Life Advice for High School Seniors and College Freshman - Sincerely Sanguine

📓 Life & college survival guide

10 minute read


Say hello to your cheat-code to life! We asked 20+ adults to answer the question “What are some lessons and tips that you wish someone would have told you as a senior in high school that would have helped you throughout life” and here's what they had to say.


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📝Read when you need advice about academics:

  1. Sit in the front of the class, this shows the professor that you are engaged. This also makes it easier to ask questions because you can’t see the people behind you. 
  2. Have a nice balance of extracurricular activities and school 
  3. Try to find friends that are in your major: this way you’ll have life long connections, people to do your homework with, and they’ll send you job offers/opportunities in the future
  4. Get hobbies, join a club, do sh*t you think you won’t like 
  5. Community college is still college: don’t get stuck on the name! 
  6. Do Gen. Eds. first 
  7.’ is your bible 
  8. Apply to every scholarship!
  9. Have someone help you with your FAFSA, grants, scholarships 
  10. Make sure you maintain a strong GPA during your freshman year and into your senior year. This mentality also applies to course work. If you start off strong, there’s more wiggle room and a cushion, just in case. 
  11. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you think you’ll look dumb, at least you’ll look “dumb” with an answer! You also could be asking a question that someone else might have needed an answer to, but was also too afraid to ask. 
  12. Make sure that you are volunteering and participating in community service in some capacity 
  13. Private versus public education, which is the best financially for you? 
  14. Don’t take out loans unless it’s necessary and start with government first 
  15. Take advantage of resources and network as much as possible
  16. Apply and check on your FAFSA every year, starting from your Freshman year to your Senior year 
  17. Be a teacher’s pet because they determine your success 
  18. Care about the last semester… finish it and finish strong 
  19. Don’t be afraid to change your major 
  20. Stress kills (Literally)! Make stress management your best friend. 

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🛠Read when you need general (life and college) advice:

  1. Take lots of pictures (and print them out), but also remember to live in the moment 
  2. Good luck! It’s okay to do what’s best for you! 
  3. Avoid going home every weekend or within the first few weeks of college. The goal is to step outside of your comfort zone. Going home only pushes you back into it.
  4. You don’t have to only attend college to study abroad 
  5. The first day is usually the hardest (mentally), but colleges often make it enjoyable with activities and free items
  6. Most people will clique up within the first week. Some may last, while others may fizzle out. If you haven’t found your friend group in the first week or first couple of months don’t beat yourself up 
  7. Get comfortable with spending time with yourself. There may be times when you’ll have to eat alone and that’s okay! 
  8. Shower shoes are non-negotiable!
  9. Don’t just focus on school, school should be 40% of your life 
  10. Stay in college as long as you can 
  11. Join clubs that you are interested in, even if you’re unfamiliar or never have done it before 
  12. Use swipes more than dining dollars and make friends with the lunch attendants, you might get free food
  13. Everyone poops and if you’re uncomfortable going in a communal space wear headphones
  14. Don’t bring EVERYTHING from your room at home, there’s barely enough space. Bring what you need. 
  15. It’s okay to have “at home” friends and college friends, and mixing the two is not always the best idea
  16. Don't lock yourself away in your room. Utilize the common spaces for studying and watching tv 
  17. Take time for yourself, if your social battery is depleted, that’s a clear sign that you need to recharge 
  18. Prioritize your mental health and well-being, most colleges offer *FREE* counseling and mental health resources. Take advantage! 
  19. If you choose to participate in recreational activities, do it safely. Once you put your cup down it’s no longer yours! Get another one.
  20. If you see something, say something immediately. Better to be safe than sorry. 
  21. Call home to let your family know you’re alive every once in a while. (they’ll appreciate it)
  22. No, does not mean convince someone and if you ever feel uncomfortable speak up and tell someone. 
  23. Don’t be afraid to leave home, you’ll start to develop multiple “homes” the more you move 
  24. Incorporate a fitness routine into your schedule, whether that be utilizing the school gym, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or going for daily walks solo or with a few friends
  25. Get your 8hrs. 
  26. Learn to make your own choices
  27. If you can leave [for school], go! 
  28. Hang out more! 
  29. Spend your time wisely 
  30. Your character and authenticity matters
  31. Be open to meeting new people
  32. Relationships can get in the way
  33. Floss!
  34. Try everything and be patient 
  35. Don’t be in a rush to grow up, most adults want to go back 
  36. Apply yourself 
  37. Find community 
  38. College is a small pond, it’s sort of like practice 
  39. Find time to do the things that you enjoy and get your priorities straight so that you are able to do both. 
  40. Education is important, but experiencing the outside world before you’re unable to is important as well. 
  41. Travel while you’re still able to enjoy it! 
  42. Traveling offers a new perspective and allows you to realize just how small the city is
  43. DO NOT WEAR YOUR PJs to class! Dress for success!
  44. Early is on time and on time is late! 

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💌Read when you need a few words of wisdom:

  1. “May the flowers remind you why rain is necessary”
  2. If you didn’t get exactly what you wanted, don’t be discouraged. The thing you didn’t get may have been in the way of something much better! 
  3. If you can’t immediately work towards a goal or dream don’t forget it. Keep moving forward! Don’t give up. 
  4. Anytime that you’re feeling judged or that people might judge you, most people are more concerned about what’s going on in their own life. 9 times out of 10 they’re probably thinking about themselves.
  5. Everyone’s path is their own, and everyone’s path looks different
  6. Get focused and focus on it! 
  7. Show up as you are, ALWAYS!
  8. Show up in the world like you care about yourself. How are you presenting yourself? 
  9. First impressions matter, but you can always redeem yourself if it doesn’t go as planned
  10. Use your voice, you have one! 
  11. Get to know yourself, what you want, and how to get it
  12. Give yourself some grace while you’re figuring it out 
  13. Take the time to think about what you want to do to avoid regrets 
  14. Just do it! Life is all about calculated risks! 
  15. Stick up for yourself and advocate for your needs! 
  16. Prove them wrong and shock yourself! 
  17. Things won’t happen when you want or as quickly as you want it, but it could happen
  18. Do what you wanna do most  
  19. Don’t be afraid to take risks 
  20. You are your own definition of success
  21. Don’t take the bare minimum! 
  22. The thing that you are resisting the most is probably what you need to grow 
  23. If you think you’re dumb you’re probably right, if you think you’re a genius you’re probably right. Your mindset matters.
  24. Try again! 
  25. Don’t seek perfection! 
  26. The best requires work! 
  27. Don’t feel like you have to have it all figured out! 
  28. Take it slow! There’s time! 
  29. Don’t forget that you’re pretty young
  30. Try not to worry, create a vision for your path. Just start! It’s the journey! 
  31. Take it all in, even the different things 
  32. Be kind to people 
  33. Be kind to yourself
  34. Your path is yours so follow what’s in your heart 
  35. People will only give you what you will allow 
  36. Don’t stress about the past, learn from it. 

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🎨Read when you need advice on your artistic/creative process:

  1. Try different mediums and don’t feel like you have to stick to one.
  2. Never stop creating or being conceptual. Make it a habit to carry around a sketchbook or journal for notes, management, sketches, and it’s better than a phone!
  3. Don't get too attached to the end product and enjoy the process 
  4. Look at what everyone else is doing and then don't do that! 

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💰Read when you need advice on Finances/Employment/Money:

  1. Find yourself before you make a major financial decision
  2. “If you’re going to sell your soul to retail, Apple is a great start. They offer great benefits”  Go for the job giving you the most benefits! Retail jobs don’t care! Take what you need and get out! 
  3. Always read what you’re signing and make sure you understand what you’re signing 
  4. Start asking for what you're worth right away so you can get used to it! 
  5. Find careers that are marketable 
  6. Be consistent with your credit 
  7. The sooner you pay off loans, the better
  8. You can also consolidate your loans to one bill *Important note: if applied to student loans, you will not be eligible for loan forgiveness or interest decreases if your federal loans are consolidated into a private loan!
  9. Take advantage of internships. Prioritize internships and don’t blow it off. If your school doesn’t offer internship support make sure you look for yourself. 
  10. Monetizing your gifts: Build a website and a professional Instagram account
  11. Get your finances in order: you need a savings account and the ability to understand how and when to use a credit card
  12. Buy land…eventually 
  13. Understand how to complete your taxes or how to find support with tax filing 
  14. If a place of work says that they’re a family… run!
  15. Accounting: understand how to manage your money by budgeting and monitoring your spending habits
  16. Networking can happen naturally 
  17. Find a marketable skill that you can improve on 
  18. Entrepreneurship: Find a hobby that’s for you and also find a hobby that you can reap the monetary benefits of. “Find a hobby unique to you that you can share with the world.”
  19. Try to find work life balance early 
  20. You will be 70 eventually, prepare for your future now. Think about your legacy/retirement plan
  21. Understand the consequences of overspending on a Credit Cards 
  22. You can always make more money, but you can't always make more time. 
  23. If you're making the right kind of friends, money shouldn't really be a problem. 
  24. Don't lend people money. 
  25. The people that can pay you back usually don't need to borrow money. 

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Dear reader—

You’re an adult now! Well, that’s what the adults keep telling you, but what does that even mean? “I’m an adult!” I hate to break it to you, but contrary to popular belief most adults are winging it and no one really knows what they’re doing. Adulthood is more than paying bills, being serious all the time, and telling people what to do. As a child you spent your entire life being told what to do and how to do it by these same adults, and now you’re expected to become them. Scary right? However, I have great news! In an ideal world, school and life would have prepared you for this very moment, the big moment. The moment when you set aside your childish ways, get an education, and work for the rest of your life! Unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal world, where everything happens as it should and when it should. However, we are fortunate to live in the real world. A world where we have the power to influence the life we want to live and the adult we want to become. 

This is your opportunity to create your life. It’s not an easy task, but as the saying goes “if it comes easy it won’t last, and if it will last it won’t come easy.” Although, you are now considered an adult that does not mean that you know everything, no one does. You will make mistakes along the way, but the best part about life is those mistakes help you build habits so that you can avoid making that same mistake again. Fortunately, when you do something “wrong”, understand that you weren’t the first to do it and you won’t be the last.

You might be too young, but when I was a kid, a popular show was Ned’s Declassified School Survival guide. In summary, Ned gave us (the audience) tips packed with insight for navigating high school. You have successfully passed that stage in life and you are now transitioning into another. To equip you for your journey, the staff at Artist for Humanity helped curate a Life Survival Guide to assist you in your transition. Mentors that have been where you are going have provided you with tips and tricks for successfully conquering a new environment. 

Congratulations on making the transition and please understand that your worth is not determined by how and if you finish college. This is your journey and if it takes you 4 years or 6, you’re still elite! 

As my former teacher would say to me “kick butt and take names!” 

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    1 comment

    Love it

    Omarion Thompson

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