Back-to-school time is upon us, so it’s only right that we give you some of the best insights, advice and wisdom we could find. Dig in!

  1. Know that you matter. Truly. You matter more than these grades, these tests, the graduate school applications and all the other metrics you might evaluate yourself or your intelligence on.
  1. Stay woke (especially in class). Don’t believe everything you read or see.
  1. Use ALL the resources. They should know everything but your social security number in the Career Center. You’re paying them anyway, so get your money’s worth!
  1. Create multiple circles of friends and definitely kick it with the blerds (they know things).
  1. Be strategic about your course load. If you’re taking biochem, political theory AND quantum mechanics, try to make sure there’s something in there you’re genuinely excited about!
  1. Feel empowered to step away from situations or relationships that seem toxic to you. That’s not love, LOVE!
  1. If you need news that’s accurate, informed and diverse, Black Twitter has your back.
  1. Black Gravity is real. Enjoy the impromptu chill sessions while all your homies share the same campus. 
  1. We have designated reading lists for classes, but don’t forget to throw some books in the circle for your own knowledge. Brain food is the best kind!
  1. If you get a chance to travel abroad, GO. You’ll figure out how to pay for it. SERIOUSLY. GO!
  1. Even though you changed your major (twice), you’re going to be ok.
  1. You don’t need to have a job that directly correlates to your major. A lot of us don’t. It’s is helpful to develop transferrable skills, as you can monetize and build a portfolio around them.
  1. If you’re a senior with loans, figure out your game plan with the Financial Aid office before graduating and hittin’ that Nae Nae off campus.
  1. Self-care is important. Mental health is important. We all need time to recalibrate, and you should never apologize for it. Try to keep an active lifestyle; it’s easy to get lost in the grind and forget to make time for keeping your body healthy and fleeky.
  1. Studying in groups is cool — until you need to really pass that exam. Find an abandoned spot on campus that can become your go-to grind spot.
  1. #BlackLivesMatter
  1. Call your friends/relatives back home to keep in touch. Your voice does more for them than you realize.
  1. It’s 100 percent normal to feel homesick. Our homes (and the village that raised us) have our hearts. Sometimes that pull can be stronger than we might expect.
  1. Graduation is a big deal, not just for you, but for the access you are going to give everyone who comes after you. Embrace that, especially on the days when you wonder if it’s worth it.
  1. Alumni can and will be active supporters, sponsors and cheerleaders of your ambitions and goals. Reach out before you need something and build relationships for the long term. While you’re at it, get to know underclassmen and always lift as you climb.
  1. You can have the best time of your life and get that good learning in at the same time. They aren’t mutually exclusive.

This piece is a collaboration by Jonathan Jackson and Tabia Alexine.

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