As we are literally vaulting towards the end of 2017 straight into the New Year, college freshmen everywhere find themselves looking back on what they've done and what they've learned. After a whopping four months at college, we come home for winter break thinking we've discovered the true meaning of life and are experts on living alone.
News flash: we're just getting started. So before you go talking to Grandma about how learning to clean your own bathroom for a change was the most dynamic point of change during your semester at Christmas dinner, reflect a bit. And along the way, it may be wise to fashion some new year's resolutions that are targeted to becoming the best first-year student you can. After all, these first moments in college are often the most crucial and may become the catalyst for the life you don't even know you deserve yet.
Setting goals is really important especially when you are surrounded in a place where everyone is driven to be successful. Most college students want to work hard in school, graduate and land a nice job somewhere so they can be happy. But sometimes we forget that the small moments along the way, especially in college, can contribute to that future success.
For the college freshman, we think we've got it all figured out. But in fact, we're only a fraction of a way into our college lives. While we may have accomplished some things, we can't forget about the loads of other things we "swore" we'd complete by graduation. So let's get the ball rolling. In order to ensure we can achieve our highest potential, let's look at some goals we can plan out for ourselves.
Depending on where you go to school or how bug your classes are, this may be a difficult task. But it does not mean that it is impossible. Odds are you were really close to at least one teacher in high school who you turned to for advice and probably recommendation letters so you could be sitting at the University that you're at today. Because you totally did that.
Forming a bond with a teacher or professor establishes a relationship that is proven to have benefits beyond the classroom. In college, becoming closer with one professor opens a gateway of opportunities for future jobs, activities or research. And even if you aren't interested in any of these things, having at least one faculty member at the university on your side is a pretty lucky thing. Take advantage of it.
Professors are professors because they love what they do and want to teach someone about it. Be that someone! Professors love mentoring students inside and outside of the classroom. Approach them! Shoot them an email or schedule some office hours. Ten minutes after class may pave an opportunity you didn't even know you had. You never know the connection you can create from one conversation.
2. Take the free stuff
I cannot stress this enough. While this may not necessarily be a "goal", it is aligned with the actual goal of going to as many events in college as you have time for. Perhaps the benefit is the free stuff. Regardless, your school is loaded with events and activities that are designed to make you happy and of course give you free stuff. Lucky for you, all you have to do is participate in them!
In the process of snagging that super cool free t-shirt with your school's logo or the free Tumblr, you will most likely gain a larger experience about it. Maybe you'll meet your future friend or soulmate. Or maybe you'll see that friend in your history class who reminds you that your paper is due tomorrow. Can you believe it! All these life experiences gained at events with the free stuff. Indulge!
3. Really pay attention in classes, or try to
You're probably paying for this education, so you might as well make the most of it. Professors are really passionate about their work and really enjoy conveying their favorite subject to their students. With that, try to really immerse yourself in the discussion in class in order to make the most of the time being. Leaving a lecture really moved by a topic or discussion is a phenomenal feeling that you may not experience much once you graduate.
Even so, your professor might explain something from a different perspective or understanding. One sentence from a professor may change your entire point of view or even major. While they may be boring, classes are really important. And if you somehow make it to your 8 AM on a Friday morning (RIP You), you might as well make the most of it. You never know what may happen.
4. Search hard for your people
No matter where you are or what you do, your people are out there. They exist. They're waiting to find you just as much as you want to find them. And when you do, you will be so happy. While college is all about bonding with professors and studying hard, you are also supposed to surround yourself with people who are just like you and who bring out the best qualities in you. These friendships often last for a lifetime, so the sooner you find them, the luckier you are.
5. Make a difference
This is a great goal to have whether you're a college freshman or a senior citizen. Making a difference doesn't mean curing cancer or discovering a new species. Making a difference begins with you. Change an aspect of yourself for the better. Evaluate some of your faults and strive to improve them. Making a difference in your own life will only make you mature and stronger.
Make a difference in someone else's life. Be a friend to someone you normally don't speak to. Be a shoulder to cry on for your friend in your hall. Help someone out with homework. Share your notes with your friend who overslept. Small acts of kindness add up.
Make a difference on campus. Pick up some trash. Show up to an event (remember the free stuff). Join another club or two and actually participate in them.
By doing these little things, we are not only improving our own days but bettering the place in which we study and the people w interact with for generations to come.
Well, there you have it. When your parents ask you what you are looking forward to next semester you can pull out this list and schmooze your way through that conversation.
Maybe your goal didn't make the list, strive to achieve it anyway! Add more to the list or make your own! Search for the utmost happiness and success in this upcoming year in order to finish your first year of college as one to truly remember. You deserve it.
Happy New Year!