Oh, how I envy you. You've just started your journey at Purdue and have four years of carving your own path ahead of you. For the freshman readers, you've come to more than just a fork in the road. You're sitting in a spaghetti bowl of intersections and pathways that curve wildly and diverge and reconnect all around you. Basically, you have no idea what to do with the next four years of your life.
Some of you might do your time, make some friends, get your degree and split. I get it. You're eager to get on with your life. You've got ambitions, and all you need is that diploma before you take off like a rocket to the top of your field. There's nothing wrong with the low-drag, quick and easy route to graduation.
Said no one ever.
At a place like Purdue, sitting under a rock in your room and not taking advantage of the incredible opportunities that this university offers you will be the single most regrettable decision you will likely ever make in your life. College is where you become who you are. Who will you be at the end of your four years?
I just started my very last semester as a Purdue student. Yes, I'm one of those fifth-years that couldn't graduate on time, but if nothing else it means I can speak on life at Purdue from true experience. And from my experience, your GPA is not going to be the endgame for your collegiate success. I will measure my success at Purdue by looking at the impact I've made on not only this university, but on the people I met while I was here. I will look past what it says on my diploma and be proud of my time spent both inside and outside the classroom.
There are nearly 1,000 student organizations at Purdue and there's one (or more) with your name on it. You don't have to major in campus involvement and minor in résumé-building to have a wholesome undergraduate experience here. You just have to be willing to pursue your interests. Dig deep enough, and your interest might just become your passion.
With seemingly endless possibilities to get involved, I know it can be a little daunting. Spreading yourself too thin will overwhelm you, so some research is going to help out a lot. Head to Boilerlink and check out all the student organizations and go to all the call-out meetings that you can make it to. These will help you put faces to the organizations you're interested in and give you the opportunity to get your questions answered. If nothing else, there's probably free pizza.
When you find something that gets your juices flowing, dive into it. You can love what you study, but you're a liar if you say you love homework and tests. Some people find what they love by going Greek. For me, the bonds of brotherhood I've formed by going Greek will last a lifetime. Others find what they love in other student organizations like Purdue Student Government, Purdue University Dance Marathon (PUDM), College Mentors for Kids, or Boiler Gold Rush, to name a few.
The bottom line is that you're making a big mistake by not poking around and finding a place to channel some of your energy into something that means more to you than your GPA. Getting involved at Purdue has quite literally changed my life forever and I couldn't imagine how things would be if I hadn't gone down the path I'm on now. I've grown as a person and as a professional. I've made friends I'll never lose, had experiences I'll never forget, and I had a blast doing it.
But to me, the most important thing I will walk away from Purdue with will be knowing that I made an impact here. It might not be very big and it might not reach very many people, but it's real. Students that get involved make waves, change things and accomplish wonders. We made something happen while we were in college, and you're making a big mistake if you sit around and let college happen to you.