College can seem to come at the best and worst time of your life. Most incoming students are on their own for the first time. Some arrive with heavy student loan debts, and graduation can seem like it’s a lifetime away. However, college can also go by in a flash. There are few people who don’t regret at least a few things from their college days. Some wish they hadn’t taken out so many loans, others wish they’d actively become more involved in the campus, some think that taking a year or two off would have been beneficial, while others wished they hadn’t stuck with their high school sweetheart the entire time.
Here are a few ways to learn more from your college experience while avoiding potential pitfalls:
1. Go to class
Some lecture halls are so big that allows students to skip class regularly. It doesn’t matter if you still pass the class. You (or someone) is paying a great deal for this learning experience. There will come a time when you’ll feel like learning is a great privilege because it is. Take advantage of every class.
2. Take advantage of your professor’s visiting hours
No matter how firm a grip you have on the subject, there’s always more you can learn. Visit your professor during their posted office hours to get a step ahead of the rest of the class. However, these visits are just as important for networking. When you decide to apply for a job, scholarship, or grad school, you’ll need professor recommendations. Start building those relationships now.
3. Study Abroad
Not quite sure what to major in yet? If you’ve ever thought it would be fun to travel, study abroad if you can. It’s never going to be easier to travel than during college. It can feel like a daunting process, but don’t let fear of not getting into a program or finances stop you. There are scholarships, grants, and paid internship positions. Talk with your campus study abroad office, and do your own research.
4. Research & Apply for Grants
Apply for as many grants and scholarships as you can. There are multiple platforms where you can filter scholarships and grants by eligibility. However, your odds are higher locally. Create a spreadsheet with funding names, deadlines, links, and outcomes.
5. Practice Moderation
While it can be a nice break to unwind with friends from time to time, binge drinking is rarely wise. Many people overindulge and may not be fully aware of their surroundings in order to stay safe or enjoy a night on the town If you choose to engage in drinking, and alternate an alcoholic beverage with a glass of water. Drink with people you trust, and volunteer to be the designated driver occasionally.
6. Get Involved!
College is the time to try things out and discover if a hobby or activity is the perfect match for you. These organizations are where you might make lifelong friends or critically important connections. And don’t get discouraged – if one club or organization doesn’t mesh with you, look for more!
Learning takes place both inside and outside the classroom. The habits you start in college can stick with you for life, good or bad. Want to learn more about college life? Take a look at the rest of our blogs about going to college!