After a seemingly endless summer, coming back to school can almost seem like a relief. While no one truly looks forward to the countless papers, readings, and exams that are to come, there is always an underlying excitement that comes with starting a new school year. Whether it’s your first year at a university–away from home and familiarity– or your final undergraduate quarter, each year presents itself with new friendships, trials, successes, and opportunities. So it doesn’t matter how much experience you have in the college lifestyle, there’s always something new to learn or pass on.
Become a mentor or mentee.
Plenty of on-campus organizations offer a fraternity system that allows first years to pair up with second to fifth years, allowing you (the freshman) a chance to get the inside scoop of a school’s system, or you (the senior) to pass on your words of wisdom.
Join a club.
This is the most obvious tip for any incoming collegiate, but even you fourth years can join a new club, pick up a new hobby or discover a talent you never knew you had because you were simply too busy studying the past three years. Want to learn how to surf? Audition for an acapella group? Write for the school paper? There’s no consequence in doing so unless you haven’t tried in the first place. Even if you don’t end up joining, at least go to the first meeting–there’s usually free food.
Get to know your suitemates/floor-mates/etc.
Let’s be honest, during the first couple weeks of school, we students love to procrastinate more than anything. So why not get to know the people you live around? As a first year, this is your chance to get to form new friendships and as a fourth year, you might meet someone in your field and get major connections. If all else fails, at least you’ll know who can get you back in when you lock yourself out.
Buy a planner.
Going back to what I said about students loving to procrastinate…just because we love it doesn’t mean we should commit to our relationship with it. By all means, buy a planner, keep a calendar in your phone or simply just keep post it notes around. College definitely provides a great social atmosphere, but that doesn’t always condone irresponsibility.
Take a class for fun.
The beauty of college allows you to build your own schedule, and as long as you’re following a plan or have talked to an academic advisor, you should have plenty of room to sit in interesting lectures or take a class just for fun. Interested in dance? Bioengineering? Visual Arts? Sit in on a lecture or enroll in a class, and you might just find something that you are truly passionate about!
Pin a local map up in your dorm.
College isn’t all about the social life going on-campus. With most of us following a four year plan, there is more than enough time to explore the city around you! Get to know the best cafe to study at, the nearest mall, closest 24/7 diner or landmark areas. Once you’ve hit these “iconic” places, put a pin in your map and figure out which places still need to be covered.
Hopefully these ideas can spark a new year full of adventurous excitement, and know that whatever year you’re about to embark on, there are always plenty of new people to meet, classes to take and places to see!