A Guide to a Regret-Free College Experience

After returning from a semester abroad and realizing that I have less than three semesters left on Emory’s campus, I’ve started to realize the importance of truly making the most of what this school and its community has to offer. If you’re nearing the end of your time in college and it’s starting to hit you that the real world is an actual place, here are some tips to maximize your time and ensure you leave campus with #noregrets.

1. It's Not Too Late To Get Involved

Is there an activity you’ve always wanted to try out but never found the time? No longer being a freshman doesn’t mean that you’re not welcome to get involved in new activities. On a personal note, I recently realized that I didn’t want to leave campus without fulfilling my goal of being an Orientation Leader – something I’d wanted to do since my own orientation three years ago. Although at my interview I wasn’t surrounded by a ton of other second-semester juniors applying to be OLs for their first time, I’m so glad that I pushed myself to apply for something I’d always wanted to do.

2. ...And it's not too late to push yourself to be a leader, either. 

Been involved with the same organization since freshman year and wondering if you should apply for the executive board? Although it is certainly a greater time commitment, joining the executive board of an organization you care about is a great way to give back to something that’s given you so much and allowed you to grow throughout your college experience . As your time in the real world gets closer and closer, it’s important to gain some experience in leading a team and organizing meaningful events. Joining exec is a great way to gain that responsibility and invaluable experience while still doing something you absolutely love.

3. Step Outside of Your Friend Group

It’s often easy to get caught up within your friend group. They’ve been there through everything, and they know you inside and out. However, at a school with 6,000 students, we are often prone to forgetting that there are more people to spend our time with than our five closest friends. Ask that friendly girl in your project group to get dinner or get brunch with someone you haven’t gotten close with yet in your sorority. It’s often refreshing to get a break from your usual friends, and you might end up finding a great friend in someone you never would’ve spoken to if you stuck to your core group.

4. Diversify Your Class Schedule

Yes, we all have requirements for our majors, and, yes, most of us want to take classes that hopefully won’t destroy our GPAs. The thing is, these four years are your chance to learn about essentially anything you’ve ever wanted to learn or something you’re randomly interested in. With fall registration around the corner, try to look toward classes that can really satisfy your personal interests. Having a curiosity and passion for learning is a great thing, and we all deserve to feed that curiosity. Luckily, we have the resources to do so right in front of us– so, make sure to take advantage of that!

5. Find Your Balance 

 

This one sounds easier than it actually is. We’ve heard it a million times: we need to find a balance between working hard and playing hard, allowing ourselves to relax while still ensuring that we accomplish what’s expected of us (and what we expect of ourselves) as students. However, it often takes a while to actually figure out how to ensure that we're doing ourselves justice and really find that happy medium. If you’ve been stuck in the stacks every weekend for the past few years, try to get out a little more. As someone who admittedly is that girl more than I’d like to admit, it’s definitely hard to write that sentence and take myself seriously, but it really is important to give yourself that break you deserve. After all, college only happens once. On the other end of the spectrum, if you’ve been going out a little too much and have watched your grades consequently slip, finish out these four years strong. Spend a little more time in Club Libs – it won’t kill you. The sense of pride is worth it in the end.

Whether you have one semester left or four, these tips will hopefully guide you in the right direction. Do college the way you want to, not the way other people want to. Your future self will thank you later.