I never got the opportunity to go to a lot of parties in high school. But I always wanted to attend them. Then college rolled around. My goal was to have fun instead of learning and working towards something.
Parties consumed my life when I first got to college.
When I say parties consumed me, I mean it. For the first three months of freshman year, I went to either a frat party or nearby bars every single night. Yes, that is insane. And after those three months, I “slowed down” to about four nights a week.
At the University of Maryland College Park, students find or make a reason to go out and drink every day of the week.
Happy hour Fridays.
Drafts on Sundays.
Of course, Saturdays are universally a going-out day.
It wasn’t peer pressure that led me to party, it was my outgoing personality. I love to socialize and dance. The temptation at my university is real. It caused me to sacrifice a lot for the chance to drink.
Currently, I am struggling to get to the finish line of my college-career on time. As a junior, I am way behind on my two majors (multiplatform journalism and studio art), internships and media experience.
I put no real thought into what I really wanted to do my freshman and sophomore year, not that anyone needs to know what they specifically want to do at that age. Let’s just say my free time was not well-spent.
I now need to take 18 credits per semester and an overload of courses during the summer and winter semesters. I am racing to apply to over 20 internships on time because I need to one to graduate.
This is what happens when you spend two and a half years going out and putting off work, school and extra opportunities.
I literally just found out that UMD offers minors that actually interest me and would make good additions to my majors. There are so many awards that I could have applied to that would look great on my resume. I could have started writing or editing for so many different on-campus publications early on or applied to internships when I was younger to get a head start in my field.
Journalism is a competitive world. I am honestly so worried that I ruined my chances of becoming successful after college because of the way I abused my freedom in the beginning.
I did not realize how much my university offers students or how much my university tries to help its students. Various departments like the student affairs department and the career center promote student opportunities all of the time. You would think that I would have known about them at the time.
I will say though, it is kind of difficult to know about everything happening on campus when you go to such a large university. It gets overwhelming. There are hundreds of organizations to join and opportunities to apply for. But it can’t be a one-way street. Students need to put effort into seeking out opportunities that the school offers and that can help advance their career and upgrade their resume.
I know it’s exciting to finally feel that freedom when you first move to college and away from your parents. It’s tempting to join your friends every night when they all go out. But, you must find balance during college so that you do not regret it later—like I am right now.
When I drank and partied almost every night, I didn’t understand that I will always have the chance to go out, but I won’t always have a university handing out opportunities and connections.
Eventually, you forget those drunken nights. But, those chances you take that help you in the long-run affect your future and last a lifetime. Parties are short term; academic and hobby-related opportunities start a domino-effect. The more you add to your resume and join clubs that lead you to different interests, the better you will understand where you want your life to take you and the easier it will be for you to get there.
It will be so difficult, and it will cost money to explore your interests and make connections once you graduate. Ise your time wisely while everything is free and easily-accessable.
Please, take some nights off from partying. Instead, study with friends, apply to jobs or join a club. You will thank yourself later.