A Letter to the True Millennial: What I Wish I Would Have Learned Before College

Clare Vaterlaus A True Millenial during Freshman Year

Dear True Millennial,

First of all I must say congratulations for graduating from High School. There were many people who probably did not think that would happen, and if it did it was because you were entitled to that diploma. Well even if you got it out of sheer luck or a teachers admiration for you, that is all about to change. You are now headed to college (I hope). Growing up, constantly being feed information through the media, the true millennial’s know college to be three things: Party, Opposite Sex,and Party, maybe with some acapella groups intermixed. Those are things I know will interest you, but must not consume you. I was told many times prior to my entrance of the university that do what you want during your freshman year, and use the next few to make up for it. I did this, and I did it well. In consequence my GPA was a 2.5, I was on academic probation about to lose my scholarship,failed math 1050 (real shocker I know), and had seen friends hurt to what seemed to be the point of no repair. I spent the next three years making up for my freshman year, and I wish I hadn’t.

Freshman year is a year of firsts. Most of you leave home, move to a new place, have roommates, cook for yourself, work, and have complete control of your time use. This is where I faltered. During my first semester I spent a lot of time hanging out with people, dating, and even more time on the internet and watching television…because I could (and PINTEREST wasn’t even big yet). I saw that my roommates didn’t always go to class, and that meant I didn’t have to…right? I never once thought about the consequences of skipping class, until I had to retake Math 1050. I treated school as if it was an ongoing vacation.

That is when I decided I needed to take my education into my own hands and be responsible for my life. I set up study schedules, I met with advisors, and even got a job to make myself more productive. I can tell you the year’s I worked in college were the ones I received better grades. I spent every day in the free math tutoring room and finished every assignment. I learned that in college you could not just talk your way out of an assignment, and the consequence of not completing it would be an F. These things became a reality.

Everyone says you will always be best friends with your freshman roommates and you will never lose contact. This is false. I would still consider myself friends with the girls I lived with but haven’t talked to most of them in years. We would see each other occasionally on campus after freshman year, and even then it was a few brief words, we had all found our niches elsewhere. Out of the 6 girls I lived with there is one that I still talk to on a regular basis. The memories are important and I will never forget them. I would advise you to hit up the school events, sneak into the fountains to swim, and stay out late some times…but don’t let that take over the main focus, your education.

It wasn’t until the end of my sophomore year that I started to figure out college. I had declared a major and realized that upper division classes required a lot of time and energy. I learned that not all teachers do want you to succeed, they wanted to weed the weak out. I learned that you must fight for your education. Finally during my final semester during my senior year that I felt like I had mastered college ( at least a little bit). I was taking 19 upper division credits my final semester and was doing an internship. I had to dedicate almost all of my time and effort so I could graduate in four years. The final outcome was straight A’s and I had made it on the Dean’s list with a Bachelors Degree.

I never would have thought I would make the Dean’s list. After freshman year I honestly thought I would never really graduate college, but I did. Use your college years to seek out networking opportunities, learn from your professors who will turn into mentors, and use the time to explore many different classes. I would have never found my passion for computers unless I had taken Cyber Security, which started off as a joke. Join honor societies, clubs, and volunteer. Build yourself up so when you do graduate there is a reason to hire you. My education has prepared me, and now I am working full time in a great job that has everything a fresh college grad could ask for, and more. Now the reality of having a “grown up” job, that’s a whole different letter….


A True Millennial, BS

Clare Vaterlaus A True Millenial Graduate

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