Live in the dormsLiving in the dorms is the equivalent of the ultimate college campus experience. Seriously, you’ll get to know so many new students. You’ll bond over basic things – like how you hate doing laundry and how much homework you have. You may assume that you can gain similar life experiences once you move into an apartment building – not so. Neighbors rarely open up to each other the way students in the dorms do. If you’re an upperclassman, you can easily get this experience and free housing by becoming an RA.
Join a club, volunteer or get involved on campusYou’re never going to have as much free time as you do in college to do the things you love. And, you’ll also never have the opportunity to meet so many of your peers through activities on campus. Sure, you’ll be able to participate in activities as an adult but, right now, it’s concentrated into one area of students. Check out your school’s club, organizations and Greek life. Put yourself out there - college is the perfect time to take a chance trying new things! Even if you decide you don’t love whatever activity you decide to take on, you’re not required to stick with it. Either way, you’ll make new friends in the process.
Study abroad“I regret studying abroad” isn’t a phrase you hear often and there’s a reason why. Students gain a multitude of awesome experiences from becoming immersed within a new culture, exploring a different country and bonding with other students on their study abroad trip. It’s never too late to seek out your school’s study abroad opportunities because they are definitely worth pursuing.
Attend a school sports eventEven if you’re not a sports fan, it’s fun to get together with other students and cheer on your school. Get the experience once or twice, at the very least, because it’s always different cheering on your school as a student versus cheering on the team as an alumni of the school.
Partake in an old campus traditionStudent and campus traditions are usually silly, but fun. Most schools have them, too. Find out what traditions exist on your campus and join in on the fun with friends. One day, you’ll be happy you did it because it’s a story you can look back on and laugh together.
Take a class (or two), just because it’s interestingIf a class sounds interesting or exciting – take it! You may stumble upon a passion you didn’t know that you had and end up finding out what you’re really meant to pursue for a career. Or, it could just be an interesting class. Either way, it is worth your time and effort.
Consider switching to the major you’re secretly jealous other students haveDo you ever hear someone’s major and think that it sounds exciting? Are you ever secretly jealous that they get to study that? Guess what! You can do it, too. Forget about what you think you should be studying, study what you love instead. If you’re nervous or unsure you’re ready to take the plunge, make sure you try out a few courses in the subject to see how you like it before making the switch.
Get to know your professorsBelieve it or not, professors are pretty cool people. They’re smart, often experts in their fields and are willing to share all of that information with you. Additionally, a lot of professors have interesting things they are working on that pertains to their study. Take them time to get to know your professors through office hours and class discussions. You may be surprised by how much you learn and how much you enjoy getting to know them as individuals.
Participate in class discussionIf you have something to say in class, don’t be afraid to speak up. You will rarely have the opportunity in life to participate in an environment where you can have open discussions about interesting topics with that many of your peers. Take advantage of the class setting. Bonus: professors love when students are active in class discussion.
Make friends with someone who is seemingly your complete oppositeCollege is great for getting to know all different types of people. When you become friends with other types of students, you actually learn a lot more about yourself in the process. Additionally, you may have a lot more in common than you think. Branch out from the norm so that you can start discovering more about the world around you - and yourself.
Go on a date with someone who isn’t your “type”It all comes back to self-discovery. How can you know yourself or what you want from a relationship if you’ve only tried one type of person? You’ll actually learn something whether it’s a good or bad date. On bad dates, you learn what you’re not looking for in a relationship. (Keep in mind, it may not even turn out to be a bad date!)
Visit friends at other collegesYour high school friends are likely spread across the country at different colleges. Now is the time to schedule visits! It’s acceptable as a student to crash on someone’s couch. You’re both in school and neither of you have to take time off work (maybe just your part-time job), check with your spouse or find a babysitter. In short, nothing is holding you back from going to see friends – you can even find friends to take road trips with you or super cheap flight fares if you plan ahead. Take advantage of visiting other areas of the country (with a free spot to stay) while you’re able to do so!
Get a part-time job on (or near) campusA college job not only helps you pay the bills, but also helps you balance time, get to know others and prepares you for your career ahead. It’s always good to get experience juggling several responsibilities (like classes and a job) because you’ll be better prepared for what’s to come. A lot of college jobs are fun, too – you can get to know other students and locals that you wouldn’t otherwise.
Remember...All of the above suggestions boil down to one concept: taking on new experiences and implementing on a "no regrets" policy to ensure you gain the most from your college experience. These years don't last forever and they do fly by. Make them count by filling them with memories and experiences you can cherish for a lifetime.
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