Make the Most of Your Freshman Year: After Class

By now you’ve likely read tons of articles on how to perfect your Freshman year. Your dorm is ready, your first classes have gone by, and you have some semblance of a study schedule.  Now it’s time to settle in for the long run.

Before you get comfortable at your desk, and sink into the workload of the semester, I’d like to encourage you to look into four more things.  These are things virtually every campus provides, and they can create amazing opportunities while you work on your degree, and will make a big difference upon graduating.


1. Club Fairs & Announcements

No matter what you’re pursuing, there is likely a club related to your field.  There are also many clubs or extracurricular activities that are not related to any one field, but are meant to bring people of similar interests together.  No matter what the club or group, they will advertise, and schools love to support this.

Early Fall semester (and sometimes early Spring) there might be a fair or tabling event for all of those groups to come together, and recruit new students.  I can tell you from experience that this is worth checking out, not only because they might have freebies, but because this can be a great way to meet people of similar interests.  If there's no event, look for bulletin boards or posters.  Joining groups can help you explore things you’ve wanted to try as well. The earlier you join, the more chances you have of scoring that awesome officer role too, which always looks good on a resume!  


2. Volunteer Events

Who doesn’t love a little giving back?  Some schools, like the University of Utah’s Bennion Center, offer Community Service centers that are solely designed to match you with good volunteer opportunities.  Even if it’s for a few hours in the semester, it’s worth finding a good place to volunteer your time. This can gain you a recommendation, give you work experience, or eventually get you into some amazing awards or honors programs. Plus, it’ll come in handy if you are in a field that requires some volunteer work such as the medical field.


3. Career Services

Now I know you’re just starting out, but it’s never too early to start talking to your Career Services Center.  While some may think they’re only there to help you find a job, they do so much more than that. Career Services can teach you how to do interviews, refine your resume and cover letter, teach you salary negotiation, and make you a strong candidate for the eventual career fair.  The longer you are there, the more personalized your career profile can be treated, and you can enter the workforce with more confidence than your peers.


4. Writing Centers

Some of you lovely readers may have already had your Writing 101 course or came in as a strong writer.  If so, awesome! If not, rock the skills you do have! But no matter your skill level, I urge you, go check out this service!

Writing centers are more than glorified spellchecks.  They can help you improve your writing on a personal level, and can give a special perspective on what a professor wants.  They can help you when you’re stuck on a paper you just can’t figure out how to start. For example, if you’re going into college like I did, and don’t know what the professor means by APA/MLA citation, this is also a fantastic resource.  Get in early, midterm and finals weeks fill up fast for them!

Looking into things like these give you a special edge and utilize your college to its full potential.  You’re already paying a ton of money for it, so bank on everything it has to offer! These things can let you walk away with more than just a degree on your graduation day, and it’s worth beginning now on your first semester.  You owe it to yourself!


Source: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5