3 Things Every College Student Should Do
by Sami Moss
‘Tis the season for all the pictures on my Facebook memories or Timehop app to be the ones from six years ago of a bright eyed, Florida girl moving into a tiny dorm room in the cornfields of Ohio. Those pictures make me misty-eyed every time, because in them I see long dinners in the cafeteria, giving tours across campus, meeting my sweet husband for the first time in the campus grill inside the Student Center and so much more.
It’s easy to dread the start of another school year. It’s easy to focus on the destination, to view college as the means to an end. But I promise your college experience can be about so much more than a piece of paper if you step outside your comfort zone:
1. Find a group of friends
I moved into a freshmen dorm with 16 other girls in August 2011 and I met my best friends. We did life together everyday: sharing clothes and yelling at the ones taking too long in the shower and curling each other’s hair before a first date. They were there in the bigger moments of those four years too, cheering me on when I thought belonging to the campus dance org was cool, bringing me chocolates after a break-up, dragging their mattresses into the common area for one last college sleepover the night before our graduation and standing up with me on my wedding day. And because of all that, we’re still doing life together.
Make the first friend move. Do the daily things together like walking to class and grabbing a quick lunch and running to Walmart for toothpaste and mascara. Share stories. Share memories. And hold on to those friendships.
2. Go to Class
I can’t believe I’m admitting this on a public forum that my parents could possibly stumble across, but you’d have been hard pressed to find me in class during my first semester of college. I was so overwhelmed and excited to be on my own in a new place that I just wanted to explore. When senior year found me taking 18.5 credits, working 4 jobs and planning a wedding, I was not too thrilled to look back on that first semester.
Do what you came to do. Go to class. Turn in your papers. Work hard on your group projects—even if no one else is. When you graduate on time it will be worth it.
3. Spend time with people who aren’t like you.
It’s easy to find yourself trapped in a bubble of people who think, act and do just like you when you go off to college. So make it a priority to get involved at a place with people older than you and younger than you. Find a church near campus. Make friends with a professor and their family and accept their dinner invitation. (You’ll want a home cooked meal sooner than you think.) Serve at a local charity in the community like a food bank or after-school tutoring location.
Like everything in life, college is what you make it. So go and do, whether you’re moving far away or commuting from home. Someday, you’ll be the one getting misty-eyed over all the incredible memories you made!