As an international student, being a new student at a new country, with literally a new world to learn from, it can be a lot. But I am thankful to my university on how they eased my process at Florida International University with the global FIU program, and I remember getting the same advice I will give you today. I am glad I followed them, but I wish I could’ve followed the advice I was given as soon as I started my college experience. The good thing is, it’s never too late to make the right choices. Coming here if I am real honest with you, since I was moving to Miami first thing that came to my head was parties, even though I was underage, I really wanted to go out and have the best nights ever, but after a while I came to a realization college is so much more than that, and if you do not make your college experience a REAL one, then your days will fly and you will not only have lost money, but also you will also have lost the most valuable thing: time. I’m not saying partying is bad, it’s all good, but let’s be clear, a balance is key. And parties will not pay your bills after graduation, parties will not get you a job (unless you want to be a party promoter) and you got to have a balance along with that like noting the difference of a friend for night outs and a valuable connection or friendship for your future. In few words, stay focused. College is not only about fun times, but also building your future. In my case, what I loved the most from my experience as an international student is how many valuable friendships I made from literally all the world, from Colombia to Vietnam, from Africa to Egypt. I’ve met the most wonderful, genuine people that will always have a special place in my heart, even people I met from my home country, they all have a special place on it, and I know these are friendships I see a future with, and these are connections that will not only be helpful to me, but also I can be helpful for them anytime.
My best advice for you and probably the advice you will always hear in your freshmen year is, GET INVOLVED!!! Yes, social life matters, but believe me your resume MATTERS! Get involved in as much organizations as possible and don’t be afraid to go into leadership positions. No organization is meaningless or small, they all matter. Even if you see a small organization, don’t underestimate it. See it as a project and get into it. The best part of small clubs/organizations is that you have the opportunity to make them big. Go for that leadership position and go big, make your name something to remember. I never thought of joining a sorority, and so far I’m loving it, even though I joined during pandemic I’ve made so many good memories, I love all of my alpha chi sisters, and you really get involved being part of greek life, so do not be afraid, and go for it a thousand times! Being part of this clubs shapes you as a person, and gives you extracurricular activities which are great not only for your resume, but also for you to outgrow and get out of your comfort zone. And last but not least my piece of advice to you: enjoy every second of it, because these are 3-4 years that fly by and you don’t want to go back and be like “oh no, I should’ve done this when I had the time”, VALUE YOUR TIME, VALUE YOUR CONNECTIONS, EMBRACE LIFE, GET INVOLVED, GET THINGS DONE!!
PS: very important, remain genuine, be kind at all times, and stay true to yourself. The world needs that!