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Words From a Senior on How to Make the Best Out of Your College Years

Let’s face it, college can be a difficult time. Maybe it’s the first time you’ve lived away from home, or it’s the first time you’ve lived with a roommate. In any case, our college years can feel extremely daunting. We’re granted a sense of freedom that was only a dream in high school –  choosing your class times, napping in the middle of the day, and eating chicken nuggets at practically any time. Even with all this freedom, however, these four (or more) years are the steps to real life.

For most people, college is the time when we discover who we are, what we like (and what we don’t), and who we want to be. Unfortunately, there isn’t a magical, step-by-step set of directions that leads you to your dream future – if it were that easy, we would all be CEOs, professional athletes, and movie stars. Can you imagine that type of world? However, these four years are filled with opportunities and you should take advantage of each and every one of them. As a senior, I have experienced ups and downs in my college career, and I want to share three tidbits of advice to help you make the most out of your college experience.

Photo courtesy of Sebastian Voortman

Try new things!

Your mom probably said this on your first day of high school and when she dropped you off at college. But let me tell you, she’s not wrong! For four years you are in a completely new environment with new people; so go out and do something new! Join a club that you would never have joined in high school. Sign up for an intramural sport. Try out for a play. Do something you would never have done before. You never know, it could become a new hobby or even a career.

Meet new people!

I’ll be the first to admit that talking to strangers is not my specialty. On the first day of a semester, if I don’t know anyone in my class, I’ll make my way to the back and find a seat close, but not too close, to someone else. Honestly, I think the majority of the college population does this. But should we? No! If you’re just starting college, or you’re an upperclassman looking to make new friends, sit by someone you don’t know. Even if you have no idea what to talk about on the first day, I guarantee you’ll be chatting about ‘Taco Tuesday’ and the newest Netflix series by the end of the semester.

Talk to your advisor!

If you’re nervous about the future (career-wise), go talk to your faculty advisor. Schedule an appointment letting them know what you need help with, and then actually go and meet. Advisors are an endless wealth of knowledge. Even though they’re mainly a source of guidance in picking the correct classes, advisors are also the best bridges for careers and internships. To start, they already have a job, so they know how to write a resume and successfully complete an interview. Plus, advisors are usually in contact with former students who are in the working world. This means that they have the inside scoop on internships and job openings.

All in all, college is a time to step outside your comfort zone. You’ve been given four years to explore who you are and what you want out of life. Don’t hesitate to try new things, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you feel lost. Also, remember that everyone’s journey is different, so don’t compare your college experience to that of others!

Rep image courtesy of Sebastian Voortman

Meredyth is a senior at Carthage College majoring in Biology. She is from Pleasant Prairie, Wiscosin, which makes her morning commute a short 15 minutes. When she's not working in the lab on zebrafish and bacteria, Meredyth can be found spending time with her friends, reading mystery novels, or taking pictures for her Instagram.
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