The transition can be scary. New people, new classes, new curriculums, new housing, new everything! Not only that, but it is a very important time in your life where you spend quite a bit of time discovering independence. A new you…are you ready? Yes, you are! And SRA is behind you 100%!
I’m hoping we can give you a few tips today on ways of discovering who you are during your college years, and how to make the best out of your experience. I encourage all of you to give your feedback as well! Although not always easy, entering this new phase of your life can be so rewarding and so exciting. As a freshman, you will have endless opportunities to explore who you are, what you want out of your career, what is most important to you, and ultimately about creating YOU.
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself”
-George Bernard Shaw
1/ Use your professors: Professors are a wealth of knowledge. I am a huge advocate of picking their brains and getting their perspective on anything and everything. My professors taught me a lot, not only in the classroom, but also outside of it. I made friends with several, would go out to eat with them, and learned so much about their own journeys in discovering what they were passionate about. Use their office hours, get to know them, and let them get to know you. This could lead to a variety of opportunities as well. Many professors will hire students to help them in different research projects, take students abroad with them, help with internships, and advocate for students when they need it. I had a very influential professor who helped me realize I had a passion for social justice. He took several of us on trips to the east coast to bring awareness about an issue we felt strongly about. He also continued to be a great resource for me as I entered graduate school.
2/Leave room for mistakes: For many of you, it will be your first time away from everyone you know, on your own, in a new environment. You will have a hiccup here and there, and they are okay! You are growing up, learning from those mistakes, and improving who you are with every passing day. Reflect on how to make the situation better next time, find a different approach, and keeping moving forward.
3/Join clubs on campus: Get involved on campus! It’s a great way to meet new people, get different perspectives on different issues, and learn about other things going on in your community. Join cultural clubs on campus to find others with similar interests to you and learn more about your background. Community service groups are a great way to get out and involved in projects that give back. Run for leadership positions in these groups as well. Give yourself a chance to speak up on issues that are important to you and set an example for others.
4/ Say Thank You: Use every opportunity you get to network! You never know who will be of help to you in the future. Write thank you notes to your professors at the end of the year. Send emails to individuals you meet along your path who may have given a speech at your school, or come as a guest lecturer to a class, to thank them. Be nice and say thank you to your classmates! Say thank you to the family you tutor for, or maybe it’s a thank you to the organization you volunteer with. Every person is an opportunity to bring together a group of people who can serve as references, job referrals, employers, etc. for you as you move forward.
These are just a few ideas! Ideas/tips/reflections are so very welcome! We want to hear from you! And students, if you have questions, use this as a place to dialogue with others about your thoughts and concerns.
You can do it!