The biggest mistake a vast majority of college students make is assuming college is mostly about memorizing facts and graduating with straight A’s. While learning fundamental concepts in the classroom is important, viewing it in this manner only means you’re definitely not acquiring the most value for your tuition dollars (and time). Here are 8 ways to make the most out of your time in college.
1) Expand your horizons: Sign up for a course that is outside your major at least once during college. Don’t let preconceptions about the class discourage you from registering for the course that you know you can succeed in. Maybe you’ll decide to take honors physics because you’re up for the challenge. Or maybe you want to take up Acting 101 because you want to delve into the performance side of the dramatic arts field. Whether you take a class for fun or for the challenge, the experience from the class will definitely make you a stronger student and professional.
2) Sign up and join a club/team/activity: Extracurricular activities are what make your time in college worthwhile. The experience of being on a sports team, or president of a club is what you will cherish most. You’ll learn a great deal about teamwork and about yourself. Put yourself out there and explore all the organizations that your school has to offer.
If there’s something you’re fascinated in but your school does offer it, start a new club. Who cares if only a few friends are the only members for the first year. If you’re deeply passionate about it, do it; others will follow. Do not give it up. In essence, find something you like doing and go after it – it doesn’t have to be what you aspire to do with your life (or maybe it might be something you want to do in life. You never know), just something you want to do right now.
3) Get to know your faculty and staff:
Have you ever sat in a classroom and had a professor explain something in class, and you found yourself not knowing what on earth he is talking about? You want to raise your hand, but no one else has their hand up. So you sit there in silence, nod your head and pretend like you know what the professor is talking about it. As hard as it is to believe, many students experience this fear, too.
It may seem daunting to speak up in class, but professors and staff are always approachable and open to answer any questions you may have. Most faculty, adjunct and full time, have years of experience in the field and can offer advice or find the best people to reach out to for job opportunities. Don’t be intimidated; They are here to help you. Your faculty and staff will be your best networking guides while you are navigating your way through your college journey.
4) Find your study space
If you find yourself dozing off in your dorm room when you are trying to study for your midterms, then maybe it is time to find a new study place.Think about the environment that you are most productive in. Do you work best in a quiet environment? Consider checking out the library or a study lounge in any of your campus buildings. Or maybe the scent of fresh brewed coffee and powdered donuts powers up your brain. Perhaps studying at the local starbucks will get you focused on your studies. Once you have found your study haven, be sure to visit it frequently so that you associate it with hitting the books.
6) Exercise and eat well
Maintaining healthy eating habits and exercise regimes can often seem complicated than trying to ace organic chemistry– especially when you are trying to balance a part time job, full course load, and a social life. It can be a struggle, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t possible. There are plenty of healthy, time and money saving recipes out there that are just as good as mom’s home cooking. Pinterest and buzzfeed are great resources to find healthy and inexpensive meals.
What about exercise? Joining a sport and hitting the gym can be a great option. An even simpler form of exercise can be just walking around campus. Not only do you get the exercise, but you get to marvel at the beauty of your college campus.
7) Find an Internship
Many students find themselves having trouble getting their first job because they lack experience. A way to combat that is to take an internship. Internships are a great way to build your resume. Take a trip to the university career office, or the department offices for your major, to scope out available opportunities. Also, don’t limit yourself to the traditional office internships. In fact, virtual internships are also a great way to gain experience in your desired industry. Whether you are interning in the office or interning from home, if you are really lucky, you will enjoy yourself, get paid, and maybe be offered a job once you graduate.
8) Save all coursework
Remember to actively take notes and save all your coursework. You never know when you will need them. Saving notes can be helpful when you need a refresher after a jam-packed winter break. Don’t forget about the essays and projects you’ve worked on in class, they can serve as writing samples to add to your job portfolio. Last, but not least, remember to save your work constantly. Hit save periodically on your computer, and have an external hard drive handy. You don’t want to find yourself losing your work the day before the assignment is due.
How did you make the most out of your time in college? Sound off your comments in the comments section below.