The start of a new school year means so many different things.
New billing statement for tuition, new online searches for cheap textbooks, new clothes, new friends, new classes, and new professors.
The experience can be a little overwhelming for most, but there are some things you can remember as you embark on this new journey. While you are mulling over the following words of wisdom, remember that college is what you make it and what it makes for you. It is a symbiotic relationship; one cannot thrive without the other.
You might be shy. You might not want to speak up in class or think anything you have to say is worth contributing. First, actually do your homework and the readings (it is more fun when you actually know what is going on, surprisingly).
Not only does raising your hand and offering your thoughts on something give your professor an opportunity to see where you stand on things, but it gives your peers an insight into who you really are. It helps others not to judge you on superficial things like what your water bottle design is. Keep in mind that not everybody in your class is going to like you, but they sure should have the opportunity to respect you as an individual.
Stewart Spears ‘15, an English major, reflects, “Don’t try to impress your peers, impress your professors. Professors see through all freshmen bull and will respect you for growing up. So will the peers who are worth your time.”
The most crucial thing, as I have said before, is that your college experience is what you make it.
Are you simply picking classes to just get your credits and get your degree? Do you want to take a class that makes it worthwhile to attend? Is this class an asset to your studies? Does this class challenge you?
Jessica Kaufman ‘15, an English major, suggests more consideration when it comes to your course load.
“Keep an open mind. Pick classes that challenge you because they are the ones you will remember forever. If a class is easy, it’s also boring most of the time,” she said.
Coincidentally, college is a place where you can figure out what it is that really drives you and impassions you, and certain classes can open up whole new perspectives for you and your career path.
Alex Daubert ‘16 MBA, a Crummer student, says to think outside the box.
“Push yourself outside of your comfort zone. Try something new. Meet someone new. Experience something new and discover who you are,” he said.
If you feel like you are simply attending a class, sitting alone eating a snack, not sure what to say at a club meeting, and are just going through the motions, just remember that attending college is like being given a whole new lease on life. You can be anybody you want to be and nobody has any preconceived notions.
Notable alumni Janis Hirsch ‘72, who was a Theater major and has written for several famous television shows, shares, “Everyone feels as alone and terrified as you do. So remember, you don’t have to make a best friend for life today, you just have to find someone to sit next to at dinner.”
Most importantly, your time is valuable. Do not assume that the deadline on the syllabus is too far away to take seriously. Life happens, and working ahead is working smarter.
It is very easy to get distracted and off track, and there is no worse feeling than trying to type up an 11 page paper the night prior to the due date. Not only is the work you turn in slightly embarrassing, but you also have this overwhelming guilt knowing that you could have started that paper when you went on that extreme Netflix binge a couple of weeks ago.
Relish that you are definitely not in high school anymore, even though there will be instances where you meet people that are still stuck in that tragic mentality. Welcome to a place that will stoke your creativity, educational pursuits, and inspire you to be more involved with your community.