Ahhh hi friends!!
I seriously can’t believe I am a college graduate… The last 4 years flew by and it is bittersweet to be done, for sure! I didn’t live the typical college lifestyle, so I wanted to share what I’ve learned through it all and some things that I would have done differently.
I started my first two years at the University of Washington, Bothell campus. I went in to college thinking I wanted to be a dentist - don’t know what I was thinking ( 😂) If chemistry and all the math classes weren’t a thing then I’d love it, but it definitely didn’t fit my personality. In my second year at UW I changed my major to Media and Communication studies and really enjoyed this! At this time I got an internship at a company called Tagboard in Redmond, WA and absolutely loved it. I got to experience a real work-life job and see what my after college life would be like. In February 2017 my family moved to Kentucky and I followed 6 months later. I transferred to the University of Kentucky and I could not be happier that I am a UK Alum. Everything happens for a reason and UK gave me the best college experience even while living at home and not knowing anyone when I started.
My first lesson I learned from this transition was how to genuinely make new friends when I had no one in Kentucky. I didn’t hangout with anyone from school until about 3 months in because it is SO hard to meet people when they already have their groups. UK is a ginormous campus that has 33,000 students and is very into Greek life and sports. I chose not to join a sorority because it’s not my personality, but I have nothing against them! Maybe if it was my first year and I wanted to make friends, but I felt so happy in my new home with my family and friends back in WA who I talked to everyday. My piece of advice would be to not throw yourself into something you’re not interested in just because you feel lonely at the time. I had so many days in the beginning of literally longing for a good friend who felt like someone back home, and when you stop trying so hard they will come! I have made amazing friends at UK and friends outside of school who I’ve met over Instagram and through my gym classes!
My second piece of advice would be to tour colleges that you’re genuinely interested in. When I came out of high school I planned to stay in Washington where my family was, and I’m a homebody so I chose UW knowing it would be a short drive and a great education. Looking back I wish I would have gone out of state to find a beautiful campus like UK that makes me feel at home and welcome. At the time I obviously wasn’t thinking about long distance with Austin because we were still at home, and if I knew we’d be great at it like we are now I would have absolutely taken the risk. I don’t regret anything that happened, but I do wish my first 2 years were spent somewhere that I loved. Thank goodness for the move and the experience I’ve had here, but definitely go travel around and see what university fits your personality! ALSO, if you don’t have a university in mind and don’t know exactly what you want yet, go to a community college! I always look back now knowing that I won’t have a UW degree and how much money my parents could have saved. You get a degree regardless of where you go, so go to community two years and then get your degree at a university and no job will ever know.
My third piece of advice would be to do what makes you happy and never fall under the stigma of living the “college life.” If you’re someone who enjoys partying and wants to be on your own then absolutely go live on campus and have the time of your life! And if you’re a grandma like me… do what will make you happy regardless of what people say. I’ve lived at home all 4 years and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Thankfully I have the coolest parents who give me a lot of space so it’s very liberating, but I’m most happy at home and it gave me the chance to work and find out what I am passionate about. I have the rest of my life to live on my own and find new adventures so I’ve enjoyed this time with my family. I will go out occasionally if I’m in the mood, but some people don’t care to and that is OKAY. Never ever feel like you’re boring or not living it up because when you graduate and grow up you can go out too! It doesn’t end when college is over. Since I’ve had a boyfriend for almost 8 years certain priorities change for sure. We’ve never held each other back from going out, but when you go to a college party people try and dance or hit on you the entire time so I personally don’t find it fun. I love going to the bars with girlfriends or my Bumble girls, but frat parties have never been my thing. And if frat parties are your thing too that’s great - just focus on you and want you want & you will do amazing!!!
Finally, even though I didn’t choose to join a sorority there are so many other ways to get involved! Of course when college is coming to an end I find these resources... I work for Bumble as Lexington’s market lead now, but about 7 months ago I got hired on to be a city rep. It is the coolest job getting to market around your city and host awesome events. If you’re looking to meet people, download Bumble (not just for dating - BFF & Bizz mode too) and you can go to the events and meet awesome new people! If you’re new to an area try and find a cool gym or boutique to work at to meet new people! There are so many easy ways to get involved in your community. Another huge thing is to be familiar with your campus. Knowing the bus routes and different buildings/cafes and hangout spots is awesome for switching up the scenery.
One last thought… don’t push yourself too hard - we get one life to live and make it as memorable as possible. Always take care of your mental health and well-being before hurting yourself over school and relationships. It takes a lot of commitment to push through college but you got this!!! Love ‘yall!