If I could do it all over again…

Vickie Winterhalter

As the year winds down and students get ready to say goodbye, some for the last time, I find myself reminiscing of my previous four years at Villanova. I have decided to gather all of my college wisdom and all the advice from other seniors and give a “top 10 list” of the things I’d wished someone had told me while I made my journey through Villanova.#1 – Remember this is the only time in most people’s lives where they will get to live with all of their friends at once. Sure shower shoes and dining hall food is not the most spectacular perk of a dorm, but the fact that all of your friends are within a 10-minute walk, if not down the hall, makes up for the sandals dress code.

#2 – Take pictures. After a while, memories fade, but pictures last forever. Document your fun because it is a heavenly feeling when you open up a shoe box of pictures or a photo album, flip through it and a smile rises from the corners of your mouth.

#3 – Get involved on campus, even if it is only one activity. Make that one activity your own. Getting involved affords you the opportunity to meet new people (both students and faculty), have a say in your college career and have a life outside your dorm.

#4 – Be at the head of the line. If you know what you want to do with your life when you enter Villanova, that’s fantastic; and even if you don’t, you can still advance your career standing so that when you leave Villanova, you will have many contacts, past job experiences and great communication skills to get the job of your dreams. Always find a way to take a step up on the ladder of life. Don’t just get a minimum wage job every summer for the ease of the job; look for internships, for they are going to be a definite starting platform in the future. Even if you are not sure what you want to do, or you are someone who changes his or her mind on a weekly basis, internships and work-study jobs are the way to go.

#5 – Don’t be surprised if your life becomes a revolving door. Friends are going to come and go throughout your entire life. Some will stay for longer than others. Now you might get lucky and find a best friend in your freshman year roommate like I did, and live with her for four years, but most students will have to deal with the swinging door. You will learn when to let go and that it is ok to do so sometimes. On the flip side just because you are a junior or a senior, doesn’t mean you can’t make new friends. Every semester is a chance to start anew.

#6 – The drama dies down, I promise. Class selection gets easier as the years go on. (Though some seniors might still say differently.) You learn to make plans A, B and C for class schedules, and what class times work best for you. The further you get the more teachers become friends and you make alliances with certain professors so that more classes can be considered “easy As.”

#7 – Teachers don’t bite. Don’t be afraid of them. I know it sounds trite, and you heard it many times in orientation, but all the professors at Villanova are human too. If you work at it, they can become your greatest strength in opening new doors and opportunities for you. Talk to them after class, and go to their office hours for help. I swear they do not bite. (Well, most of them.)

#8 – Life throws curve balls. I know a girl who entered as an astronomy physics major and is leaving with a communication degree. I myself started as a pre-dental major and am leaving with a history degree. It’s okay to turn around and change paths, or even forests. Do what you enjoy, the best part of your education is going to be the amount of passion you have for the subject you are studying. And don’t pick a major because someone told you to. After all, you are going to be the one going to have to get a job come graduation.

#9 – Find the library. And the Career Center, and your advisor’s office. With today’s advances in Internet searches, everything is at your fingertips, this is true. But it never hurts to familiarize yourself with the great opportunities given to you on campus. Studying in Bartley works sometimes, but when it comes down to the wire, Bartley becomes a social gathering and fast food headquarters. Use the library for what it is there for: studying in peace.

#10 – Celebrate the Wildcat in all of us. You know you have it in you. Go forth and prosper in that Villanova spirit. Cheer on a team, go on a service trip, enjoy the dorm dynamics, volunteer for a campus event. Many times students are wishing for the end of the day, week, or month. Word to the wise: the end really does come, and looking back, you don’t want to feel like you wasted your time here. Like they say in the commercials, “Make it good to the very last drop!”