Some might suggest that the most daunting aspect of college is making friends. Out of thousands of young adults, somehow you have to find a group of like-minded people to spend your time with. I mean, who wants to be alone throughout all four years of college? Chances are, you’ll be happier the more connections you make. It’s like high school all over again, except with a larger pool to weed through.
The first week of school, everyone will scramble to befriend the first few people they come in contact with. Time and again, dorm hall members and roommates, the first people you’ll see when you move in, will become the people you automatically cling to.
My advice - Sure, latch on to a few people from your floor, make quick friends. But don’t get locked into that group of individuals. Most likely, as the year goes on, you will slowly find more students who share your interests and background. Be open to change in your relationships the first year of school. Later on, you’ll be happy you were.
Once you make those preliminary necessary friends the first few days, check out the activities offered at your school. There are hundreds of clubs for every interest. Most universities hold “Activities Fairs” to showcase all of the opportunities available. Go. It may be overwhelming, but make sure you sign up for every club that catches your eye. Usually you’ll receive follow-up emails from each one, and later on you can sort through the clubs and decide which one(s) are best for you.
Joining these groups is probably the easiest way to make friends easily and quickly, right off the bat. They’re welcoming and are usually excited about new members, and since you’re already interested in the subject matter, you’ll feel more comfortable opening up to people.
Being friendly and open to others in every aspect of college life is the key to gathering acquaintances that, hopefully, grow into more. The more instances you have to meet a new person are opportunities to make a connection, possibly for life. Nowhere else will you be in the same environment as so many likeminded and like-aged people. Take advantage of it.
When should I study?
Hopefully you’ve taken the time in high school to determine what times you are most productive. It varies for everyone. Some do well waking up early before school, others only late at night. Whenever you seem to absorb material and focus most intensely, study then.
It’s also beneficial to go over pertinent information right before going to sleep. Especially lists, facts, and dates; the data will be retained and more easily remembered in the morning. Having been the last thing to go through your brain, while you sleep your memory can process the information effectively.
How do I make the most of my college experience?
Make yourself busy. If you find yourself with any more than 10 hours of free time a week, get out there! There is such an array of activities, sports, and clubs to partake in; take advantage of it. Make sure you explore the community that is college. Those four years will fly by, so take the time to peruse everything you think you might be interested in. After school, there will be fewer opportunities to discover all the different sides to who you are.
What courses should I take/what professors?
The university you go to will determine the particular paths you’ll take to discover this information. Some colleges have underground student-run websites that honestly evaluate professors and courses, straight from students’ mouths. Although a good source of information, watch out for the subjective nature of this method. Most colleges have “Peer Advisors” in each department and will often hold office hours before the designated time for the student body to choose courses. These students are usually approved by the professors and have a great wealth of knowledge in the best course load/professors to take depending on your interests. Definitely take the time to talk to these individuals.
Otherwise, don’t be afraid to speak to your advisors. No, they will not trash talk their colleagues but they will know about all of the various courses open to you and the necessary classes you have to fulfill before graduation. Sometimes semester scheduling and meeting graduation requirements can be overwhelming and your advisor can really help you manage it all.
As you choose a major, you will notice that the same people are showing up in your classes. Ask them about the professors and courses they have already taken to give you first hand insight into what might be the best choice for you.
How do I manage my time?
(See other Studentsba.com article on Time Management here)
How do I decide what my major should be?
Here is my three-question theory:
- Figure out what you love doing, what you feel drawn towards. Ask yourself, what motivates me to wake up in the morning?
- Then ask, am I good at “it”?
- Does the world need “it” enough to be willing to pay me to do what I love?
Once you get positive answers to all three questions, you’ve found what you should major in!
Talk to your advisor as well. They are there to help you discover the answer to this particular question.
Talk to family members, parents, employers, anyone that has made a career for themselves, and figure out if you would be interested in what they do. It is better to hear a job description from a person who does it 40 hours a week instead of through the Internet or on TV.
There are hundreds of occupations out there that are so obscure, you would never know of them unless you talked to someone with that profession. Look out for people who are similar to you and then seek out what they do for a living.
Getting involved in those college clubs mentioned earlier will help you determine your dream or not-so-dream job as well.
How do I get firsthand experience in the field I believe I’m interested in?
Internships are the way to go if you’re looking for real experience. Employers looking to hire recent graduates are interested in students who have taken the initiative to partake in relevant internships. This way, they know that you already have an idea of what the job entails and that you are a hard enough worker to not be fired from your previous internships.
It is important to know if you’re actually going to enjoy your work and the only way to do that is intern or volunteer in your field of study. Take advantage of your career office and internship database at the university. They’re good places to start your search.
When do I start applying for internships/jobs?
There is no time too early to start looking for internships. Go for it!
How do I explore career options available to my major?
Talk to seniors that have been through the internship process and are applying, looking for, or already committed to jobs/starting professions. Speak to your advisor or career center. One thing most colleges are good at is knowing what comes after. Usually, the possibilities are endless.
If you haven’t caught on yet, most of these common questions are answered with some sort of variation of “talk to somebody”. Don’t be afraid to seek out help, advice, and guidance. College, by definition, is a learning experience.
About the Author
Morgan is a graduate of Boston College and has worked with MyGuru for the past three years. Check out our home page for more information on standardized exam tutoring and helpful study materials!