The transition into college life is very exciting. However, it can also be equally overwhelming. Balancing a higher level of academic responsibility and managing your time wisely all while trying to get the most out of your college experience is a challenge for everyone.
As soon as you step onto a college campus, you are presented with an abundance of choices:
What’s your major?
Which organizations will you join?
Will you work part-time?
Where are you eating tonight?
Who are your friends?
New-found independence – the very thing that makes college life so exciting – is also what tends to overwhelm us. Here is a threefold plan that can help:
What do you do? Take a deep breath and balance. Don’t get caught up in the waves of students rushing to be a part of something. Remember why you came to college. Make sure you are able to cope with a rigorous academic schedule. Learn how to balance class time, study time, and playtime. Take time to think and explore your options. The best part of living in a learning community is the mix of people, cultures, activities and experiences at your fingertips. Think about the things you really want to be a part of, explore the options you never knew existed, weigh your options then invest your time and energy into things that you care most about.
University life is about collective college experiences, learning both in the classroom and beyond. You never know when you might have a conversation with someone that gives you a new perspective. Take time to build relationships with people who are not like you. Maybe a game of cricket with international students could inspire you to explore the country of India. A conversation in your Spanish lab could lead to you spending a semester in Costa Rica. Your university community is filled with people from all sorts of backgrounds; developing relationships with them will give you friendships and memories you will cherish for a lifetime. Always be on the lookout for experiences you never thought you would have. In college, they are always right around the corner. Unexpected adventures are great teachers of life lessons, not to mention, many times they will turn out to be your fondest memories.
Learn to serve while you are in college. Serving others is one of the most rewarding things you will ever do. Whether you are serving on campus, off campus, or around the world make sure you experience lessons only taught through serving others. Serve in ways that are exciting to you. By doing this you will create in yourself a desire for lifelong service. If you begin investing and serving others when you are twenty and continue until you are seventy, think of the thousands of lives impacted because you were willing to serve. Often times in college we have to focus on ourselves, our grades, relationships, living situations, and schedules. Serving others provides us with a perspective that can give you the focus you need to cope with things you might be struggling with.
Remember to take time to get your balance, invest in people and experiences, and serve. These three components will contribute greatly to your plan to be successful in college. You never know what adventures you will have on the road to your degree but one thing is certain. College is life changing for all those who attend. Make sure you make the most of your university experience.