How To Experience College The Right Way

Since this school year is coming to a close in about a month, I have a few things to say since I am halfway finished with my four years of college. It's kind of hard to believe. I knew it would fly fast, but I didn't think it would be this fast.

Coming into school, I was scared to join new clubs or get involved too much because I didn't want to overextend myself. I also didn't want to spend too much time in my room.

The point is, yes, we are here to work towards degrees, land our dream jobs, challenge ourselves, stretch our knowledge, and develop skills that we can carry throughout the rest of our lives...BUT We also are supposed to be making memories.

Personally, I don't want to look back on my time in school and only remember the late nights I stayed up working on schoolwork. We have to do it, but I also want to remember the fun formals, the time spent with sorority sisters, ice cream runs with my roommates, and taking on any opportunity that truly interests me.

I am typically the type of person who would love to go on adventures, but panics when I see my to-do list for school. I worry that I won't have enough time to get things done, even though I am a master at time management.

So, this semester I did some things that were out of character for me. I went on a writer's retreat with my English club for a weekend to the mountains. I allotted time for myself the previous week to get things done and planned ahead to get things done on Sunday night. To my amazement, it worked out fine.

The next crazy thing I did was commit to a conference trip to Ohio after a consideration of ten minutes. Without telling my parents. I just signed up and jumped on board. When it got closer to time, I did some slight panicking, but I planned ahead and got a jump start on all my work.

Now, looking back I wouldn't have traded the experience for the world. I had such a fun time with my English friends in Cincinnati, Ohio. We discovered cool places to eat, saw some neat shows, and shared our love for words with others. It was a new city with lots of new adventures.

I made a promise to myself to get more involved with my two extra-curricular activities this semester: English club and my sorority, Alpha Delta Theta. I still found time to have fun and get all my work done. Every single weekend was taken up by work or an event, but I made it happen.

I want to remember the crazy times, not the late night studying. I want to cherish the class discussions and the friends I made along the way.

So, trust me. When your school offers you cool opportunities, take them. I'm taking another awesome opportunity by experiencing one of the study abroad options my school has to offer. Trips to Sweden, Norway, and Denmark don't arrive very often, so you best believe I will be headed there in May with several classmates and a couple of professors.

Learning in the classroom and in your room is great, but are you able to take it beyond those four walls? If you look back twenty years from now, will you be disappointed by not taking the opportunities staring you in the face?

I will close with one of my favorite quotes and a personal thank you to my junior year English teacher who introduced me to it:

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain
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