College life is a lot like bacon.
There are so many different brands of bacon, different kinds, different ways to cook it and different prices.
Stores have thick-cut, thin-cut, pre-cooked, maple, brown sugar, smoked and cracked black pepper bacon. You can cook the bacon in a pan, the oven or the microwave.
The first time you make bacon, you don’t know what you want, so you get a variety. Then you try cooking it, but you don’t really know the right temperature, so it either cooks too fast and burns or it cooks too slow and is rubbery.
Starting college, you have different schools to choose from, different degrees, different majors and cost of tuition often play a factor in what you pick.
When I started at Weber State University five years ago, I tried to pick my bacon without really knowing what I wanted. I thought I would want one kind but decided that I didn’t actually like it. I started to cook the bacon without knowing the best way to, wasting time and money.
I learned a few things in my adventure to find the perfect bacon.
First, if you don’t know the exact kind of bacon you want, sample a few. Take general education classes the first few semesters. Figure out which classes you enjoy and which ones are not your favorite. If you excel in a specific subject, take a few more of those classes.
You don’t have to settle for the first type of bacon you pick.
Second, find the right cooking method. Just like how you can cook bacon in different ways, there are different ways to go through school. I prefer in-person or virtual classes; others do better with all online classes. Figuring out how you learn best and enjoy learning saves you time and money because you won’t have to repeat classes.
Sometimes cooking bacon in the oven is easier than cooking it on the stove.
Third, find the right temperature. Taking school too slow or too fast causes stress, frustration and lowers motivation. Finding the perfect temperature to cook your bacon is all about balance. If you like your bacon floppy and chewy, you have to cook it at a lower temperature. If you like it crispy, it needs to be cooked at a higher temperature.
Taking too many or too little classes is the same. For some students, they prefer to do school part-time. Other students want to take as full of a class load as possible.
Fourth, don’t settle on a pack of bacon because its expensive, which therefore must equate to quality. You also shouldn’t settle on a pack simply because it’s there and convenient.
Explore your options. Weber shouldn’t be your school because it’s convenient; there needs to be more of a reason. Your major shouldn’t be your major because that’s what people want you to do or because it seems like the easiest option.
Don’t buy books from the bookstore simply because it’s convenient. Don’t take a class because you need three more credits, and this class fits your schedule.
I picked WSU because it was close to home and tuition was a good price. I stayed at WSU because I love the faculty and the communication department.
Each semester, I would do my research on the professors teaching classes I’m interested in. RateMyProfessor.com and other students are amazing resources.
I also waited to buy textbooks until the week before the semester because professors change their minds. I would also compare prices of the books on different sites. The WSU bookstore isn’t your only option for buying a textbook, and it’s often over priced.
I started at Weber as a psychology major, switched to criminal justice and eventually switched to be a communication major.
My second semester I took a public speaking class and loved it. Instead of taking the communication route then, I waited three more semesters taking classes that are now only elective credits.
It’s okay to change your major. Don’t be stuck with a kind of bacon that you hate or one that doesn’t interest you. Don’t add semesters and push out an anticipated graduation date because you spent too much time on a major you knew you didn’t like.
Bacon is a weird and complicated food. Find the kind that you enjoy and could eat everyday if you had or wanted to. If you like the microwavable or precooked kind, then buy that. Do what makes you happy.
Don’t intentionally make yourself miserable during your college experience, and don’t eat bacon you don’t like. It will be a long road that you may not end up finishing if you do.