Use all of your four years of college

As a graduating senior, I am able to look back at my previous three years of college with some level of retrospect. Freshman year, I was active in volunteer programs through the center for service, I made a club and joined the student newspaper. Sophomore year, I maintained that club and became an editor on the student newspaper. Junior year, I transitioned that club to a new generation, I became Editor-in-Chief of the student newspaper, I joined the staff of the literary magazine, got a job in my field, joined a fraternity, and was awarded the largest scholarship my college gives out as an institution.

And now I’m a senior, on to new exploits.

However, for many, this is not the case. Understandably so, many students choose to focus on their studies for their first semester to event the first few years of college. Everyone at college is here for classes after all, but I cannot stress enough the benefits of being active on campus, and being active early on.

Especially at an institution the size of my college (under 1,500 undergrads), it is not unheard of for students to rise through the ranks of a club quickly. Take my experience on the student newspaper, for example. I joined it as a freshman and became editor my junior year. For some clubs, the rise can be even quicker. My successor as president for the club I made freshman year – Film Club – took over after being a member of the club for only a year.

And this does not just apply to clubs; it can apply to any organization you can join as a student. If you get active early, and you stick with it, you can see yourself rise to a prominent position in which you can accumulate valuable experience, outside the classroom. Furthermore, if you get active early, you will be able to gradually take on more, diversifying your experiences.

And once you’re active, it’s hard not to be.

At the end of your four years of college, you should be able to answer confidently: Did I get the most out of my college experience? And this does not just apply to professional and extracurricular accomplishments. College is also a key time period for social activities and friendships. For most people, they will only be an undergrad once, so seize every opportunity to have fun and be a college kid, while also realizing that college is also a place where you can gain important leadership experience, academic merit and training that will help you in your career after college.

Do your best, but have fun while you can. Use all of your fours years to the best of your ability. See each one as a valuable investment in yourself.