22 Before 22
After four years of all-nighters, group projects and tubing trips, my college experience is over. Over. It feels strange even saying it now and I don’t think it will feel true until I wake up in two weeks and realize that I won’t be walking through the Quad and printing my schedule moments before class.
Texas State has seen my worst and made me my best. College has challenged my beliefs, my character and possibly every thought I’ve ever had. I’ve learned what it means to be tenacious, learned how to adapt. If you challenge yourself every day, you will be amazed by what you will become in four years. I joke all the time that the things I accomplish daily would bring tears to the 18-year-old version of myself.
Freshmen, get ready. It isn’t easy. You’re going to cry and you will surprise yourself when you look back. But don’t quit. Show up, sit in the front row, and ask questions. You’re about to learn a lot. Here are my suggestions for making the most of the next four years:
- Become an officer of some organization.
- Pick up a new hobby. Pursue it enough and it might turn into a career.
- Float the river. You’ve got to see what all the fuss is about.
- Learn how to disagree without being disagreeable.
- Once you have that down, stand up for something you truly believe in.
- Avoid using ultimatums. College is the time you will do things you would “never” do. Some of these things are better ideas than others.
- Not everyone is your BEST friend. Some are good listeners, others always have the best Friday night plans, and without a doubt a few will help you professionally. Learn not to write someone off if they don’t fit into every category.
- Go to a football game. Tailgating doesn’t count.
- Get right with your parents. Accept them because they’re all you’ve got. You’ll be surprised how smart you think they are after you’re away from home for a couple of months.
- Learn how to be alone. Figure out who you are in the absence of others.
- Imagine the best version of yourself. Then become her (or him).
- Learn the fight song, I never did.
- Get an internship. And then get another. It will make you easier to hire and more confident in your career. Plus, it’s a great way to test what industries you might actually enjoy.
- Watch the news and learn some geography. Your days of calling Africa a country are over.
- Be proud of your school. People will start taking Texas State more seriously the second you do. We are our greatest advocates.
- Don’t take everyone’s advice. If no one has told you yet, you’re an adult. It’s time to go with your gut and make decisions for yourself.
- Study abroad. You’ll regret it if you don’t.
- Make your parents proud. Even if it’s at something other than what they wanted you to do.
- When you can, do something that scares you. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
- Learn to really like yourself. You’re the only person you will know your entire life; you might as well like who that is.
- Find a mentor. Challenge yourself to have friends and people in your life who know more than you.
- Never settle.
But most of all, be kind to one another. College isn’t an episode of “Gossip Girl” — it’s always cool to be nice. This is the place where you befriend your enemies and grow as a person.
If you’re starting here in a few days, welcome to the family. You are now a part of a great tradition that’s only getting better and stronger. So get out there, make us proud, and show the world what Texas State is really about.
Callie Gordon is a recent graduate of Texas State University with a degree in marketing. She currently resides in Austin. Connect with her professionally on LinkedIn or follow @CatchingCallie on Twitter.