College can be one of the greatest four (or five) year span of young adulthood. When you start out as a freshman, there are so many new things going on, it is sometimes hard to navigate the murky waters of college life. There is certainly no right answer or perfect college experience, but here are three things that I wish I had known as a freshman that may make your time at school a little better!
1. You are in charge. By this I mean, you have the power to create your own destiny. Be proactive with this power and seek out opportunities. I expected my professors to invite me to their office hours if I was having trouble in class. I expected exciting extra-curricular opportunities to land on my doorstep. No such luck. I realized later than I would have liked that it was up to me to take the initiative to contact my professors in order to get to know them and how they thought I was doing. It was up to me to pick an interest and either find a club that I could join or start one if it didn’t exist. I was in charge, and I try to remember that to this day as I live life post-graduation.
2. It’s about the journey, not the destination. College, to me, meant a rigorous new grading system that had to be conquered. I tended to focus on grades instead of engagement in classes. I spent too much time desperately seeking the right answer and not enough time participating in the discussion, discovering the nuances of a topic. As a theatre major, I analyzed my scenes and exercises too rigidly and was afraid to fail. I wish I had known that the point is to fail. Because even if I did everything “right” and got an A++, I wasn’t focused on how I got there. I was just focused on finishing. I wish I had focused on the process.
3. Be honest and open with your roommate. My roommate and I started out as great friends, but it became clear as freshman year rolled on that we were very different people, with very different ideas of what it meant to be friends. In retrospect, we should definitely have had a conversation about expectations and boundaries. Had we been more honest and less passive-aggressive, we might be better friends today. Don’t be afraid to defend yourself and your values, and remember to be open about your roommate’s background and goals.
Check out all the college search and scholarships resources available to you at Cappex and remember that there is no perfect college experience. Do what makes you happy and make your time in school unique!