How to Learn More from Your University Experience
No matter what anyone tells you - remember that college is the real world.
During this exciting last stage of your academic career, you’re given the opportunity to explore multiple areas of interests, hone your knowledge of a specific study, and discover more about yourself and the world. However, in order to make the most out of these moments, you need to know where to start!
This is how to learn more from your university experience and take advantage of your time there:
Collaborate and engage with other students and professors
Don’t confine yourself to hanging out with the same group of friends every day. Diversify the people you interact with like foreign exchange students, attend student groups, and even hang out with your professors during office hours. Who knows, your professor might end up being the coolest and most inspiring person you ever meet during your academic career (and maybe, even life). The perspectives of other people promote introspection within yourself which deepens your capacity for understanding others and putting yourselves in their shoes.
Don’t let the freedom that university brings consume you
University is a defining moment in your life because for once you’re in full control of your schedule. Stay out late, wake up later, eat ice cream for breakfast – the choice is yours! Despite this freedom, it doesn’t hurt to remember that the choices you make now vastly influence the life you’re going to live in the future. Over indulgence in “extracurricular” activities tend to lead to missed classes, failed tests, and dangerous shortcuts to success. Many students think that they can overcome these roadblocks by cheating, outsourced essay programs, or even study drugs. Even though you can do whatever you want, whenever you want, don’t forget that you’re in school to learn – and most major lessons occur outside the classroom!
Take up internships and apprenticeships
Aside from a part-time job, take up a paid internship in conjunction with it or seek an apprenticeship under a professional in your field of study. Internships and apprenticeships get your foot through the door and give you a real taste of what a career is like in your major.
Make the effort to learn about your major and the world outside the classroom
Learning doesn’t stop once you leave the classroom. Fully immerse yourself in this world: you can never get enough knowledge about complex social issues, how your major can impact society, and why educating yourself matters in the first place.
Take the classes you’re curious about
Besides your main area of study, explore additional subjects that peak your curiosity. College gives you the opportunity to explore all your areas of interests - in fact, they encourage you to do so! Getting to know yourself is an exciting process and you never know what may end up being a newfound passion.
Party and socialize wisely
Parties and get-togethers are always going to be a part of the college experience - but that doesn’t mean you need to attend each one you hear about or accept every invitation. Although fun, you must be responsible when attending one. Considering that drugs and alcohol are commonly present at them, you need to make the right choices when offered them. Not drinking can be cool, and you don’t need to smoke marijuana with others to feel included.
Consider studying abroad
Nothing compares to the experience of learning about a different culture than actually living and studying in their country. During a study abroad program, you deepen respect and understanding for other cultures and expand your mind to what feels like an entirely different world. Additionally, you can learn a new language!
Involve yourself with campus events
Yes, those campus events ultimately lure you with the promise of free food and things - but they’re more than just that! They give you the opportunity to socialize with other students, educate you about a quick topic or issue, and invite you to come join a cause. Otherwise, campus events can simply be a fun time you look back on.
Prioritize your well-being
There will be moments in college where everything becomes overwhelming and exhausting. During them, it’s crucial that you take care of both your physical and mental well-being. Tackle stress with healthy coping mechanisms, such as taking time in solitude or dedicating time to a hobby, instead of turning to harmful behaviors and habits. In general, eat healthy and exercise, too!
You determine how rewarding and fulfilling university can be by your own efforts and actions. Don’t be afraid to dive into the college experience and absorb as much as you can from your areas of study, community events, or through the interactions and conversations with other students and professors. You’re never given the same opportunity anywhere else in your academic or professional career to explore so many things at once.
At the end of the day, there’s more to life and college than textbooks, essays, and deadlines, you just have to find out what that means in your own terms.
This is a collaborative article with Trevor McDonald.