Two teen-aged brothers smiling together--the older on theleft with his arm over his brother's shoulder in an open hug

College advice from a big sister

Editor’s note: this article is written by our guest author, Emily Rhodes.

When I was heading to college, I was jumping with joy, but also wished I had someone to tell me what to expect. Which is why I’m happy I was able to impart my knowledge to my younger sibling, Kristen, as she’s preparing to start college in the fall. Here were the top pieces of sisterly advice I gave to her.

What I wish I knew about: Having a roommate

Going from living at home with Mom and Dad to living with a new person is new territory. Your roommate could become your best friend for life, but don’t stress if you don’t click right away. Freshman year, I was closer with my suitemate than my roommate, which is normal. Remember that healthy living situations stem from open communication. A five-minute argument is much better than a huge ordeal. Be clean, be friendly, and always ask before you borrow something.

What I wish I knew about: Figuring out what you want to do

If you’re like me: You’re not 100% certain about what career you want to pursue post-college. If you don’t know what you want to do, there’s no pressure — it’s just freshman year. Use this time to set goals for yourself, fulfill your general education requirements, take random classes, and join clubs. I didn’t know I wanted to major in a creative field until I started writing for the campus magazine. If you do know what you want to do, talk to your academic advisors and find out if there are any mentors or volunteer work available. Utilizing these resources could land you your first job.

What I wish I knew about: Smart spending

Freshman year, I went through phases of unnecessary spending and strict limitations as a consequence of that spending. Take it from me: You don’t want to be left out of a big trip or event with your friends because you spent too much on a new pair of jeans. Setting a budget saves you in the long run. Budget for how much you’re going to need for essentials, and then see how much you have left over for fun stuff. Be conservative with your money — you’ll be thankful later.

What I wish I knew about: Managing free time

The newfound sense of freedom college affords you can be a blessing or a curse. I recommend you get yourself into a daily routine: Like trying to study at the same time every day, and having a consistent bedtime. It’ll help you manage your time more efficiently and prevent procrastination. If you have free time to relax in your dorm, keep the door open to make friends with your hall mates.

Lastly, remember that the only regret you’ll have is not trying. Join a whitewater rafting club, play in an intramural game, or try new food in the dining hall. Get off campus and explore your college town. It’s OK to say no if you aren’t comfortable, but most of the time, you should say yes to trying new things.

Dana Fulton
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Dana Fulton

Social Media Content Manager at Wells Fargo
Creative professional with years of sales and marketing experience, specializing in segment-specific strategy and customer-centric communications. Skills include problem solving, collaboration, critical thinking, and clarifying the complex.
Dana Fulton
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