Everyone learns a lot during their first few years of college. It is a time of exploration and gaining new experiences. Being a Junior, I sometimes look back at my Freshman self and wonder if things could have been different. I wonder what my college career would look like if I knew all of the things I know now. I’m not saying I made a lot of bad choices as a freshman, but I know that if I had the knowledge I have now, I could have improved my professional development and made college more enjoyable overall. As a part of my role as a peer educator, I want people to hear some things that I wish I knew when I first came into college.
One of the biggest mistakes I made coming into college was the decision to decide on a major right away before actually researching it and making sure it was what I wanted to do. I was unsure of what I wanted to do when I first came to college, but I thought that I had to choose a major right away. I decided to follow in my brother’s footsteps and study Exercise Science. I quickly learned you should never decide on a major because of what your siblings or parents did. Everyone is different, and we all have different interests and skills. I quickly realized where I had made my mistake. I didn’t feel right in the classes, and I was struggling to keep up with the material because I had no interest in it. If you are a Freshman and are undecided on a major, do not rush. You have plenty of time to figure out what interests you and where your skills lie. If you try to quickly declare a major for the wrong reasons, you will be disappointed. If you are having trouble finding a major that interests you, try coming to Career and Internship Services. You can set up a 1 on 1 meeting with one of our counselors and discuss different options that would suit you. You can also take different career assessments, such as the Strong Interest Inventory, StrengthsQuest, or the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which can help you identify your individual interests, strengths, and personality.
As a freshman I was constantly told, “Get Involved!” This could mean joining clubs or organizations, getting an on-campus job, or simply being more active on-campus. As a freshman I only joined one organization, which was a fraternity. I got out of it exactly what I wanted: new friends, volunteering and leadership experience, and a large network of other students and faculty. Looking back at it now, I gained so much from joining this one organization, and sometimes I wonder how much more I could have gotten if I had joined more than one organization. Being involved not only looks good on your resume, but it is a great way to meet people who have similar interests as you. If you are having trouble meeting new people, then joining a club or organization could be the best way to overcome this issue. Another benefit to getting involved is that you may be exposed to different leadership positions within the organization. This could mean being the Treasurer, Secretary, or even President of any particular club. Taking on these leadership roles looks great on your resume, and they can help you learn new skills to help you continue your professional development.
The last piece of advice I would give to anyone who is coming into college would be to try and make as many new friends as you can your Freshman year. Many people meet a friend on their first day of college and tend to stick with that person because they do not know anyone else. I recommend you try to meet as many people as you can because you never know who you might meet. And it makes the campus feel a lot smaller when you can walk through the halls and recognize a few faces. So don’t be afraid to start a conversation with someone in your class, or introduce yourself to everyone on your dorm floor.
There are a lot of things that I wish I had known when I was a freshman, and I would have benefitted greatly if I had been able to read this blog post when I was first coming into college. Your freshman year is a time to try new things and meet new people, so do not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and gain some new experiences. I promise that you will thank yourself when you reach your senior year and you have no regrets about your freshman year.
Of Possible Interest:
- Building Your Resume (all of our blog posts about this topic)
- It’s Okay to be Undeclared or Undecided
- The Katy Perry Guide to Picking Your Major
- Choosing a Major (all of our blog posts about this topic)
Photo source: Unsplash|Greg Rakozy