What I Wish I’d Known [Guest Post]

wishidknown-final

My name is Victoria and I’m the author of Miss Engineer Blogs.

Being a recent college graduate, sometimes I reflect on experiences from my “learning years”. It’s gone by quickly and I’ve tried to grasp as much knowledge as I could, both educationally and socially. I’m not an expert by any means, but I wish someone had told me these things growing up.

 

WHAT I WISH I HAD KNOWN IN HIGH SCHOOL

  1. Popular girls won’t always be popular. They may seem cool because they have the boyfriend or the clothes or the friends, but it might be because they want people to think they have their life together when they don’t.
  2. If people don’t like you, don’t let it bother you. I didn’t. People can be shallow minded and it’s their loss.
  3. Stop using Facebook like Twitter. You’ll regret this later and have to go through and delete a lot of posts.
  4. Call your grandparents more. Visit them if you can.
  5. Enjoy your metabolism. It gets worse in college and there is nothing you can do about it.
  6. You’re most likely not going to marry your high school boyfriend. I hate to tell you this. It’s not the 1960s anymore. (I mean, there are people that do, and good for them, but the statistic is at <2% now.) Breaking up with my high school boyfriend after senior year was the wrst thing at the time, but I’m glad it happened.
  7. You’ll meet better friends and lovers in college. Make friends in high school, yes. They will make the four years there more fun and maybe easier to tolerate. But if you don’t have a bunch of friends (like me), don’t sweat it. People will come along all through your life.
  8. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can or can’t do. This goes for teachers too. Prove people wrong. My high school engineering teacher told me that I’d never graduate or be a real engineer. Well, look at me now.
  9. You don’t need to drink or have sex in high school to be cool. Another thing I didn’t do and I don’t feel like I lost any of the high school experience from it.
  10. If high school is the “best years of your life” then you don’t know what you have coming for you.

 

WHAT I WISH I HAD KNOWN IN COLLEGE

  1. Where you went to high school and what you did in high school is pretty much irrelevant. Some people travel hundreds of miles to attend a university. It doesn’t matter that you were prom queen. It doesn’t matter that you had a 3.8 GPA. (Your college GPA is about to be a lot different.) Leave high school behind and start fresh.
  2. Call your grandparents more. And your parents. Especially if you don’t go to school near your parents, say hi every so often. They won’t be around (or sending you money) forever.
  3. Send thank you notes or emails to professors and companies that interview you. Thank them for their time. This makes a difference. It’s also a nice way to follow up or catch up.
  4. Who you know is everything. Friends can get you jobs. Professors can get you jobs. Random strangers can get you jobs. Make sure what people hear or see (Linked In, Facebook, Twitter, etc) about you is professional. This could cost you a job.
  5. Go to office hours. Professors have them for a reason and students don’t utilize them enough. (I like to think that my professors are grumpy because they haven’t met me.) They want to see you succeed, even if you don’t want to believe it.
  6. Early morning classes are not the worst thing in the world. It gets you awake, it gets your brain thinking. Also, you might get more one-on-one attention. And Starbucks might have a shorter line.
  7. Skipping class is not cool. But taking care of yourself is important. Don’t skip class to binge watch Netflix and day drink. If you are actually not feeling well (mental health days count too), make sure you show an effort to email your teachers and explain. Also, lying does not help.
  8. Start saving money. If you can, save your refund checks instead of blowing it at happy hour. Use it to buy books or pay off your loans. Putting it in a savings account is a good idea too, because you never know when you might have an off week.
  9. Intern at places relevant to what you want to do. Speaking from experience, if you don’t like the work you do, you won’t gain anything. Aim for paid internships, but if you can’t get those, unpaid internships pay in knowledge and experience (and look just as good on resumes).
  10. Your college GPA isn’t everything, but it is something. If you have a 4.0 in college, good for you. Most employers don’t really look at transcripts though. They want to see a hard worker, so experience is just as important as how well you did in your classes. I finished college with a 2.8 GPA but I landed a job with the company I was interning for throughout college.

 

WHAT I WISH I HAD KNOWN BEFORE LIFE HAPPENED

  1. Take a vacation before you start your real-world job. I graduated on a Saturday and started my job on Monday. Slightly regretting it because I’m not allowed to use my vacation time for 1 year. Most companies won’t mind if you delay your start day by a pay period.
  2. Meeting people online is not a bad thing. There is a fine line for this though. If you are super busy with work, it makes it difficult to go out and meet guys. I feel ya on that. (I met my boyfriend online.) They even have apps for girls to meet other girls as friends. It’s not weird, promise.
  3. Pay more than the minimum on your loans and credit cards. When you only pay the minimum, usually you’re not paying off more than the accrued interest, which extends the length of your debt. If you have the extra money, use it wisely.
  4. Buy clothes that fit you and your style. Just because you fit into clothes from high school doesn’t mean you should keep them. Have a wardrobe that can be used for both work and play. Also, I’m sure you don’t need 10 winter coats and 3 red dresses.
  5. Cooking a decent meal for one person is not that hard. Sometimes you have to eat dinner alone. In college, it was easy to make Ramen or order pizza. You could do that, or cook a healthy meal and have the leftovers for lunch the next day. I love making my coworkers jealous with my great smelling food.

 

What are some things you wish you had known when you were 15? 20? 25? Leave a comment to let us know!

Here’s to That Girl in the School Bathroom

girlinbathroom-final

It’s Thursday, which means that this morning I had the joy of going to my Spanish III class. In all my years of school, I’ve had my fair share of dull classes, but this one is quite possibly the most uneventful and boring place to be on the entire planet. The teacher talks and drones on, reading from the textbook, and then occasionally asks us to pull out our notebooks and complete an assignment from the textbook. Sometimes, if he’s not in the mood to stand in front of the class and talk, he’ll make a packet of worksheets and sit at his desk doing who-knows-what as we all sit en silencio and try to work past page two without falling asleep.

Today was no different: at the beginning of our class he did a quick refresher on our last set of vocabulary words, then read a lesson from our textbook, assigned two textbook assignments, and finished by passing out a five-page packet before retreating to his little corner of the classroom. As expected, about halfway through his talking/robotic reading of the book, my eyes started getting droopy. I considered falling asleep, but then I remembered that one of my New Year’s resolutions was to get at least a high B in all my classes, so I forced myself to stay awake.

But after maybe five more minutes, I knew I had to get up and walk around or do something that didn’t involve sitting (I tend to focus better after walking or doing some other mild exercise.) I asked if I could go to the bathroom, and as soon as he said yes I’m pretty sure I bolted out of my chair and got out the door as fast as I could. I had originally planned to just do a few laps around the foreign language hallway and then head back in, but soon I realized I actually had to go, so I detoured and headed for the bathrooms on the other side of the hall.

After doing my business and getting out to wash my hands, another girl walked into the bathroom. She was probably about the same height as me (short), but she seemed about a foot taller when she strutted into the bathroom, stopped at the sink next to me, and started fixing up her makeup. She wore dramatic eyeliner and had freshly manicured nails, and generally did not look like she belonged in a building full of sleep-deprived teenagers. The biggest thing that surprised me, though, it that she was singing as she readjusted her blush.

She was singing. Most of the teens here don’t even make eye contact with people as they go about unless they see someone they know. There’s a sort of unspoken rule that you keep to yourself unless you’re hanging out with friends. And this girl was actually jamming to her favorite song in the bathroom. Granted, she wasn’t very good, but I don’t think she cared all that much.

At the time all I did was wash my hands and slide a few feet over to the dryer, but internally I was impressed. The fact that the girl had enough self-confidence to hold her head high, walk with purpose, wear what clearly made her feel confident, and have no problem singing along to her favorite song while going through her beauty routine – in a public school bathroom, no less – was refreshing. And as I shuffled out of the bathroom and slowly made my way back to Spanish, I thought to myself: What if we all had that kind of confidence in what we did? What if we could all be laid-back enough to enjoy life and do the little things that make us happy? It’d be pretty cool.

So here’s to you, bathroom girl, for reminding us that sometimes it’s okay to sing along to the rhythm of daily life. I hope we meet again someday. (Preferably not in a school bathroom.)