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College is going to be one of your greatest adventures, so get ready to make the most of it. You are on your way to discovering a profoundly greater sense of self, subjects and causes you will care deeply about for a lifetime, the ability to manage your time and take care of yourself, a lifelong set of friends, and the extent to which you can fly outside your comfort zone.
You are on your way! Here are a few tips on how to maximize your college experience:
1. Take a basic academic class load your first semester. Use this time to find a routine where you can balance academic, social and extracurricular commitments, without damaging your grades.
2. Look at class and professor reviews on your student dashboard before signing up for core classes or electives. Make sure to take stimulating classes, not just the easy ones!
3. Take electives that have nothing to do with your major. Choose based on professor reviews, rather than on subject topics to gain new perspective and get inspired.
4. Find a dedicated study space. Your dorm room is not your best bet for this, because there is constant social activity around you. Pick a corner in a library, student lounge, the study room of an academic department that works for you best.
5. Hold on to your course materials. You may need them as reference materials when you take more advanced classes later in the year.
6. Clearly understand your credit requirements. Make this a priority, so you do not miss out on core class requirements that need to be fulfilled to graduate on time.
7. Develop relationships with professors. Is there a professor that has inspired your choice of major or career? Work with them on their research, or as a teaching assistant, or monopolize their office hours. Your professors can become your mentors and can be your future recommenders.
8. Don’t procrastinate. Are you a vampire or a happy morning person? Develop a productivity system that works best for you and stick to it. Procrastinating will just lead to unnecessary and totally avoidable anxiety and pressure.
9. Learn to speed read. You will be reading, on average, hundreds of pages a week. Find a tutor or online learning websites that can help you learn this nifty skill.
10. Get a job on campus, whether it is tutoring, as a teaching/research assistant, resident advisor or in the bookstore or library. This is your gateway to learning real world responsibility, and the extra pocket money doesn’t hurt.
11. Get an internship. There is no better way to discover the real world than to leave campus to explore it! Play with multiple internships in vastly different fields in your freshman and sophomore years. Narrow in on one robust internship in your junior and senior years in companies where you would like to land a job upon graduation.
12. Stay connected with alumni. Start volunteering at alumni events on campus. Don’t be a wallflower. Engage with alumni , ask them questions, and stay in touch with them. They can become your mentors, and guide you through critical life and career decisions.
13. Travel. Don’t just take every opportunity to go home. Take road trips with friends. Backpack solo through South America or Europe. Get friends to invite you to celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas with their families. Visit friends from home on their college campuses. The opportunities are endless!
14. Study abroad. If you can, study abroad for at least one semester, if not for a whole year. You get to immerse yourself in a new culture and country, and pick up a local language.
15. Attend lectures and seminars on campus. There will be a slew of academic, business and cultural stalwarts as guest speakers on your campus. Search your school’s calendar of events, and attend as many as possible.
16. Compete in international competitions. Do you love to ultimate Frisbee? Do you live all-night hackathons? Do you want to Model UN at The Hague? Organize and compete in international competitions.
17. Volunteer. Dabble in different activities your first semester till you find two to three causes and activities you really care about. Lead related clubs, programs and events.
18. Take advantage of your campus or city’s live music and performance scene as much as possible. Love U2, Maroon 5 or Beyonce? They are likely to be performing at some point in a stadium near you. That on-campus job can help you pay for your ticket!
19. Take care of your health. Between constant access to junk food and alcohol in college, it is really easy to put on weight. Join an intramural team, go to the gym, and moderate your consumption.
20. Be social. Party in good measure, make friends from many different countries, learn how to appreciate wine and make a great cocktail, explore your inner culture vulture.
Remember to keep an open mind! College is about self-discovery, exploring and accepting as many different ideas as possible, and push yourself outside your comfort zone. Make sure to engage in debate, classes, and activities that compel you to doubt all preconceptions and truths you hold dear, so that you either reinforce your beliefs or find newer, more informed perspectives. Fare forward, voyager!
ReachIvy sincerely hopes that this article serves as a critical tool to increase your knowledge base. For study abroad consultation or career counselling with ReachIvy, Submit a Query now! Also, review our resources section to access our free premium content.
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