When I first got to college I had gotten one piece of good advice from my cousin; don’t buy textbooks unless you absolutely need them.
But they didn’t tell me everything I needed to know about school; Some things I had to learn on my own.
I don’t know about you but there have been some stretches in my life where I wished I had some guidance — one of those stretches happened to take place within four years at a university.
Like many others, my college leanings came from trial and error. And while I made some great decisions I also made some bad ones.
I wish there was some type of guideline for college, a book someone would’ve given me, or a mentor to help me through it all but there was none of that.
There was no one to hold my hand and I shouldn’t have expected that. And if you’re a college student reading this you shouldn’t either, because your an adult and you make your own decisions.
However, I do believe that guidance is needed for particular stretches in a young adult’s life. I believe that at particular ages and stages in life we all will need a little help.
And with this article I plan to provide a bit of guidance for one of the most shared stretches we will or have all encountered; college.
1. Community Living
One of the best things I did in my college career was choose communal dorms.Though I wasn’t a huge fan of the bathrooms it was definitely worth it.
Being in a communal dorm helped me make way more friends then I would have otherwise. Because our dorms were so bland, we had no choice but to get out and spend time with each other. There was nothing else to do.
Often times I would find myself in a friend’s room talking, laughing, playing cards, listening to or even witnessing their drama, the list goes on.
But that’s how things were — that’s how we lived at the time. We shared truths, feelings, animosities, and gossip. We had our ups and downs but with each other we got through it.
We did everything together from studying to going to parties. Eventually several of us migrated to other friend groups
but being in that communal space was the foundation for our social lives. That communal space rest of our college careers.
2. Make Connections Early & Often
It wasn’t even September when I made my first connection with the dean.
It was welcome week and during this time all the freshman were required to move on campus a week early so they could get well acquainted with the campus.
The head of the housing department was sitting in front of me in the auditorium and introduced himself to me. He told me he had someone he’d like me to meet.
That person happened to be the dean of the school I was in.
Though that connection didn’t go much farther than an introduction and a sit down with the dean, from that point on
I realized the most important thing I could do as college student was make connections.
From there on I began meeting any and everyone from people within the school to those outside the school doors.
I began to build good relationships with the security guards who later knew me by name, cooks that in my junior year would let me eat for free, bosses that after a while didn’t mind if I took a long break, and students who would go out of their way for me.
I noticed early on that a lot of my friends came from Christian homes but once they got to college they stopped attending church.
Some of them were intimidated by the church and feared being judged by the older members. Others simply wanted a break.
But as for me I still went to church like I always did every Sunday. However, my spirituality changed. My faith in God became stronger.
In certain situations realized that the outcome was out of my control. I had did everything possible and all that was left was to to pray and let God handle it.
I had to give my issues over to God and trust that he would work everything out.
4. Figure Out What You Want To Do With The Rest Of Your Life
After not making the basketball team for a second time, I thought to myself, “This isn’t working. I have to figure out what I want to do with my life.”
This was a difficult thing for me to do because I was always an athlete. I was always playing basketball chasing my dream of making it to the NBA.
But when I didn’t the team that dream slowly began to fade away.
I had to wake up. I had to seriously think about what feasible thing I wanted to do with the rest of my life.
So I figured being style blogger might be a better option.
But after two years after writing blog posts, taking pictures in the cold, and posting them on Instagram I stopped to pursue what I’ve wanted since the 7th grade; entrepreneurship.
5. Get Some Rest
One thing I don’t get enough of as a college student was rest. I just never seem to good quality sleep on a consistent basis.
The average day of a college student is about the same for four years; get up early, go to bed late.
Don’t do this. I know you might be due by the start of your next class tomorrow but pulling consecutive nighters isn’t the way to go.
Trust me I’ve been there and done that.
Besides when you’re tired you don’t function properly and a some point your brain gives up and shuts off.
When I’m tired I start to dose off at my desk nodding my head trying to fight sleep ignoring the signals from my body that it needs rest.
Listen to your body don’t ignore it. If your body is telling you it needs rest make sure you give it just that.
6. Build Your Brand
We all have a brand whether we know it or not. Some of us have developed our brand more than others.
Some of you might be wondering what your brand, how do you create one, or why you need it.
Well I’m glad to answer your questions.
First let’s start off with the why. You reason you need a brand is for promotional purposes. Your brand is how you market yourself to your employer, business partner, a publisher, etc.
You brand attracts the right people. Your brand lets people know who you are, what you do, and that you do it well and with purpose.
But what is a brand exactly?
A brand is simply your identity; it’s everything about you from the way you dress, to the food you eat to your beliefs and convictions.
A brand is..well, you. You are your own brand. Everything you do and say represents your brand. Even the way you think is an extension on your brand. Think of it this way. Everything Nike does reflects the brand they’ve created.
Every ad you see and every shoe they sell is a reflection of their brand. When you look at Nike certain people, images, and slogans come to your mind because of the brand they’ve built.
So how do you build your own brand? By building a reputation. You build a brand by doing something over and over again until people start to notice you for it.
Since I started a style blog two years ago everyone knows me as a well-dressed man.
It wasn’t because I put on a nice outfit one or twice and told everyone “I can dress”.
I have created a reputation through the identity of a well-dressed man. And once people caught on, they knew me not just as a style blogger but a man who can dress well on a budget.
7. Stay Focused On Yourself
“Tell your neighbor mind your own business”.
This was the message from a guest preacher the other Sunday. It was a message I think most of us need to hear.
Too many times we are caught up in other people’s business instead of focusing on our own journey.
As a senior in college, I see myself doing this a lot. I find myself comparing my progress, or lack thereof, to those of my friends.
This May most of my friends will be graduating while I’ll be getting ready to come back in the fall. It sucks.
I get down on myself for not graduating in four years. My mind is constantly reminding me that I should’ve have been graduating in a few days with a job lined up. But I’m not. I’m not doing any of that.
I’m not graduating this semester, I don’t have job lined up not even an internship.
But if I focus on what my friends are doing and my lack or progress I’ll never get to where I want to be.
Yet, if I focus on what I’m doing right now and the steps I’m taking to move forward in my own journey I’ll eventually reach my destination. And if you do this you will too.