Getting the Most Out of Your Years in College: Starting Right Now!

At a glance, college is the period in your life when you get skills and experience you are going to need later in life, ostensibly by the means of lectures and assignments received from professors. However, there is a lot more to college – it is a truly unique time of one’s life, and you would do yourself a very bad turn if you focus only on its most obvious parts. In this article, we will cover some of the things you could and should do while you are in college to make your experience truly memorable and meaningful.

1. Use Tutoring Opportunities

In addition to formal classes, the college offers multiple opportunities for additional learning, and one of them is tutoring. Other students may be better than you at certain things, and you will never have an easier time finding willing helpers than right now. For example, you can have someone more skilled than you take a look at your PowerPoint presentation and explain what you are doing wrong, or ask somebody to teach you how to deal with a particular type of calculus equations. Likewise, if you feel that you have skills you can share with others, you may consider applying for a tutor’s position with other students – these positions may be either volunteer or paid.

2. Participate in Extracurricular Activities

But limit your participation to a few select activities, no more than two or three, and be really involved in them. It is always better than to occasionally take part in a dozen student groups, clubs, and organizations but never get deep into anything. Spend some time looking over the possibilities and choose what student organizations are best aligned with your interests and views. The more serious of them may require you to write a self presentation essay to show that you are a worthy addition to the cause and can make a difference. Spend some time learning how to write such an essay, read a sample or two and write away. Remember: the more difficult it is to get into an organization, the more valuable the experience of being in it is likely to be.

3. Get to Know Your Professors

Professors are more than just teachers – at least if you take time to get to know them and build up relationships with them. With the right approach, they can become great mentors and lifelong friends who will help you out later on, when you try to establish yourself in your professional sphere. If you are in doubt as to your future career and purpose in life, these experienced people can help you discover the “self” that escapes you and understand what path you should pursue.

4. Try Out New Things

College years conveniently overlap with the period in most people’s lives when they feel the greatest urge to try out new things and experiment. It is a great time to get these urges out of the way now because you probably will never have a better opportunity for it. In high school, you were limited by the rules imposed by school authorities and your parents, and later in life, you will probably be limited by the requirements imposed by the industry you intend to work in. For most people, college is the only period when they are mostly free to do whatever they like. Of course, while you are free to experiment, be reasonable and don’t do something you will regret later on. If you are going to pursue a law career, it is probably not a very good idea to get tattoos on your cheeks.

5. Take Classes Outside of Your Major

Do not strictly limit yourself to the realm of your major. If you see a class that really interests you, feel free to take it, even if it isn’t exactly relevant for your future career. This will broaden your horizons, teach you to think differently, and can potentially offer many unexpected inspirations. Many successes achieved by famous people came as a result of surprising synergies between seemingly unrelated areas of knowledge.

6. Communicate with Other Students

It may not be a problem for extroverts, but introverted students do tend to bury themselves in their textbooks and spend most of their time in college in their dorms. If you do so, you most likely miss out on the opportunity to build important relationships and find lifelong friends. We do not urge you to change your nature and start going to wild parties if you don’t like it; just find it in yourself to strike up a conversation with other students every now and then. You will be amazed how many people out there share your interests and have something to say to you.

7. Take Classes Teaching Real World Skills

Now, there are classes that teach skills and knowledge related to your potential future career. And there are other classes, that teach universal skills that will come in handy no matter what industry you work in. Some examples of such include psychology, principles of oral and written communication, critical thinking, leadership, foreign languages, business plan development, and others. You may not think that they are relevant for you right now, but again, they broaden your horizons and can help you no matter what kind of career you decide to pursue.

8. Join a College Team

Many colleges have intramural teams dedicated to various sports. These are an excellent way to get some exercise, meet some new people who share your interests, and find a useful way to fill up some of your free time.

College is more than just studying or having a good time. It is about meeting new people, having new experiences, trying out new things, finding your way in life, learning what interests and excites you. Do not miss the opportunity to use this period of your life to the fullest. Follow these tips, and you will be able to get more than you expected out of these years.

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