13 Things I Wish I Knew Before College

Hey, guys! It’s Linda. Today we’re talking about college and some of the things that I wish I knew before applying to and going off to college. For a lot of people, it’s the first time they’re away from home and living on their own and they’re figuring things out by themselves. And while that can be very scary, it can also be extremely rewarding and fun. And you need to make the most of your college experience.

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Quick disclaimer: while I absolutely loved college and would not have traded my college experience for anything in the world, I do understand that college is not for everybody. So if this post is not for you, that’s totally cool. So I asked my Instagram to send me questions about things I wish I knew before college and I got a ton of them right in front of me. Let’s do this. @rebecca lumia asks: Did you do anything to prep for college/admissions? Why yes I did. I took the ACT. I took it a number of times. I continually got the exact same score and thankfully I was happy with that score. So when I went in to take the very last time, I had absolutely no stress because I already knew that I got the score that I was happy with. And it was actually that very last time that I got the highest score, I’ve ever gotten. @omgsabeenactually asked: Where did you go to college? Good question. Let me tell you. Huh. Well I was trying to find a shirt that told you what school I went to but apparently I don’t carry any memorabilia. I went to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland and I loved every minute of it. And I have to say, Hopkins was not my first choice school.

When I visited the campus, I was not confident that it was right for me. And then it was only after I got my college decisions and I realized that Hopkins was the school I got into that was ranked the highest of all the schools that I went back to the campus, visited one more time, and had a great time. @coco29v asked: How did you choose which colleges to apply to? And how many should you apply to? The best way to know what college is best for you is to actually get to the campus and see how it makes you feel. A lot of people experienced a visceral gut feeling when they get onto a campus that either tells them, “This is a good place for me,” or, “I got to run away.” If you can’t physically go visit the college campus, the next best thing you can do is read a ton of posts about it. I applied to seven. I have friends that only applied to only one and I also have friends that applied to fifteen or twenty schools. And there’s not a right answer. @abychurch asked: Did you stay friends with your freshman year roommate? Good question. Because do you know who my freshman year roommate was? Allie! My sister. So I actually chose to live with my twin sister freshman year at college, which is controversial. I think a lot of times when people go to college with a twin, they want to live apart. In fact, a lot of people that have a twin decide to go to separate colleges so that they can have their own lives and their own space. We actually chose to live together freshman year for a couple of reasons. #1 We share everything and it seems kind of silly to have to go all the way across campus just to get my blowdryer. And #2 which is kind of the reason why we decided to go to school together, we find that when we are together and when we live together, that we actually branch out more.

Whereas, when we’re separate and we don’t live together or we’re not in the same state, all we’re doing is trying to get together. @justjojoswim asked: Did you decorate your dorm? I did decorate my dorm and actually if you want to see a post of my college dorm, I put one on about six years ago from Johns Hopkins University’s blog. I had a pink Christmas tree. I think it was pretty cute. Let me know what you think. @lillyagulia asked: What did you study? I went into Johns Hopkins as a Pre-med Neuroscience major and I was pretty certain that I was going to be a doctor. But my summer after freshman year, I had a whole mental shift and that was when I realized: you know what? I have two sides of me. There’s the side of me that loved the medical aspect of things and wanted to study neuroscience. And then there was the performer Linda who loved being in plays with her a capella group and wanted to be in the entertainment industry. And then once I switched from neuroscience to creative writing, I had to kind of navigate my own career path from there. So that’s why I started making posts for the University’s Admissions Office and I will get more into this in a future post. @ mariamusso asked: Were you in a sorority? And if so which one and why did you choose it? I was in Phi Mu, which is one of Hopkins’s four, or potentially five now, sororities. Rush at every school is completely different and at some schools, it probably does closely resemble what it looks like in the movies. But at Hopkins, it is nothing like that. There’s no hazing, no crazy horror stories. It was honestly just a great way to meet a huge group of older women who ended up helping me figure out what classes to take and what career path to go down.

@gardy shaw asked: How many organizations and extracurriculars did you get involved in? My first extracurricular activity was being a blogger for the Johns Hopkins Admissions Office. Next I joined the comedy a cappella group on campus called the Mental Notes, get it? Like a mental note, but musical. It was funny at the time. Then I joined my sorority. And then last but not least, I started creating post content for the university’s admissions site. @OMGsabeenactually asked: What was one thing you really needed for your freshman room? I needed a fan. At least at Hopkins, my freshman dorm did not have A/C and it was really hot in Baltimore during move-in and during move-out, so get yourself a fan. @thevagabondpeach asked: Did you study abroad during college? And would you recommend that? Yes I did. I studied in London for one semester and I would highly recommend having an experience abroad if you can. I chose a program that brought me to London and didn’t really focus on classes, but it focused on internship programs. And I got to intern at a British television show during my time there. And I had so much fun and learned so much. And I would go back in a heartbeat. @elise naviidad asked: How did you get over being homesick? I was really not homesick for most of college, to be honest. I had gone to summer camp for eight summers prior to going to college, so I was used to being away from home. But I do have the say, my first day of college, I was in the dining hall, my parents had just dropped me off and left.

And I remember standing in the dining hall, under the fluorescent lighting, which I think is where most existential crises happen, under fluorescent lighting. And I was in the line serving myself salad from the salad bar and I was looking at the wet lettuce. And I was thinking, “How sad is it that I’m here when I could be at home with my parents and my dogs having a delicious home cooked meal with people I love? And instead, I’m serving myself chickpeas.” I felt my eyes well up for a moment. And then I turned around and saw a table of girls and my sister was there. And I realized everyone that was sitting at that table was going through the exact same thing. Final takeaways: what I really, really wish I knew before going to college is just everything is gonna be okay. Throughout my senior year of college when I was really stressed out about finding a job, I actually stressed myself out so much to the point where I was essentially an insomniac for an entire year. And I know that it was stress-related because the moment I got a job at the end of senior year, I was able to sleep normally. The other thing I wish I knew is that it’s not all that important to graduate with a job. A ton of people don’t have a job by the time they graduate or they need to get an internship before they get a full time job. And that is totally okay. A lot of people say that your college years are the best four years of your life, but don’t put that much pressure on yourself. I think college is just another phase of your life that should be about growth, adventure, and fun. So just get out there and meet new people, try new things, and enjoy every minute. I hope I answered your questions and if I didn’t, just comment below and ask me them and I’ll try to answer them now.

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