When people talk about their college days, they tend to longingly reminisce, wishing they could get a taste of those days back again. Now that I have experienced a year of it myself, I can confidently say that it was the best year of my life so far. While not everyone has the same positive experiences as I have, I have learned a few things along the way that allowed me to create the experience that I have now.
1. Say YES!
For one, I encouraged myself to say YES and do things that were outside of my comfort zone; I think it is incredibly important to push yourself to experience things outside of your everyday realm. It not only allows you to gather new perspectives, but you can find things you never anticipated you would ever like.
2. Create connections
Another thing which really helped me during my first year was establishing connections among different groups of people. It is so much more than viewing it as a social status or a popularity competition, but it allows you to find a place of comfort wherever you go. And besides, you'll never have the chance to live close to all of your best friends ever again!
3. Attend campus events
Go to events around campus!!! It is not nerdy or dorky; it is so fun to have a sense of school spirit and have pride in your college community. The events are oftentimes run by other students on campus who are so passionate about what they do, and sometimes they even offer free food! (Go for the food, if nothing else.)
4. Engage in learning
Get hyped about the fact that you even have the opportunity to get an education! Many people in the United States and around the world do not even have the access or resources to receive an opportunity towards higher education. Get serious about what you are studying and engage in conversations and learning experiences.
5. Be open minded
The odds are that this college environment is somewhat if not very different from your home environment! Immerse yourself in this new culture and open your mind to meeting new people and experiencing different perspectives.
6. Challenge yourself
Try things you would have never anticipated doing before. College is the time to try new things and be as bold as you can be! Challenge yourself inside and outside of the classroom-- take that high-level course and try those activities around campus you never thought you could do!
7. Get to know your professors
There is so much more to your profs than their degree and their profession. They are individuals with passions and hobbies too! Even this semester I am learning so much about who my professors are when they exit the classroom, and not only do I have so much respect for them, but you find so much more in common than you could have imagined. Talk to them before/ after class or go to their office hours for that one-on-one interaction.
8. Take advantage of the facilities
You're already paying for the gym(s) and student union through your tuition and fees, so you might as well utilize the services they provide! Check out the fitness classes and find your fave study spot in one of the many buildings on campus.
9. Seek help when you need it
Whether it is going to the student wellness/ medical facilities or tutoring services, do not be afraid to access these services on campus. Be sure to check out your career and counseling services to access assistance for things ranging from career advice to mental health. People are there to help you, and they want you to have a positive experience!
10. Balance is KEY
With everything in life, balance is your best bet for having a positive experience! It is essential to have a work-study-play balance so that you are achieving your academic goals while providing yourself opportunities to thrive professionally and socially as well! Not all learning comes from within the classroom, so give yourself room to experience different sides of college life.