1. Friends 4 Ever
It’s not just a phrase we write on bathroom stalls or, even, carve in tree trunks. It's a life lesson we learn throughout life and then relearn the importance of in college.
That guy we meet on the first day of orientation or that girl we meet during registration may be that friend we call on five years after graduation when we're looking for a job at Company X and our friend happens to work there and can get us an interview. (This is not to say that college is about making friends so that you can use them later in life.)
Making lifelong friends in college will allow you to share any of life's milestones with your friends: declaring your major, getting your first internship, landing your first job. Your college friends will see you grow from a first-year college student to a seasoned college graduate.
2. Talk to your professors.
This may come as a shock to you, but your professors are people, too. They have interests and hobbies and connections. Your professors can open doors for you to internships or jobs.
One of my friends was an economics major. She asked her economics professor for advice on where she should intern in the summer. He got her an interview with a finance company one summer. They asked her back each summer and then they offered her a job after college.
The lesson? Talk to your professors. Build relationships so that you’re able to network with them.
Networking means building professional relationships so that you can get help with your career. Who knows? One day you may be in the position to help others in return.
3. Join clubs, teams, or organizations.
Think about what you have always wanted to do and then try it in college. If it doesn't exist, then start a club.
For example, maybe you've always wanted to learn how to play poker. You could find an experienced poker player or professor who can teach you game theory and the importance of a poker face (beyond Lady Gaga).
Maybe you've always wanted to try politics or canoeing or event planning. Whatever your interests are, it’s time to explore them in college.
Who knows? Maybe your college senate position could lead you to a state senatorial election one day. Get involved in college. It could change your life.
4. Spend more time than money with your friends.
Don't worry about going skiing over winter break or partying in Cancun for spring break. Spend time with your friends eating breakfast, lunch and dinner in the dining hall. Spend time studying together, cramming for exams, or pulling all-nighters (it’s best to avoid this but we all know it happens from time to time).
Living together in dorms, trying new activities and clubs and exploring campus together will build memories.
Bonding with your friends during inevitable times of stress (finals week, anyone?) will lead to judgment-free friendships. Your friends will see you at your worst (stressed out and sleep deprived) and at your best (acing that exam or winning that award).
So spend time with your college friends – and always be open to making new ones, too.
The bonds you make can last a lifetime. Truly, they are your best college investment.