I'm a firm believer that college is what you make of it. I have loved my college experience over the last two years, because I went in my first day of freshman year knowing that the next four years were exactly what I wanted them to be, as long as I made the effort and put myself out there.
I've tried lots of things - some temporarily, some for a while, and some I'm still getting into, but the main thing is that I'm trying my best to get out there and experience new things, meet new people and expand my horizons. I knew that would give me more of an experience than just going to a bar every weekend and a frat party every night - not that I don't still do that, but you know.. time management is another post.
So I asked some of my Senior friends - the ones who just graduated - the Class of 2014, to help me out here. I asked one simple question:
what's one piece of advice you would give to incoming freshmen, knowing what you know now?
And this is what they said..
"Most of learning in college is done outside the classroom -- through organizations you join and working with people you meet. You get out what you put in, so do as much as you can and be as open-minded as you can to broaden your horizons."
"Find the things you're passionate about -- even if it means testing out a bunch of different clubs, organizations, jobs, etc. during college. If you keep putting yourself out there, you'll eventually find your interests and be able to really enjoy your involvement!"
"Find yourself a good group of people who challenge you and make you better. College is so much more than the parties and the socialization. It's becoming the best version of yourself in four great years. The more time you spend with the people who make it worthwhile, the better experience it will be!"
"Don't worry about what other people think. Do the things that make you happy. Anyone who judges you for what you're doing isn't worth your time and those who support you through everything will help you grow in ways you wouldn't believe"
"Take as many chances as possible. Try to limit your fears as much as you can and test your boundaries. At the end of your 4 years, you'll be grateful for the opportunities you took, rather than the ones you missed."
"Don't be afraid to make mistakes...you learn the most from when you fuck up, move on, and improve."
"Don't be afraid to ask for help: from professors, the learning center, even your friends and family - if you are struggling, ask them for help. Especially professors, many freshmen don't realize that professors don't want you to fail, and will work around your schedule to help you through the material you are going over in class!"
"Speak up. College is nothing like high school where you grew up with everyone in the classroom. It's a new place with people of different backgrounds and different personalities. It's important to stay true to you and to be outspoken. You can easily get lost in the crowd or you can be an outstanding individual and influence people."
"Give people a shot, or a second chance. Sometimes we assume we won't get along with someone from a glance or first interaction, but I've found once I learned to open myself up and let people in for a first or sometimes second chance, I was able to learn a lot about myself and that other person. I love to prove people (myself included) wrong, so it's a win/win, especially when you make a really great connection out of it!"
So that's the key to being successful I guess.. thank you so much to all my friends who helped me out here.. I'll miss you all next year!
Incoming freshmen, take notes.. it's easier knowing this stuff now, than learning it a few years in. College is exactly what you make it: get involved, go out there and do something different, meet new people, and have as much fun as you can because it flies by, as these graduates can attest to.
Happy final few weeks of high school, Seniors! You're almost in college!