
19. It’s okay for your boyfriend to become your best friend, just don’t forget about your other friends.
20. It’ s okay to cry.
21. Your boyfriend and your best friend don’t have to like each other.
Your friends and your boyfriend just need to be able to tolerate each other and both are equally responsible for doing so. If either says you have to pick between them, they don’t deserve your time anyway.
22. Make a timeline about how you want your life to play out and then throw it away.
This was especially hard for me to come to terms with. Life doesn’t go according to your plan. You might not get into a cohort your first time applying, maybe you fail a class you thought you would pass, or you don’t end up engaged by the time you graduate. It’s not the end of the world. I promise. The sooner you accept this the sooner you can enjoy the unexpected.