Friday, May 8, 2015

20 Things I Learned In College

I'm graduating today. I finally got my Industrial Engineering degree. 8 years in the making, I am finally an engineer and I am so happy today. My family is here surrounding me with extra love and so much pride it makes me want to cry. I am the first of my generation of cousins to get a college degree. My parents are the first in their group to get college degree and it makes me so happy to continue that tradition. I wanted to share the things I've learned over these past couple years with everyone. As you know, I always get personal in this space but this post is really close to my heart. These are the things I take with me as I leave the lovely and wonderful The Pennsylvania State University. Hope you enjoy. 

School Work

1. Find a study style for you and keep doing that. Sophomore year, I figured out that I work best recapping information in an organized manner that uses a lot of color. I work best making study guides right before the exam. I also takeall my notes on an iPad - saves paper and time for me to scan the notes into the computer. I scan all paper handouts and homeworks so that I cannot lose them. Lastly, my final exam studying method is the bomb and a lot of people actually use it! My Google Calendar is my second planner but basically my life! 

2. Become a proactive person, not a procrastination person. I find  that being the first one on the scene for projects helps me to not have to do a ton of work in one night. In almost all of my group projects, I will start the work and pass it to my group so that I do not have to wait on them to finish my part. It is a little selfish but it makes me 20x more time efficient.

I welded - MIG, TIG and Stick!
3. Pick a major that you love and that excites you. From my experience, if you love your major, you are involved in a club in the major, you have internships and you network hard. This all helps to get a full-time job. From Engineering to Fashion, I find that the more involved you are and the more passion you show for the area, the easier it is to find a job and happier you are after graduation. I love being an industrial engineer. Everything about this major was made for me because it has such a broad education area for me to study what I like and avoid what I don't like. I take classes in anything from human cognitive design to welding to analytics I could not imagine myself anywhere else in the College of Engineering. 

People

4. Make friends with everyone but keep the people who have similar values to you close. I'm friendly with a lot of people but my closest friends are people who are genuinely kind and really care about keeping our relationships alive. Be careful with the people who ask you to do things that compromise your morals. I never smoked anything in my life and I stayed away from people who did that on a daily basis. I don't regret that because I was always able to pass a drug test for internships and some of them were not so lucky or struggled to stay clean to be able to pass.

5 . Take advantage of being around people your own age. This is the only time in life where you will be surrounded by 18-25 year olds who doing the same things as you. Go out and party responsibly. Make new friends. Do the silly young things that you always see in movies. Travel and go do things you would never have ever tried before. This is the only time it's really socially acceptable to do a lot of things but be careful to not let things bite you in the behind. 

This is my best girl friend from high school. Well, one of two. I love her so much! JC, you rock.
6. Make new friends. ALL THE TIME. I have my various groups of friends and that keeps me sane. From organizations, to freshman year to Starbucks buddies, it's good to have variety in your life. In the same, make sure to keep up with your friends from high school and younger, though. They knew you when you did not know you and have some seriously good advice. 

7. Pick your roommates wisely. Any negative feelings are hard to deal with when you see someone multiple times a day. I am someone who gets mad easily over small things so I know I need to live with people that I can not hold their little mistakes against. Friends of mine can only live with random roommates because they can't deal with messy friendships. Figure what works for you.

8 . I don't really ever talk about dating on the blog other than like one post but I have a ton of good advice complied from tears of my group of friends that I would love to share. Date around but don't settle for anyone who isn't worth your time. Don't dumb yourself down or pretend to be less weird than you are for a boy. Have a ton of guy friends (they are the best) but only a rare few friends that can make it to being your boyfriend for the simple reason that that most guys this age are not the best at relationships but awesome friends. Get to know the boys who want to be more than just friends but do not be afraid to not date them because they are not what they seemed. Always present yourself well, because it is hard to outrun a bad reputation.  


Career

9.  Read actual books not related to your major and related to your major. I think it is really important to be educated in your field and keep learning everyday! I also think good conversation starts with people who understand many things and can piece them together. As I write this, I'm reading a six sigma book, a french language book and a book on how to do your makeup. I constantly learning and it helps me kill everyone else in the interview process and meet new friends easily. 

10. Take care of your community. I have often participated in THON events in campus and find that having a tie to the people around you makes you a better person and the world a better place. Don't stop giving back during your summer internships or winter breaks either. I always volunteer with my company during the summer or with small things at the church or for my sister's school during winter break. It's a great way to meet people and you get to see the community you could live in prosper!

Lili - my internship friend - and I volunteering at the Boston Pride Parade
11. Remember that you are going to college to get a job afterwards. Get an internship or three during your summers, work in every capacity to make yourself better in your field and make sure you are the best candidate in your class. The education you have been given is a gift and you should not squander it. The opportunities  afforded to you are aplenty and you have to take advantage of them while you can. My mom always says "You are young with no kids, no mortgage or husband, do everything you can while you have nothing tying you down."


Health

12. Take care of yourself. Eat vegetables and fruits LOTS OF THEM. Exercise a little bit, maybe once a week. Walk everywhere you can, take the bus when it is too far but only then. Take the stairs all the time. SLEEP at least 6 hours a night. You do not want to be sick, depressed, or gain the College 30. There is a great book called French Women Don't Get Fat and I highly suggest reading it. It changed my perception of food and helped me to keep weight off for the past 6 months without sacrificing too much. Also, go to the doctor as soon as you feel sick - I learned this the hard way too many times. 

13. Smile and learn what makes you happy and the things you need to do to recharge your batteries.School is stressful but recharging is the key to being able to manage it! I am the happiest in a yoga studio, at a museum or working in a coffee shop. I love my alone time and I always make time for me during the week. Even if it is like 10 minutes before bed, it helps me to stay sane. 


College Town Life 

14. Make sure you take advantage of everything that is advertised on social media or emailed to you. So many times I found out about something like a lecture and learned more about myself and a new topic that I would have not learned otherwise. This year, I attended TEDxPSU and had a blast. It was something new for me but totally worth it!

Me at TEDxPSU
15. Explore your college town and your university. I love talking walks around this place and finding new buildings. I found my best place to study from a walk around the campus. It's with all the art students but little engineering me loves hanging or with them. I also love all the secret gardens 

Fashion

16. Dress your best all the time. Leggings are comfortable but dress them up with a tunic or a nice big sweater and boots. You never know who you could meet or what could happen in your day. I had a friend who never dressed up. She lost her ID and could not get into her dorm to fix herself up for her new ID picture. She regrets that day every time we have to take our IDs out for an activity.

17. Buy good quality shoes and clothes with the little money we have. Three pairs of flats at $20 each are not as good quality as one pair for $60. Good quality things last for more than a season and transition to summer internships well. J. Crew is a go to for me. I buy everything on sale with a discount but the quality of everything is unrivaled.  Forever 21 is good for going out at school or one time wear dresses but anything for class or work - spend real money. I promise it is worth every penny.

18. Wear clothes - I mean this is the nicest way possible but do not be the half naked girl on Instagram or Facebook. I hate to be that blunt but those pictures will haunt you. I am have crazy parents who also stalk me on Facebook but my friends got backlash over photos on the internet from Halloween and other events. 

Family 

19. I call my family once a day. At least. Sometimes more. They talk to me as I walk home from everything and they support me so much in all my stress. My mom always knows what to say even if it makes me mad. I would not be here without all their support through my engineering exam breakdowns to the "I'm actually dying" sick weeks at school. Make sure they know you love them. 

20. I got along with my sister much better after going to college. Make sure your stinky little siblings know you care about them. This is something I did not realize until my senior year but I am making sure to let her know now. LOVE YOU SIS. 

That's all I have to share for now but for anyone who needs anything, my email is always open.

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