It has been a rollercoaster ride to just get to week eleven, but we have finally arrived. This semester has been very different for me, but I’ve been rolling with the punches and challenging myself to face whatever comes up.
Lately, I have been thinking about how much I’ve changed since freshman year. Missouri State was a new playing field for me and it took me some time to figure things out. This week I want to share some of these lessons with you—maybe they will help you out!
Five things I wish I knew about college when I started
A better understanding of the financial aid system
Life at Missouri State came with a lot more responsibility and freedom than I was given in high school and I had to adapt accordingly. Freshman year I had to figure out what holds were, how to make payments on my student account, and where to go on campus when I needed in-person help with my account. I learned to save myself from a lot of stress by keeping up with any documents that I needed. The Office of Student Financial Aid has always been there when I really didn’t know what I was doing financially for school or when I wanted to know what I was paying for on my account.
Lesson learned: Don’t avoid or ignore financial aid.
Your mental, physical and emotional health will be challenged
I expected to be challenged academically when I started at Missouri State, but I found out that living away from home and keeping up with other aspects of life resulted in additional challenges. I was prepared to do laundry, cook for myself and keep everything clean, but balancing all that with my courses during my first two semesters was hard. I realized that I would have to adapt my schedule to accomplish everything. As I worked on a better schedule, I included time for studying, being with my friends and having some alone time. After a few months, I learned what worked for me, so that those different challenges weren’t so overwhelming anymore.
Lesson learned: Find ways that will help you deal with the new challenges you face as a college student. Not all of your challenges will come from academics but may interconnect with other things going on in your life. Missouri State offers some wonderful services to help you out like the Counseling Center (I’ve used them and will continue to do so), so try them out if you ever need help with your mental health.
There is nothing wrong with meeting your advisor
In the beginning, I didn’t enjoy having to meet with my advisor and talk about my future or what I was going to do on my path to graduation. I found it stressful to make decisions that I wasn’t so sure about especially when it was time to register. After realizing I didn’t know everything about my major, including which classes to take in which order, I started to understand how important and useful it was to meet with my advisor. She was there to help me plan out each of my semesters, listen to what I had to say and any concerns that I had. Now, as a senior, I frequently meet up with my advisor. Honestly, I think that I made my advisor’s job a little harder these past few semesters (😆), but she has been a great help to me in any way that she can.
Lesson learned: Don’t be afraid to meet your advisor, even if it’s for something small. They really do help you. Registration for the spring semester has already started, so be sure to contact your advisors soon.
You have to be dedicated and passionate
Before I got to Missouri State, I was still in the process of figuring out what major, and ultimately what career, I would like to have. I met some great people through Missouri State that helped me confirm my choice to declare a business major. Being a business major has been harder than I expected, and I have figured out that I have to be dedicated and passionate to get to where I would like to be. It takes a lot of hard work to reach some academic goals, but I always keep in mind that I’m attending college because my future career is waiting for me.
Lesson learned: If you ever find yourself questioning your career choice or even your major, you should definitely check out the Career Center. I’ve met some really nice people from the Career Center who have helped me figure out what I want to do and what types of classes I should take.
College is a Job
I had never had a job before I came to Missouri State, but I quickly realized that college is as much a job as anything else. I spend hours working on assignments for each of my classes and keeping up with everything I need to get done.
Lesson learned: I’ve recently been using planners, Google Sheets and Excel to plan my daily life and keep everything on track.
Takeaways for the Week
Your perceptions of college from before you attend are definitely going to change as you experience college first-hand. If I had learned the above lessons before starting at MSU, I may have saved myself some of the stress and confusion I experienced in my first semesters.
See you next post! There are lots of topics to come.
(Bio: I’m the middle child of seven kids in my immediate family. I’m currently a Senior Business major at Missouri State University.)