What I’ve Learned in College

Three and a half years ago, I entered college with a fresh perspective and open mind to the future. After years of incredible experiences, a pandemic, and semesters of coursework, I have some lessons to share that I’ve learned about myself as a person, friend, and student. 

Choosing a major:

First, it’s incredibly important to pick a major that interests you and aligns with your future goals. Ask yourself, “What are my best personality traits?”, “What classes interest me most” and “What am I good at?” Your major is the first piece of the puzzle to curating your college future. Remember, changing majors is common, so don’t feel overwhelmed with the decision to get it right the first time. In fact, about 80% of college students end up changing their major at least once.  

Be sure to get involved:

Next is the importance of getting involved in extracurricular activities and clubs. College days are long, but the years tend to go by quickly. Immersing yourself in as much as possible is key to personal growth and connecting with a wide range of people. This could range from anything like joining your school’s marketing club (AMA) to trying out for your school’s club soccer team. Meeting like-minded people is a great way to expand your circle and find your home away from home in a new community. It can also help you with future networking and job opportunities – remember your weak ties (people not directly in your inner circle) are the best way to make connections and get jobs.  

Try your best to make new friends! As I mentioned, joining as many clubs and activities that interest you is a great way to meet people that have similar interests. According to The Ohio State University’s college of education and human ecology, a good learning experience with faculty and a positive relationship with peers are the two most powerful factors of fulfillment in college, high graduation rates and student learning. Whether it just means saying “hi” to the stranger next to you in class or chatting with the person behind you in line at the campus coffee shop, making a core group of friends in college had a central effect on my happiness, mood, and overall performance.  

Striving for success:

Another thing I have learned is the importance of setting yourself up for success while in college. This includes setting aside time to study so you can succeed in classes, along with networking and gaining internship experience at companies or organizations. Hiring managers nowadays want people with fieldwork experience. Having an internship is an incredible way to make yourself look more valuable to employers and can add some additional depth and appeal to your resume. 

One way I’ve stayed organized throughout college is creating lists of my task, goal, and priorities. By setting goals on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, I am able to achieve small wins throughout my week and also chip away at bigger projects. Throughout college, using a physical planner has worked best for me. Find what works for you and manage your daily work schedule, school, and other priorities accordingly. 

Change is good, don’t be afraid to grow.

Moreover, understand that college is a time for growth. It’s normal to outgrow friendships and relationships that no longer serve you. College is your time to find your identity, interests, passions, and discover yourself! My time in college has brought plenty of ups and downs, but one thing I can say for certain is that I have grown as an individual in a lot of transformative ways. This includes my academic knowledge, professional work experience, and independence gained from living away from home. 

A vacation every day 

Finally, finding ways to improve my mental health has made a significant mark on my college experience. From my first college exams my freshman year, to life happening in between, being able to manage school, a social life, and work can be tough and daunting. Creating a “vacation for yourself every day,” whether that is just going for a walk or getting a cup of coffee, is a mantra that’s helped me improve my mental health and outlook. Interested in learning more about mental health? Check out our blog on 6 popular self-care routines for students.  

I can confidently say that college has been the best few years of my life. I’m looking forward to my last semester and can’t wait for what the future holds. If you are thinking of college or heading to college for the first time soon, know that you are not alone. You have a world of wonderful experiences ahead of you.  

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