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After two slightly unusual years at Colby, (one normal freshman fall, one Zoom university freshman spring, and one full COVID sophomore year), this is it: junior year and my first somewhat regular year of college life. Here’s what I’ve learned so far, and how I’m living my best college life this year. This is it: take fewer classes. Sounds crazy and counterintuitive, but hear me out. Due to various scheduling conflicts and professors going on sabbatical, I can only take three classes this fall semester. It is the best decision I’ve ever made. Obviously you can’t do this every semester, you need a certain amount of credits to graduate, but you should definitely do it at least once and take full advantage of it. Today, I laid on Miller Lawn for an hour and took a nap in the sun. And now every day of my life is about doing all the things I’ve wanted to do, but haven’t had the time or energy to.

1. Volunteering

I have always loved volunteering and have been pretty active within Waterville since freshman year, but this year is the time for peak engagement! Finally (somewhat) free of the restrictions of COVID, we can now be back in the community and actually interact. I volunteer with the club Lives of Purpose and we visit the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter every week to play with and read to the kids, giving parents a break for themselves. It’s a great way to make connections and get to know more people from the Waterville community. I also work with the South End Teen Center on mural projects to liven up their teen center and give teens a space to be empowered and get involved in arts. The teens are so sweet and enthusiastic, it is a joy to work with them. This year, I’ve started volunteering with the Waterville Community Land Trust to help remodel houses to sell to low-income families.

2. Recreational Sports

Sports! Are! Fun! Also, what an amazing time to take advantage of the beautiful new Athletic Center. I’m not the most coordinated or athletic, but gosh darn it, I have fun. Especially with friends. I’m learning to play squash right now and it is so fun!! I love to go to the ice rink and skate during open skate hours and go to climbing nights when I have the time. The AC has all the equipment for rent and it’s so convenient and easy. Go play!

3. Explore Maine

Maine is a beaut. Plain and simple. It has the cutest towns, tranquil beaches, nice hikes, and lighthouse views all around. I also have no Friday classes, so I’m primed for some great camping trips this fall before the weather turns cold. Go visit the Amish market and the neighboring alpaca farm in Union, Maine. Go visit Acadia and be the first person in America to see the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain. Go out and explore!

4. Learn an instrument

It has always been a dream of mine to learn bass guitar, but I’ve never had the time nor the resources. One random phone call from my friend Andy this summer and suddenly I’m the bassist of a student band. I’ve never even touched a bass guitar, but I’m taking this opportunity to learn. The Colby Music Incubator is super cool and chill and have all the gear to borrow, so now I just go down to the Bob’s basement in my free time and watch extremely beginner bass guitar Youtube lessons and try to learn. It’s a great time and the vibes down there are immaculate, especially with friends.

5. Adventures with friends!

Hot tip! Studying with friends is not the same thing as hanging out! Spend real time with your friends. Go to the movies, play mini golf at Giffords, swim at the Hume, make a band, play squash, cook dinner together, go and have an evening that is not centered around the stress of homework and classes. Make that deeper connection and have fun doing it!

College is not all about classes. Sure, it’s like kind of what we pay that fat tuition for, but there is so much more to college life! This is the freest time of our lives. No longer under the intense pressure in high school to get into college, but still under the safety net of school. Old enough to go out and venture on our own, but not old enough to have all the responsibilities of adulthood like taxes and rent. This is your time to go out and enjoy your life.

Jade is a senior at Colby College majoring in Architecture/Urban Studies. She can often be found feeding squirrels around campus. Jade is always down for meeting new people and saying yes to new adventures, so feel free to say hi!