Life Lessons I Learned in College

My name is Jake Offenheim, I am 22 years old and I graduated from the University of Western Ontario, one of the largest schools in Canada in March of 2020, with a degree in finance. I know that many of our readers and community members are currently applying for college or will be in a few years. I know the idea of college can be daunting and the pressure put on by parents, friends and school administrators can be overwhelming, but I am here to tell you a little bit about my experience and give you some advice.

Don’t stress about making friends on the first day.

I lived in a dorm for my first year and I had a roommate that I knew but other than that I was thrown into a random floor of a random building. Everyone else was in the same boat. No one knows anyone, everyone is anxious and nervous about making friends and people are open-minded to making new friends. Most of the people that I met in first year are no longer close friends of mine, but I got pretty lucky and actually keep in contact with a few of them. You will first become friends with the kids in your room or floor but eventually, you will start to meet some from class or from clubs that you join so even if the first group of people you meet suck, you still have plenty of opportunities to make new friends. 

Pick a Major that you are actually interested in and not one that you are doing because it is a “good degree”

I am a firm believer in the idea that you should follow your passions and life will work itself out. I took finance because I wanted to get into a business school in my third year, but in case I didn’t, I wanted to have a “good degree” anyways. As it turned out, I did not get into the business school and here I am with my “good degree.” I don’t regret doing finance because I actually enjoyed it but here I am writing to you in a job that does not remotely use finance and relies much more on marketing and my experience as a Camp counselor. 

If you are interested in philosophy or psychology or arts or whatever the case may be, you should choose the one that you are most interested in and will be motivated to go to class every day and be excited to learn. At the end of the day the experience will be much more positive and you won’t graduate with a degree in a field that you never want to be in.

Work-life balance

This is a good piece of advice for the rest of your life so listen closely. It is important to get all your work done but it’s also important to fulfill yourself socially while at college. This is the most fun 4 years of your life and you have to enjoy it while you are living it. I am not advocating for blowing off class and not studying for exams to go to a party, but you should have a healthy mix of working and having fun. If you can stay on top of all of your assignments and exams, you can hang out with friends and not feel guilty about it. These four years are equally about learning in school and learning about who you are and who you want to be. It is important to explore your interests, join clubs that interest you, meet new people and expand your horizons. If you can leave a different person than you came in, the money spent will be well worth it. 

What other pieces of advice would you give someone going into college? Let me know in the comments down below.

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