Things I Wish I Knew Before College | 30 Untapped Advice in 2024

things i wish i knew before college

Starting college is an exciting time in a person’s life, but it can also be overwhelming and full of unknowns. Wouldn’t it have been helpful to know some insider tips and advice before diving into this new chapter?

College is a unique experience that many people look forward to, but certain things can catch you off guard if you’re not adequately prepared. Whether it’s academic challenges, social pressures, or navigating a new environment, there are plenty of things that you may not have considered before embarking on this journey.

As a college student, you are faced with a plethora of decisions and responsibilities that can shape your future. It’s essential to go into this experience with realistic expectations and a game plan to help you succeed.

By learning from the experiences of others and gaining insight into the things they wish they knew before college, you can be better equipped to handle the challenges that come your way.

What should I pack for college?

Packing for college can be overwhelming, but with a little planning, you can make sure you have everything you need to feel at home in your new space.

Start with the essentials like bedding, towels, and toiletries. Don’t forget to pack some personal items that will remind you of your home and help you feel comfortable in your new surroundings.

It’s also important to think about practical items like school supplies, a laptop or tablet, and any electronics or chargers you may need.

Consider packing some snacks and easy-to-prepare meals for those late-night study sessions or when you’re on the go. And don’t forget to bring some clothes for different seasons and occasions – versatility is key when it comes to college wardrobe choices.

Remember, packing for college is all about finding a balance between what you need and what will make your new space feel like home.

Read: What Are Inset Days and Do Teaching Assistants Attend Inset Days? 

30 Untapped Advice in 2024

Here are some of the tips to help you in your journey through college.

#1. Focus on Self-Confidence 

Achievements build confidence, so put in a lot of effort, do well in school, get involved in your interests, and learn how to do them well.

Building confidence takes a lot of work, but it’s much harder to go through life with low self-esteem, where you constantly doubt yourself and don’t think you’re worthy of good relationships and opportunities.

Getting to know yourself is so much easier when you have confidence. You can be more decisive and thoughtful, allowing you to make decisions about activities and people based on more information.

#2. Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness but rather a sign of strength and self-awareness. It takes courage to admit when we need assistance or guidance, and reaching out for help shows that you are proactive in finding solutions to your challenges.

Remember, everyone faces difficulties at some point in their lives, and seeking support from others can make a big difference in overcoming obstacles.

Whether you seek advice from a mentor, talk to a therapist, or simply ask a friend for help, reaching out can provide valuable insights and perspectives that you may not have considered on your own.

By being open to asking for help, you are showing vulnerability and humility, which are important qualities that can lead to personal growth and development. So don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it – it’s a brave step towards becoming the best version of yourself.

#3. Embrace Failure

Embracing failure is a key component of growth and success. Failure teaches us valuable lessons, helps us develop resilience, and pushes us to improve ourselves. By viewing failure as a stepping stone rather than a roadblock, we can shift our perspective and use setbacks as opportunities for learning and growth.

When we embrace failure, we open ourselves up to new possibilities and experiences. It allows us to take risks, learn from our mistakes, and ultimately become stronger individuals.

Remember, failure is not the end of the road but rather a detour on the path to success. So don’t be afraid to fail – embrace it, learn from it, and keep moving forward towards your goals.

#4. Classes Won’t Impress You

You didn’t think your classes would be better than high school, did you? I’m sorry. The majority of your classes won’t be as impressive as you thought they would be.

That may change depending on your major and interests, but don’t expect every class to be exciting or engaging.

When you first start college, you want to do your best and be your best. Take that drive and go for it! You won’t be saved as easily by being innovative as you were in high school.

#5. Get involved in Extracurricular Activities and Network like a Boss

Getting involved in extracurricular activities and networking like a boss can truly enhance your personal and professional growth. By joining clubs, sports teams, or volunteer organizations, you not only develop new skills but also expand your social circle.

This can lead to valuable connections that may open up opportunities for internships, job offers, or collaborations in the future.

Networking like a boss involves being proactive in reaching out to people, attending events, and maintaining genuine relationships with others. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and strike up conversations with professionals in your field of interest.

Remember that networking is not just about what others can do for you but also about how you can contribute and build mutually beneficial relationships.

#6. Take Care of your Mental Health

Taking care of your mental health is essential for overall well-being and happiness. It’s important to prioritize self-care practices that promote positive mental health, such as practising mindfulness, getting regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help or support when you need it. Mental health is just as important as physical health, so make sure to check in with yourself regularly and address any issues or concerns that may arise.

Remember, it’s okay not to be okay sometimes, but taking steps to care for your mental health can make a world of difference in your overall quality of life.

#7. Time Management is Key

Time management is indeed key to achieving success in both personal and professional life.

By effectively managing your time, you can prioritize tasks, stay organized, and ensure that you are making the most of each day. Setting clear goals and creating a schedule can help you stay focused and productive.

Procrastination may be tempting, but it’s a slippery slope. Manage your time effectively to avoid last-minute cram sessions and sleepless nights.

#8. Learn to Cook

Learning to cook is a wonderful skill that can bring joy and satisfaction to your life. Whether you’re a complete beginner or looking to expand your culinary repertoire, there are many resources available to help you on your cooking journey.

Start by mastering some basic techniques, such as chopping vegetables, sautéing, and boiling pasta. These skills will serve as a strong foundation for more complex recipes.

#9. Embrace Diversity

Embracing diversity is not just about tolerance; it’s about celebrating the unique qualities and perspectives that each individual brings to the table.

When we open ourselves up to different cultures, backgrounds, and experiences, we enrich our own lives and broaden our understanding of the world around us.

Diversity fosters creativity, innovation, and collaboration, making us stronger as a community.

Read: How Many Universities Can You Apply To Via UCAS?

#10. Learn Financial Literacy

Learning financial literacy is an essential skill that can have a significant impact on your overall well-being and future success. Understanding concepts such as budgeting, saving, investing, and managing debt can help you make informed decisions about your finances and achieve your financial goals.

Many resources, including online courses, books, workshops, and financial advisors, are available to help you improve your financial literacy.

Start by setting specific financial goals for yourself and creating a budget to track your income and expenses. This will give you a clear picture of where your money is going and help you identify areas where you can cut back or save more.

Additionally, consider learning about different investment options to grow your wealth over time.

#11. Use Campus Resources

Libraries, writing centres, career services, tutoring programs, and various other resources are available at colleges. Make use of these resources to improve both your academic performance and your personal growth.

#12. Take Advantage of Internships

While you are still in school, apply for an internship or a job in a field you are interested in. Start working as soon as possible to gain as much experience as possible. If you can get work experience before you graduate, you will have a much better chance of landing a job when you graduate.

#13. Make Connections with Your Professors!

This is one of those occasions when going above and beyond as a student matters. Not only can your instructors and other support staff alert you to opportunities, but they can also provide character references, especially when you have a short resume with a few former bosses to contact.

#14. Let Go of Toxic People

In college, it’s easy to get caught up in the social scene and place too much value on being in specific groups and clubs. It’s also simple to justify spending time with people who treat you and others poorly because they belong to a certain social circle.

When people are mean to you, gossip about you when you’re not looking, etc., they are harmful. Do your best to surround yourself with positive people who care about you and want the best for you. Find friends who support you through life’s ups and downs and plateaus and share your interests and goals.

Despite what is “cool,” the sooner you gain the confidence to choose your friends and follow your path, the happier you will be.

Related: Apprentice Age Limit: Is There an Age Limit for Apprenticeships?

#15. Rent Your Textbooks

The extra time required to maintain your books in good condition is well worth the money you can save by renting them. According to the College Board, the annual cost of school supplies and textbooks is approximately $1,200.

However, it would be best not to rent your books for the first two days of class. Get a feel for your types, as professors may occasionally assign readings from books that aren’t on the syllabus.

If you must use a book from the library, return it on time. Avoid any additional fees at all costs.

#16. Avoid Procrastination

Avoiding procrastination can be challenging, but some strategies can help you stay on track. One effective approach is breaking down your tasks into smaller, more manageable steps.

This can make the overall goal seem less daunting and easier to tackle. Additionally, setting specific deadlines for each step can create a sense of urgency and motivation to keep moving forward.

Another helpful tip is to eliminate distractions as much as possible. This could mean turning off notifications on your phone or finding a quiet workspace where you can focus without interruptions.

By creating a conducive environment for productivity, you’ll be more likely to stay focused and avoid the temptation to procrastinate. Remember, it’s all about taking small steps and staying consistent in your efforts to overcome procrastination.

#17. Cultivate a Growth Mindset

Another piece of advice on the list of things I wish I had known before college is to believe in your ability to learn and grow. Embrace challenges, seek feedback, and view setbacks as opportunities for growth rather than signs of incompetence.

#18. Work on Your Future Before It Starts

This will give you a head start if you are fortunate enough to know your passion or discover it in college. Do you excel in any area? In other words, good enough to warrant a price?

If you answered “yes,” give up everything you’re doing and find a way to profit from your knowledge.

#19. Avoid Excess Drugs, Alcohol, and Caffeine

Although college is about trying new things, and these things happen to be there, it will be in your best interest to avoid them all.

If you continue to use these things excessively, particularly when starting college, it will become routine. You shouldn’t have a routine like this; it will ruin your life.

You’ll become lazy, less motivated, and more exhausted, and in the end, you’ll have to rely on those things to get out of bed or make you happy.

Read Also: What Are Inset Days and Do Teaching Assistants Attend Inset Days? 

#20. It’s Okay to Say No

Absolutely, it is completely okay to say no! Setting boundaries and prioritizing your well-being is essential for maintaining a healthy balance in life.

It’s important to remember that saying no doesn’t make you selfish or rude – it simply means you are honouring your needs and limitations.

Learning to say no can empower you to focus on what truly matters to you and avoid overcommitting yourself.

By being honest about your capacity and only taking on responsibilities that align with your values, you can create more space for self-care and activities that bring you joy.

#21. Build a Strong Support System

Surround yourself with positive, like-minded individuals who uplift and inspire you. Find like-minds through clubs, organizations, or shared interests. Having a support system will help you navigate the ups and downs of college life.

#22. Develop good study habits early on

Since coursework in college can be difficult, it’s essential to develop good study habits immediately.

You can study in a quiet corner of the library or a busy café, whatever works best for you. Test various study methods to discover the one that best suits your learning style.

#23. Take Advantage of Technology and Productivity Tools

You can stay productive and organized with the help of a plethora of digital tools, apps, and software.

To simplify your personal and academic lives, look into apps for taking notes, managing tasks, and tracking time. Make use of technology to boost your effectiveness and efficiency.

#24. Travel and study abroad if you can

Studying abroad transforms you and introduces you to new perspectives, languages, and cultures. It enhances personal development and broadens your view of the world. Do not hesitate to seize the opportunity and embark on a global adventure.

Related: 10 Effective Revision Techniques For GCSEs In 2024

#25. Keep an open mind

On the list of things I wish I knew before college is keeping an open mind. College is a time of exploration and discovery. Be open to new ideas, diverse perspectives, and challenging conversations. Embrace intellectual curiosity and engage in thoughtful discussions. It’s through open-mindedness that we expand our knowledge and foster personal growth.

#26. Take Breaks and Practice Self-Care

College life can be hectic, but it’s important to prioritize self-care. Take breaks, engage in activities you enjoy, and practice mindfulness. Give yourself permission to relax and recharge. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup.

#27. Develop Strong Communication Skills

Effective communication is a vital skill that will benefit you in all areas of life. Take courses or workshops focusing on public speaking, writing, and interpersonal communication. Practice active listening and learn how to express your thoughts and ideas clearly and respectfully.

#28. Have Fun, but Take College Seriously

College is costly. Don’t take your classes lightly when your future and money are at stake. Have plans for a night out? Ensure that you have completed all of your assignments.

Do you wish to skip a class? Prepare for it occasionally, but do not make it a routine.

Enjoy your time at college, but remember why you’re there. Your services for student loans won’t.

#29. You can Reinvent Yourself

No one knows if you were the most popular cheerleader in the history of popular cheerleaders or if you were an introvert in high school. This is the place to go if you want to forget about the past and start over.

College is the perfect opportunity to discover who you are and what you like and dislike. You probably won’t change completely, but you’ll become more evolved.

However, be careful and ensure that you are achieving a balance between your desire to start over and remaining true to yourself.

Also Read: How Many GCSEs Do You Need For University? | 2024

#30. Enjoy the Journey

College is a one-of-a-kind and life-changing experience. It is a period of development, self-discovery, and lasting memories. Enjoy every moment and accept the challenges, victories, and ups and downs.

Take time to appreciate the friendships, late-night study sessions, campus events, and overall college atmosphere. Make the most of this time in your life and enjoy the ride because it will shape you in ways you can’t even imagine.

Frequently Asked Questions- Things I Wish I Knew Before College

How can I manage my time effectively in college?

Time management is essential in college to balance academics, extracurricular activities, and personal life. Start by creating a schedule or using a planner to prioritize tasks and allocate specific time slots for studying, attending classes, and engaging in other activities. Break larger tasks into smaller, manageable chunks, and avoid procrastination by setting deadlines for yourself.

What can I do to improve my study skills?

Improving study skills involves finding techniques that work best for you. Experiment with different methods such as active reading, summarizing information in your own words, creating flashcards, teaching concepts to others, or participating in study groups.

What should I do if I’m struggling academically?

If you find yourself struggling academically, don’t hesitate to seek help. Start by talking to your professors or teaching assistants to clarify any confusion or request additional resources.


The transition to college can be both exciting and overwhelming. Reflecting on the things I wish I knew before starting this journey has provided valuable insights and lessons learned.

From time management to seeking help when needed, these tips are crucial for success in college.

By embracing new experiences, staying organized, and prioritizing self-care, students can make the most of their college years. Remember, it’s okay to ask for support and take each challenge as an opportunity to learn and grow.



You May Also Like