7 Things I’d Tell My Introverted College Freshman Self

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

It was my first day on campus, I was overwhelmed by my naive, unbridled enthusiasm and the intense anxiety that always comes with meeting new people in a new environment. I remember my mom's face when she realized that she actually had to leave me on this wide open college campus all by my lonesome…a campus that was less than an hour away from our home.

As I think about college, I laugh, I smile, and I cringe a little. I had good times, I had good times that I thought were bad times, and I had bad times that are now laughable times. College was, more than anything, a culmination of exploratory experiences that all adults should have–if circumstances permit

Now that I work to survive, undergrad most definitely sounds like a vacation. I would do it all over again if the powers that be would let me… but I digress. Here are a list of the 7 things I would tell my extremely introverted undergrad self…

1. Be brave! Stop being afraid of making mistakes! This is the one time in your life where you can actually make a few mistakes. Make them in the name of self- progression and keep it moving!

2. Embrace the things that make YOU happy! There were so many things that I enjoyed doing and wanted to do back then. I enjoyed singing, writing poetry, and just about anything creative. But I was (and still am) shy. And you know what? I kept it to myself for fear that others might not find it cool, or they’d think that I was bad at it!

3. The feelings of awkwardness and diffidence will and shall pass!! If I could look my younger self in the eyes... I'd tell her to 'man up' and I would let her know that the feelings of awkwardness, diffidence, uncertainty will all pass in due time.

4. Minimize the amount of loans that you take out! This is a big one. Student loans can be a nuisance that just wont go away... interest will accrue. Don’t take out any more student loans than you actually need! A few years of powdered laundry detergent, Ramen noodles, a part-time job and riding back seat in your bff’s hooptie will not kill you.

5. Make wise and informed decisions about your college major! You won't be 18 forever! What you don’t want to do is continue that Ramen-noodle-powdered-laundry-detergent lifestyle when you enter into your career. If grad school isn’t in the crystal ball, make wise decisions about your major. Choose something that will keep you gainfully employed after 4 years of school. I am an avid believer in doing the things that make you happy... but sometimes what makes you happy may not pay the bills. Try a double major or minoring in those fun abstract classes.

6. This is your time to travel, see the world, learn languages, and observe other cultures! This is one time in your life where you wont have to submit paperwork to a supervisor requesting time off for vacation. For many, there are no children to worry about, no mortgages, no car payment, and no student loan payments. At this point in life, a summer vacation should be abroad with minimal amenity requirements.

7. Find a mentor! This may be the best piece of advice that I could share. I caught on to the concept of mentorship later than I probably should have. It’s important to find someone that has gone through the process and can help you build confidence as well as give you candid advice and direction, especially if you come from an environment where that leadership was not readily available.

This post is modified from afrogirltalks.com

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