A Letter to My College Self

wish i knew what i know now

You know that song “Ooh La La” by The Faces? Well maybe you don’t recognize the song or band name, but I bet you’d realize the lyrics and tune in a heartbeat. The song’s chorus reads like this: “I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger.” Imagine if we could somehow bring that song to life and actually go back in time and re-live our lives knowing everything that we know now.

For me, high school and college would be amazing times to go back and re-do with the knowledge I have now. Sure, some of the mistakes or choices I made in the past have helped me in the long run, but there are undoubtedly a few things I wish I knew then. So if I could go back in time and tell my college self some words of wisdom, here’s what they would be.

Grades don’t matter all that much

I stressed so much in college trying to perfect my essays, study enough for finals and keep up my GPA. I never let my schoolwork take over my life- I had plenty of friends and a great social life, but it was always important to me. In high school, you have to do well to get into college. But in college, you don’t have to do well to get a job. The truth is you could have the highest GPA, have graduated from a great school and completed 5 different internships, and you still might have a hard time getting a job that actually pays or is related to your major. Trust me, it happened to me. I wish I hadn’t focused so much on getting A’s and B’s and graduating “Cum Laude” since none of that has helped me land a job or get any amazing opportunities.

Dump your high-school boyfriend

I entered college a taken woman. I started dating someone I went to high school with (and middle school and elementary school as well). We had only been dating for about 3 months when I started college, but had been very close friends for about 10 years prior. Entering college in a relationship has its ups and downs. I saw the jerks that I went to school with and felt so great that I didn’t have to deal with them since I had someone who loved me already. But at the same time, being in a long-distance relationship with someone who is 2+ hours away, doesn’t go to college, and doesn’t have a car wasn’t exactly easy. Fast forward 2 years later to when we broke up. Then months later when we got back together. And then finally during my senior year when I found out he had been cheating. Let’s just say I wish I had been smarter about my relationship decisions back then. Once things start heading south, it’s time to walk away. And not go back.

Start blogging

I was an avid blog reader in college and always wanted to start my own. I also went to school for Communications and took a lot of PR and journalism classes. I didn’t start blogging until a few months after I started my first job post-college. I always wonder if I would have ended up in a different field, city or income level had I started writing earlier on. Since I started blogging, I have had amazing opportunities. I have an extensive writing portfolio, I wrote for a national magazine and I’ve made a small chunk of side income. I would have had all these things during my college years (when I was broke and needed writing samples and experience) instead of post-college. I really regret waiting so long.

What are some things you wish you could have told yourself back in college?

20 Comments

  1. I took college so seriously, was always studying or working, but I did land a great job before I even graduated because I started networking early on. But I never had that fun college experience oh well.

  2. It’s so true, there’s so much I would say to myself if I was able too. I do believe everything happens for a reason though!

  3. There are a lot of things I miss about college. There’s really no other time in life that you get to live with your friends and don’t have a ton of obligations. I’d just tell myself to stress less and enjoy it more!

  4. Wow Rachel I swear your relationship through college sounds much like mine! I also so agree with blogging! I love your writing, you’re always so relatable.

  5. OK I just heard that song at a restaurant last weekend and we had to Shazaam it bc I was obsessed! So random!! Anyway, this is such a great post. If only we had known then what we know now! Oh and sadly, blogs weren’t a thing when I was in college bc I am so old. I think the only sites I went to frequently were AOL and Napster. haha I kind of want to do a post like this about my HS years. ARGH!! xoxo

  6. I love this. Also wish I would have just cut ties with the high school boyfriend. Going to a college all alone and dealing with a heartbreak is so rough! I am so glad that part of my life is done. 🙂

  7. Another great post Rachel! I’m with you….wish I hadn’t focused so much on grades and more so on gaining experience (whether it be writing, blogging, more internships, etc.) So many things I wish I could’ve done differently. Sorry to hear about the A**HOLE that cheated on you! But thank goodness you found out and were able to move on from that relationship! You’re in a much better place now and with someone who loves and values you, so that’s the most important thing:)!

  8. Oh my… there are SO many things I wish I could go back and tell myself (college and before… like starting in middle school)- don’t get back with the high school sweetheart, don’t trust the crazy chick who is your suite mate, have more fun, don’t work so much, take more risks, start blogging then… But I guess if I didn’t do all of those things I wouldn’t be where I am now, and even though I would love to change A LOT, I wouldn’t have my husband.

  9. Oh goodness I totally relate to the don’t go to college with a significant other! It really was the best thing to be single in college and I would recommend that to everyone.

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