#MotivationMonday: Advice to The Freshmen Class of 2020

As time is winding down and I begin my final semester of undergrad at Western Michigan University tomorrow, I’m reminiscing on the past 4 years of my life. I have no regrets; however, if I could do it all over, here’s what I’d do differently:

 

1. Meet more people!

Though I can be an extrovert at times, I am an introvert for the most part. I’m pretty quiet and stay to myself. Meeting new people and making friends has never been my forte. I have met some amazing people and even met my best friend, Jade, in college. But I wonder about all the possible friendships I have missed out on because of my introverted behavior. I feel like I didn’t take full advantage of being around 25,000 people of different cultures, backgrounds, beliefs, etc. If I were more open, who knows how many more lasting friendships and connections I could have made.

2. Make time for fun!

I’m a very busy person, and always on the go. I have a detailed schedule outlined for each day. If it’s not on the schedule, I don’t partake in it. Though that can be a good thing, sometimes I wish I could just go with the flow. There have been so many missed opportunities of making unforgettable memories because I was just so busy all the time, whether it be going out, taking a trip, or just simply spending time with my friends. I’m always so stuck on a schedule that sometimes I forget that it’s okay to have fun, take a break, and make time for yourself! Maybe if I did more of that, I wouldn’t have been constantly stressed out or had mental breakdowns every other day.

3. Realize that your mental health is more important than an “A.”

I’m not the type of person that stresses out about getting all A’s. What I get is what I get, as long as I pass the class and tried my absolute best! But still, I stress out about grades just like every other college student, sometimes to the point where I break myself down mentally, physically, and emotionally. Yes, grades matter. Or do they? I mean, all the interviews I’ve had so far for post-college jobs have NOT asked for my transcripts or my GPA. They just want to know if I can perform the tasks needed to be a good employee. They don’t care if I got an A in Film Communication! They just don’t. I guess the situation is different if you’re trying to get into law, medical, or grad school in general and you need a certain GPA to get admitted. But still, sometimes I believe that I overstressed about grades way too much when in reality at the end of the day, as long as I pass, I’m good!

4. Ask for help.

Asking for help has always been a challenge for me. I’m definitely a do-it-yourself type of person. I like to figure things out on my own and I will literally sit for hours – and sometimes days – trying to figure out something before I ask for help. Three words: Don’t do that. You’ll save yourself a whole lot of time and trouble if you just get help. College is filled with numerous resources. Use them! You’re paying for it, so you might as well. Whether it be going to tutoring, the counseling and wellness center, or just talking to your friends about a hard day. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. College is already hard. Don’t make it any harder.

5. Don’t try to do everything unless you want to kill yourself.

I don’t know what it is about college, but if you were one of those overachievers in high school that did everything and was the president of every club (like me) and you try to do that in college, you will die. Point blank period. Trust me, I know. I thought I could be a college athlete, take a full load of classes, work, and be in 10 student organizations. LOL. I learned that that’s impossible. Now as a 5th year senior, I’m a lot more focused and have narrowed down my concentration on a few things that matter to me the most instead of a bunch of things I took even the slightest interest in.

6. If you feel like you’re not going to pass a class, drop it.

Personally, I hate giving up on anything. So dropping a class that I was struggling with was tough. However, I learned the hard way that if you honestly think you’re not going to pass, drop it. Had I just done that instead of being overly optimistic about classes I knew I probably wouldn’t pass, I probably wouldn’t have failed 3 classes throughout my time in college. Failing a class SUCKS. So if you can drop a class, do it. If it’s a required class, figure something out to ensure you pass or just drop it and take it a different semester. Dropping a class can be challenging, especially if you’ve done the work and already paid for the $200 book, but it’s better than failing.

7. Don’t conform to be included in the norm.

I always get teased and made fun of because I’m not a “real” college student since I don’t partake in what “normal” college students fill their life with (according to society and millennials’ expectations and definition of college): drinking, partying, and sex. But it’s not college if you don’t do those things, right? WRONG! I tired the whole party life and honestly, it’s just not for me and something I don’t really enjoy partaking in. I go out from time to time with friends, but that’s about it. I’ve probably been to like 5 parties throughout the course of my college career. And I’m perfectly fine with that! Not a heavy drinker. And honestly, hooking up with random people is gross, sorry not sorry. Don’t ever make or force yourself to like something or do something just because everyone else does. Be true to yourself.

8. Time flies, don’t rush it.

The transition from high school to college was rough for me, but with time, things got easier. Still, I remember being a freshman and could not wait to graduate! I would pray every day, “Lord, I need you to speed up time about 3 notches because I can’t do this.” Now, I’m about to graduate in 4 months. Like, what?! I’m just like, man…the best and worst years of my life are about to be over and it’s so bittersweet. I’m not going to miss college not one bit, but I am going to miss the experiences I’ve had and the friends I’ve made. It was one hell of a ride, and I glad I made it through.

 

So yeah, no regrets, just lessons learned! To the class of 2020, I hope this advice helps you in any way! It sure would have helped me.

Published by

Tirrea Billings

Tirrea Billings is a native of Saginaw, Michigan, and is the epitome of #BlackGirlMagic with a love for writing and documentary filmmaking. Her life goal is to be the change that the film industry needs: more women and more people of color. She is a keen activist, and writes about issues and social injustice within the Black community. In her spare time, she is a cheer coach, yoga connoisseur, and a believer of supporting organic, locally sourced foods. Motto: Fear the girl with the smell of coffee on her lips, and dresses well on Mondays.

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