You’ve got college problems? Let me, as the highly intelligent and experienced senior (Who am I kidding?), help you. I’m in my last semester here and I think I’ve got a lot of advice for you up and comers that I’m really wishing people would have told me a few years ago. Now, I don’t know how much of it you can actually listen to (And if I’m honest, take it with a grain of salt), but if I can help one person, that’s better than none right? Right. Now listen up.
1. Figure out what your major is early on.
This one has a lot of reasons but there are a few that stand out. Clearly, if you know early, then you have more freedom with scheduling your classes and not ending up your spring semester of senior year with a huge problem. Mine wasn’t too big (and ironically I knew my major before I even went to freshman orientation) but it still sucked. In the communication arts department, you need I believe it’s 9 credits from skills classes. These are you more technical or specialized writing classes. I always assumed I’d be taking writing for broadcast but turns out they changed all kinds of things around and accidentally sent out an e-mail saying it was cancelled when really the time was just changed. I didn’t find this out until after I already changed my whole schedule around to fit in writing for business because there was no way I was taking visual media production II or graphics II. I think a new kind of writing experience will be nice in the end but it was a pain figuring it all out.
Secondly, you can make friends with your professors because they are real people. You see, three of the communications professors are friends of mine. One knows all about my sports stuff and my whole freaking out about paying for my friends’ wedding and she’s helped talk me through it. Another, God bless her, believes in me more than anyone I know including myself. She is convinced that I will be a great journalist and seems to have no clue why I don’t have people beating down my door right now, offering me jobs for May. And the final is seriously one of my favorite people on this planet. I have no clue how little miss redneck princess me and miss LA born and bred make this work but I love her and her snarkiness. I’m pretty sure it has to do with our love for movies and the fact we’re going to have the best departmental honors paper this year but it’s cool. On the other hand, I’m also a sociology major yet none of the professors and I really talk. They are all very nice and cool people but they don’t know things about me because while I love the classes, it’s not the same as the people I’ve been with since freshman year (I didn’t declare this major until spring of sophomore year).
I know you will hear it constantly and probably ignore it but seriously, you should talk. Talk in class discussions; talk to you peers; talk to your professors. Just get to know people. It will change your world. I didn’t do this the first few semesters of college and they were kind of miserable. I can name at least four classes that I never said a word in and it really hindered my social circle. There were plenty of people in those classes that I wanted to get to know but I was too scared that they would think I’m weird or not like me. You know what? Big deal. They are either going to think that for being who you are and speaking or they are going to think that because you are that weird quiet kid who sits alone. It’s not fun to be thought of as the latter. I mean I get being shy. I really have an issue talking to new people (Just ask the guys at the front desk at the gym who I still cannot figure out how to speak to) but it’s worth taking the chance if you can muster up the courage. This also may be why my sociology professors don’t know me well. Sociology people scared me those first few classes (They seem weird but that’s just the ones who are older and into philosophy, too. Then you find the basketball players and fun people).
3. Take all the opportunities you can.
There’s always something going on at a college campus or the surrounding town. These are clear chances to learn something new, form a new hobby, and meet some new friends. Last year, I really started to wish that I would have played softball for my college. I was scouted and the coach really tried to get me to play but I was convinced that I was burned out, done, and never going to want to play again. I was really wrong and I’m still wishing I had played. I see all the athlete girls in the gym and I wish those were the girls I was hanging out with but I decided my fate a long time ago. But I’m changing things. I’m doing more things this semester. I’m a little late in the game but better late than never, right? I’m at the gym alone and trying new machines (and trying to use mind control to make friends…it may have worked today). On Thursday, I’m trying out a yoga class offered on campus…all by myself. If I were you, I’d start things before your last semester.
4. Make friends of all ages.
Yeah, you are the babies when you are freshmen but after that, there’s people older and younger than you. I made the mistake of making friends who were older than me and that was it. Now everyone’s gone. April, Melissa, LaVar, Michael, Jared…all went away. I still have a few friends but some of those are younger friends I made just last semester. When it comes to time for the older classes to graduate, you are stuck alone. You’ve got to be sure you’ll have people around when everyone else graduates. It’s a very lonely existence if you don’t. Trust me…
Okay, hope these help because I can tell you my first week of this semester left me miserable and lonely. I’m working on making things different but I’ve only got a few more months until I’m done. If you start things earlier, it’s probably going to be a lot more beneficial and make for a much more fun college experience.