With another semester coming to an end I find myself reflecting on the things I wish I would have done differently. Luckily I am not graduating yet so there is still time to make changes. By no means am I an expert, but I want to offer a few recommendations for making the most out of college so you can graduate with no regrets.
Schedule Early Classes. A great thing about course scheduling is that you can make your schedule whatever you want it to be. Most students choose to make their school days begin around noon, or 1pm, so that they can sleep in, and until recently, I looked at it from that perspective too. This semester, the only availability for a class I needed was at 8 in the morning every single day, and to be honest, I couldn’t be happier with it. Sure, getting up that early is still really tough, but its benefits outweigh anything that a 1pm schedule could get me. Waking up early lets you not only get all your work out of the way, it also allows you to explore any interests that would normally just be too time consuming. So if you ever wanted to try kickboxing, rock climbing, or maybe even salsa dancing, do yourself a favor, and actually give yourself the time to do all of that. Which brings me to my next point.
Try out new clubs and hobbies. There are a ton of them out there. Whether they’re related to the outdoors, or volunteer services, or even just fashion clubs, they get you out of your room, and into a crowd of people with similar interests to your own. On top of that, they can help you forget about school stress for a while and can get you into those industries you always wanted to work for or learn about.
Stay Fit. This is a really general statement, I know. But doing anything physical will help in ways you wouldn’t even imagine. Staying fit doesn’t necessarily mean going for long runs every day, or even working out at the gym. Doing anything that keeps your body active works for me, whether it’s playing football, rugby, or going on hiking trips, just make yourself sweat every once in awhile. Not only will it help you live longer, and feel more confident about yourself, staying active also helps you relax and think more clearly.
Take at least one class a semester that interests you. This one’s pretty self-explanatory. As an engineering major, I know that classes that you need to take can get pretty monotonous. But it’s always nice to have a class, any class, even one that doesn’t count towards your credits, that just lets you relax and learn about something that always seemed interesting to you.
Don’t just follow the crowd. I know the college cliche is to overwork yourself on weekdays and party on weekends. I know a decent amount of students in my dorm that follow that as a law, but honestly, making that your entire life is really boring. College is what you make of it, not what people tell you about it. People will tell you that college is a time to try new things, and meet new people, but that does not necessarily mean work and party. Do it your way, not the way of others.
Stay in touch with campus life. I went to a puppy parade last weekend. A puppy parade. That in itself should make you jump on your university’s website to see what’s being held this week. About a week ago, male students had a “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” event, in which men actually walked a mile in high heels. From random things like that to cool community service events, a whole lot goes on around campus, so go check it out, you never know what you might find.
Remember how quickly high school flew by? Well, with more responsibility and opportunities, you can bet that college will come and go even faster. You don’t want to be walking across the stage on graduation day wishing you could do things differently. What advice would you give yourself as a freshman?
I would definitely recommend living on campus your freshman year. The idea of moving from your parent’s house into a dorm full of hundreds of like minded 18 year olds is intoxicating; probably in more ways than one. Living on campus is the best way to get a great college experience. Here are ten reasons why:
Reason #1: Campus PD, P-Safe, a.k.a rent-a-cop. These are your friendly campus policemen that short of punching them in the face or waving a broken bottle at them are not going to arrest you. They are there to make sure no one gets hurt. Awesome. You know that college bubble you think you’re going to where you’re allowed to get away with things ‘normal’ adults wouldn’t? That’s on-campus, not off.
Reason #2 Your walk or drive is much shorter to class / more sleep = better grades
Reason #3 Closer proximity to all the free campus events: concerts, group performances, sponsored appearances, etc.
Reason #4 Your bills will be a lot simpler. No squabbles with roommates over who pays the utilities
Reason #5 All your academic resources are easier to reach, be that office hours with your T.A., books you need to borrow, study buddies or quiet study space.
Reason #6 More places to eat and drink. Small business owners aren’t dumb; they set up shop where the traffic is, and usually give a student discount.
Reason #7 Your parents will feel better about it, guaranteed. And no one needs that monkey on their back.
Reason #8 Imagine a scenario where you’ve had one too many beers (hard to imagine, but bear with me on this one) your walk home will be significantly more legal and safe.
Reason #9 Campus jobs pay well and usually allow you to study. A commute to a job off-campus burns precious time that could have been used for studying, hanging out with friends, etc. Remember that if you’re going full-time, you will often be crunched for time during the semester.
Reason #10 Friends! They will be around you all the time in a way you will never experience again in the real world with a full-time job, and THAT is what college is all about.
I’m reading Hole’s Human Anatomy and Physiology