College is a completely different world from high school. You’re not just surrounded by people your age or kids you grew up with. You’re now amongst adults, free to make their own decisions, a wealth of information and resources, even people your grandparents’ age trying to pursue the same degree as you. You hear from a lot of people that your college years are the best years of your life. That doesn’t mean you should spend it sleeping in until noon, partying Thursday through Sunday. There’s so much to be done while you’re in college:
- Join a club: Clubs in college are a little different than clubs in high school. Now they’re known as organizations. You can find a lot of like minded individuals by joining a student organization. It can be a sport, whether NCAA or intramural. It can be related to your identity, whether ethnicity, home town, or personal interest. It can be something you have absolutely no idea about! Getting involved can attribute to your college experience.
- Connect with a professor: Admittedly, it’s a lot harder to get to know your professor on a personal level than it was in high school. Your instructors have a lot more students, and remember names and faces could be very difficult. Make a point to visit their office hours, express your needs in the classroom, and don’t hesitate to ask them questions. Keep in touch with them after the term. You’ll need their good words if you’re applying for grad school.
- Support your sports teams: College sports is an atmosphere in its own right. The athletes are awesome, and the fans are even better! If you’re lucky enough to go to a Division 1 school, you probably hear about your peers all the time on ESPN. Even if you don’t go to a televised sports school, you should still support your fellow students. Who knows, you may find yourself interested in the sport or become a recognized fan!
- Date: Another way college and high school are different is the number of eligible bachelors and bachelorettes increases dramatically! There are many stories of people finding their soul mate in college, and you can too! Find a nice young man or young woman to spend some time with, and see where things go. You could be hanging out with your future husband or wife!
- Travel: A great perk to being a college student is the opportunity to travel all over the globe through studying abroad. You can choose where you want to go and how long you want to stay. Maybe you want to spend a semester in Brazil, a year in London, or winter break in China. You get a great rate and an experience of a lifetime!
- Work or intern: Your school’s career development office will have a variety of career opportunities for you to engage in while in school. These can be positions that will open doors for you in a full time career, not just fast food and retail positions. Some internships may be unpaid but offer a full time position after you graduate. Your part time job can assist with your educational costs. If you’re not taking a ridiculously full load of classes, look into this.
- Learn: Obviously you’re supposed to be in college to get an education, but it doesn’t have to be the traditional maths and sciences. College offers such a variety of classes, with subjects you probably have never heard of! Explore different literatures in the eyes of other cultures. See how pop culture relates to history. Stay current on events and learn how to report them. Take this time to take a class that will truly keep your interest, and not just because it’s a required course for your major, or because you’re sure you can get an A.
There’s so much to do in college, and 4 years can go by faster than you think. Use this time to truly get a well rounded experience. Meet great, new people, have a good time, and be serious about your life after you graduate.