As my undergraduate career comes to a close, waves of nostalgia wash over me and I can’t help but feel that this moment is bittersweet. It’s my last semester of being in school, really all I’ve ever known. After this, it’s me against the real world, and I have no idea what to expect. So here are some things that I want to tell incoming students:
1. Go to your professor’s office hours if you need help (or even if you don’t).
I’ve never liked to do it, but in the past few semesters, there have been some classes that have just been impossible. They would stress me out so much and I couldn’t find a way to figure them out. This forced me to go talk to my professors and seek help. And boy, I cannot tell you how helpful it is. It’s basically a private lesson for you and only you. Another chance to learn the information.
Plus, you are guaranteed the right answer, because your professor will work every step out with you if you want them to. On top of that, if you’re struggling in the class, your professor will see the effort you’re putting in, and they will definitely take that into consideration while computing your grades at the end of the semester.
I only wish I knew how much I would get out of this, so that I could have started as soon as I stepped foot onto my university’s campus.
2. Live every moment up.
This sounds extremely cliche, but seriously. If you have a chance to do something new like join a club, hang out with some friends for the first time, or go to an event in the city that you don’t think you would like, do it.
You will come out of every experience with something, whether that be a newfound hobby, your best friend for the next 10 years of your life–or the newfound knowledge that you don’t like something in particular. Every single moment in your life is a learning experience.
Don’t regret of any of these moments. They’ve brought you to exactly where you are today, and if you like where you are today, then you’ve done everything right.
3. Make friends in your freshman year.
This is not to say that you can’t or shouldn’t make friends in your other years, it’s just that freshman year is the best time for it. Everyone is trying just as hard as you are to put themselves out there and make friends.
Even if you don’t feel the most comfortable socializing, or if you already have some friends, continue to throw yourself out there and get to know new people. This is a small window of opportunity, because once people get situated in their circles, they get comfortable with who they’re friends with, which is why you’ll have a harder time in the future making friends.
As a senior, I can honestly say that I have not tried to do any serious befriending, because I know I will be leaving in a month and won’t be coming back.
4. Study abroad.
The reason you roll your eyes at this one is because you’ve heard it so many times. See the pattern? DO IT. When else are you going to have an excuse to live in another country for a semester or a year?
Studying is the perfect way to get some of your credits out of the way, but also to experience life in a different place. You’ll make some incredible memories, see some beautiful sights, and learn so much about how different parts of the world work. It’s an opportunity you can’t afford to pass up.
5. Use your school’s pass/fail option.
This is the perfect opportunity for you to take a class that you’re interested in, but have never had any exposure to before. If you don’t want to worry about the grade you get in this class, the pass/fail option is the best way to learn in a pressure-free environment.
This is a good way to take a break from fulfilling your major and minor requirements, and to just really enjoy what you’re learning. Hey, if you’re paying all that tuition, you might as well try some new things, right?
Don’t take the time you have in college for granted. Do whatever you’ve always wanted to do. Take advantage of that expensive education and learn as much as you can. Make new friends and let them introduce you to new things.
The time goes by fast, and while you always hear that, you never fully process it until it’s your time to graduate. I know my time came around way too fast, and although I’m looking forward to being done, I’m also trying to savor the last bits of college. There’s no looking back.