As I entered my fourth year at UC Riverside, I looked at my current surroundings and realized how much I would actually miss this place. Looking back to the first day I arrived at the dorms I remember thinking how I couldn’t wait to get out of this place. From the desert surroundings, to the staggering number of homeless individuals around University Ave., UC Riverside looked far from home.
It took four years of sleepless nights, countless energy drinks, ridiculous pranks, ‘psychological warfare’ with the girlfriend, and hours of studying for me to realize how much my college had become my second home. Speaking to many of my friends who have graduated, they tell me how much they miss school and how they wish they could go back. Sometimes I think, “really?” Were these not the same people who the first day of school said they wanted to go back home. Now I hear how they want to get away from there “real” home.
For some of us, life after college means moving back home and going back to a house of rules and structure. No longer are you able to stay up as late as you want blasting your music. And no longer is leaving your dishes in the sink for weeks on end an option (yes, it happens).
I have been blessed to have been able to attend a UC school and have been able to experience the quality education that they offer. The UC system is unique in that it gives prospective college students in California a chance to go to a four year university and receive a top tier education without having to go to far. From UCLA to UC Berkeley, they have campuses all over the state for all types of students. If you are considering attending a UC, I would strongly suggest visiting the campuses to make sure you know which one would suit you best, because you have to remember, it will be your ‘second home.’
With my ‘second home’s’ lease ending soon, I wish to offer some advice to soon to be graduates as well as those who are still in college.
1. Enjoy it
Plain and simple. As the saying goes, “You only live once.” Applying that concept, you will only be an undergraduate once in your life. Whether it’s re-inventing your image or building life long relationships, enjoy this time of your life.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Say “Hi”
All of us have seen the freshmen who go up to other classmates and introduce themselves and try to be sociable. Some people laugh at them and some find them awkward. What other people think in the end is irrelevant. Unless you plan to work with them for the next 10 years of your life, they can be one of two things in your life: Significant or Nothing. Why let fear of what other people think stop you from meeting someone significant or meaningful?
3. Relationships and Balance
Everyone hears about the one night stands that happens in college. While this does occur, finding someone that means something more to you than just a physical attraction is a part of the college life many college students find. The key to this is to find a ‘happy medium’ where you are able to balance both your love life and school work. Remember, no one wants to date a bum.
4. Be Active
For most of us, college will mean being in the best physical shape of our life. From the weight rooms, tennis courts, a numerous treadmills, it is hard to say you can’t find a place to be active. Go out there and be active, because when your are out of college, staying in shape and finding ways to be active is harder and might even cost your wallet more.
5. Plan Ahead
College teaches us that time management is important. It is also important to look at the big picture and plan ahead. Use all the available resources to make sure that you are not only prepared for your classes, but life after college.
It may be too late to do everything I’ve wanted to do while at college, but it is not too late for others. Hopefully someone will read this and go out and say “hi” to someone or find someone meaningful in there life. If not, I can say that I have found someone meaningful in my life and that I no longer laugh or question when people introduce themselves to strangers because I know that this is college. Anyone can be anything.