Sarah McCarten

Thirty things I wish I knew in College. A guest post by Ashley Wilson Fellers.

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Put your hand up if you love the internet. If I weren’t sat in my favourite coffee shop, I’d most certainly have both of my hands in the air. There so many things that I enjoy about the internet, the thing I love the most though, is the people I’ve met there, Ashley is one such person. I love this. 

  1. Eat the Ramen – no judgment.
  2. Take the pottery class.  Join the sailing team.  Sign up for every activity that interests you, because when you want to learn a new skill as an adult, you will pay for it hand over fist.
  3. It will never, ever again be this easy to meet people with common interests, who aren’t distracted by families, demanding jobs and financial worries.  So meet everybody you can.
  4. Study hard, but don’t stress.  Most future employers won’t care whether you got and A- or a B+ in Early Childhood Psychology.
  5. Cultivate relationships with friends who are going places.
  6. Don’t get involved in other people’s drama.
  7. This might be the last time you’re surrounded by people who actually get paid to teach you to succeed.  So ask professors to mentor you.  Ask them to introduce you to people who can take you where you want to go.  Ask for help whenever you need it, from whatever talented person will give it to you.  Don’t be shy about this; you really are a paying customer.
  8. Throw snowballs. Toilet-paper trees.  Duct-tape over dorm-room doors.
  9. Stay up until 5 a.m.  Do this every night for three weeks.  Get it out of your system.
  10. Learn to love coffee, stat.
  11. When a guy you know steals one shoe from every pair you own and offers to return them in exchange for a single date, say yes.
  12. When another guy hurts you and all the beautiful places remind you of him, take those spots back.  Go sit by the river.  It’s still yours.  Walk over the bridge and feed the ducks.  That bridge is yours, too.  Hike the trails.  Lie under the trees.  Watch the sunset.  These will always be yours, no matter what.
  13. If people don’t like you, don’t sweat it.  There will always be others who love you for the very things the haters don’t like.
  14. Don’t eat the cafeteria mashed potatoes.  Trust me on this.
  15. Get a job now – not later – in your field.  Even if it’s in the file room.  It will pay off.
  16. Learn how to cook.  Expect that the first seven dinners will go awry.  Cook them anyway.
  17. Call your mom.
  18. Don’t be afraid to encounter ideas that scare you.  Read books that challenge everything you believe in.  At the end of the day, doubt is what makes faith real.
  19. Your parents are going to seem really, really old-fashioned right about now.  But trust me:  they know more than you think.
  20. One day, you really will look back on all this and laugh.
  21. Enjoy the fact that you have everything you need.  You own almost nothing, but you’ll never feel this rich again.  Revel in it.
  22. Those stilettos are bad for your feet.  Wear them anyway.
  23. You don’t need to do stupid things to prove you’re fun.  The right people already know you’re fun.
  24. Make friends with people who mystify and challenge you.
  25. Men will hurt you.  But they will also make you wiser.  It will be worth it.
  26. Go on a road trip.  Or two.  Or ten.
  27. Travel whenever you can, to as many countries as you can, and while you’re there, try to speak the language.  Eat the empanadas.  Hike up the mountain.  Stay in the grubby hostel.  You think you’re too busy to do this now, but it just gets busier from here.
  28. Your body is your own.  Listen to it.  Refuse to do things you’re not ready to do with it.  But also, enjoy it. It is your most valuable and most sophisticated possession, and in spite of what you might think sometimes, it is astoundingly beautiful, now more than ever.
  29. Write a journal.  Take pictures.  You’ll want to remember this.
  30. Pass on your blessings.  And when you’re 31, make your own list.


Ashley Wilson Fellers is a writer/homemaker/dreamer/procrastinator living in a windy corner of Appalachia.  She loves to cook, takes care of a teenaged exchange student from Denmark, and doesn’t have a blog.

Author: sarahmccarten

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