Couple of tips from a student for life

I can literally remember walking to class one day at the beginning of freshmen year (next to the Foreign Languages Building as I entered the Quad to be exact) thinking, Are my parents nuts? How am I going to spend the next 4 years in this place? My mind raced through the entire concept of college: a group of people around the same age leave their homes and live in another place free to do basically what they want. The puzzlement I felt at that time is comparable to the questions I raise today to my freshman self, What were you thinking?!


I’ve explained how I embrace the mentality of a student both personally and professionally. Being perpetually curious can open doors to life lessons as well as lead to introductions of lifelong friendships. While students returned to campus at my Alma Mater this week it led me to consider how far I’ve come from when I started out as a freshman. It also prompted the following tips for those still basking in the glow of the college life.


  • Say “hi” – sounds simple, but you never know what relationships you remove yourself from by not taking that first step. I met my best friend by saying “hi” as we brushed our teeth one morning in our freshmen dorm.
  • Spend time on the Quad – or whatever the iconic part of your campus is, take time to enjoy!
  • Go to class – I may sound like a mom, but with good reason. You’re at college to have fun and meet new people; however, your top priority is focusing on that whole education part.
  • Take pictures – you’ll hold onto these and look at them on days when you miss friends. The pictures will also bring back all kinds of great memories on the days life is not taking it easy on you.
  • Create a bucket list – To say time flies in college is a complete understatement. Making a list of “to do’s” is a fun way to experience it all.
  • Go with the flow – So what if everything is not in its rightful place? Accept the new place and make it right.

College is a time for learning – it’s the people and experiences you surround yourself with that will make all the difference. Take advantage of opportunities to go beyond your comfort level. Who knows, a couple of years from now you may be reflecting on your time in college… I hope you'll pass on the knowledge.

What have I missed? What are some of the things you know now you wish you had known then?



4 thoughts on “Couple of tips from a student for life

  1. I wish I had appreciated the campus life more than I did. Of course, Temple University’s campus isn’t as nice as what you are showing here, but it had great character. So, I guess I would offer the "appreciate campus life while you can" statement. Four years goes by super quick. Before you know, you are walking across the stage to get your diploma and enter the "real" world. So, to those still in college… take the first few days to explore your campus. Then lose yourself in people watching.

  2. Jason – thanks for sharing. You brought up another great point: people watching! There are people from all walks of life on a college campus, it’s really quite amazing how a community of very different people can be brought together by shared interest in a club or school spirit at a sporting event for example. Love your tip!

  3. A few thoughts…- Do the iconic things, whatever those are at your university. Here at Illinois you hang on the Quad, sit in the student section, take a picture with Alma, test the echo spot at Follinger, yell I-L-L and see who answers…- Get involved. Volunteer for something, join a student organization, get out there!- Get off campus once in a while and see what the town has to offer.- Look both ways before you cross the street. You need to live through your college years to truly appreciate them.

  4. I love your tips, Heather! And they really do cross over after you leave the campus.- Always look both ways.- Getting involved is a way of life that should begin early and last forever. – I regularly say I-L-L and have received responses from fellow (excited) Illini.Thanks again, hope all is well with you!

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