You’ve probably heard either your parents, your friends, or one of your family members say that “College is the greatest time in your life,” and they certainly aren’t wrong. College is awesome in that you are living on your own for the first time, you are more independent, and you are given the opportunity to make a whole group of new friends. However, with the college experience comes responsibilities. This is why we’ve come up with a few tips on how to make the most of your college experience.
Join a student group or organization. Especially if you join an organization that fits your major field, this can be a great way to build your resume. In an article by Sam Coren at StudentAdvisor.com, these types of groups offer you opportunities that you might not be able to learn in the classroom, like leadership and managerial experience. This also shows that you can manage multiple tasks at once, and can demonstrate to a prospective employer that you actually did make the most of your time in college.
However, you won’t just get job experience from joining a student group. You are also becoming connected with people who share at least one common interest with you. In this way joining student groups will give you a chance to meet new people, especially if you’re typically a little shy.
Do an internship. While working at the coffee shop near campus will pay your bills, you may also want to think about taking on an internship. This is not only a great way to build job experience, but it can also help you decide what you want to do (or not do) for a career. However, you should be aware that not all internships are paid (check out our previous post on internships here).
Consider studying abroad. If you have the chance, you may want to consider studying abroad. This type of experience will not only give you a chance to travel and receive college credit (one less class you have to take!), but it will also expose you to an entirely new culture, new place and a new group of people.
Get to know your professors. According to Coren, you don’t need to have a problem or a question to visit your professors. If your professor has office hours, you may want to just stop by to see what they are working on or talk with them about current events. The relationships you build with your professors cannot only help you in their class, but it can also help you throughout the rest of your college career. If you build good enough relationships with your professors, you may even be given valuable research opportunities, or these could be the people you turn to for recommendations for a job, graduate school, or internships.
While each of these are great opportunities for you to consider when you go off to college this fall, there are some other things you may want to consider to ensure that you don’t fall behind.
Go to class. In an article by Miranda Marquit on Money Crashers, she says the first most important thing students need to do is go to class. Many students after about the third or fourth week of class start getting sick of getting up for an 8 am class, and so they stop showing up. This is probably the biggest mistake you can make because 1) you’re paying for it, so it’s a waste of money if you don’t show up half the time; 2) more often that not, your professor is going to factor attendance into your grade, and 3) you’re going to miss a lot of information and assignments you’ll need to make it through the class.
Don’t overschedule yourself. For some students, one of the biggest problems they run into is just not having enough time to do all of their homework, go to their internship, and go to work. Some students, in fact, have more than one job at a time. The key is to not overschedule yourself because if you do, you’ll end up losing out. Make sure that your schedule doesn’t overload you so much so that you’re overtired all the time, you don’t have time to study for that big exam, or you never have time to do your homework. You have to remember that you are a student first and foremost, so that means school comes first.
Have fun. This is especially important; students need to make sure they have fun during college. This should be one of the greatest times in your life and something you should look back on fondly. In college you’re given more opportunities than ever, and you should really make the most of them. While this should include making the most of your academic experiences, it should also include your social and personal experiences. Don’t let yourself get too bogged down by the stresses associated with college life; make sure to take some time out for yourself to have fun.