As a senior graduating in less than ten days, I’d like to shed a few words of unconventional wisdom. I’m sure you have been told to push yourself outside of your comfort zone, keep an open mind, get involved in extra curriculars and to work hard, so I’ll steer away from writing about these. Although these are definitely important things to consider when entering college, I’ll try to hit on other advice that you probably haven’t heard as much.
1. There’s a difference between knowing and understanding
You may have been used to memorizing facts for a final test in high-school, but in college it’s important to shift your mindset to what I call being an inquisitive learner. You pay quite a lot of money for your classes, which means that you pay for every class that you skip and every class you daydream through. Once you actually put effort into learning a subject, you might find it to be more interesting than you previously thought. One of my favorite classes turned out to be a renaissance art history class – a subject that I thought would be a waste for my major. I also highly recommend reaching out to your professors; most of them have terminal degrees in their fields and are more than willing to work with you to get a higher grade. Also, most importantly, have fun with it! Your passions are waiting in the courses you take.
2. Start thinking about your career early, but never stress about it
Draft a resume early, and dive into internships as soon as you can. It’s important to start this early so you can network as much as possible. Believe it or not, professors have so many connections and almost all of them are extremely willing to help their students find jobs. Take advantage of your amazing teachers and mentors that are right in front of you. I’ve personally been able to call a few of my professors’ friends and they’ve had a huge impact on my life and my future. It’s also hugely important to be mindful when you’re searching for internships and jobs so you don’t stress. Stress is something that has lots of negatives, but you can avoid that by having fun with your job search. Know that greatness will always follow you as long as you’re calm, and have a little optimism.
3. Cut the carbs
Health is one of the BIGGEST determinants of a great college experience. It’s imperative that you watch the quality of foods that you eat. JMU dining has some amazing options for food, but there are also some indulgent choices as well. It’s important to go to the gym and watch your sugar intake to avoid the freshman 15. In my time here I saw myself become healthier than I ever expected, and that’s because I took advantage of UREC and watched what I ate. Health is paramount for a great time in college.
College will fly by, but getting in the habit of starting each day with the attitude of “What can I learn today, and how can I improve?” will guarantee the start of a lifetime of success. Have fun, go outside, meet new people, make memories, improve yourself daily and, most importantly, learn!
A Soon-To-Be Graduate