How to Branch out Your First Week in College

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With the beginning of the school year well underway for most students, it is important to cement yourself into your passions and extracurriculars before you get carried away by the swarms of beginning-semester homework. But the beginning of the new year should be more than just jumping into anything just for the resume boost; it’s important to spread your time wisely into activities you know you’ll enjoy.            

“For me, I’ve found joy in being a part of student government. It has taught me so much about leadership that no class ever could…about the importance of approaching problems with curiosity and ‘meeting people where they are.’ Even though trying new things are really important, continuing with passions you love should be a priority too,” says Shawon Jackson, and sophomore at Princeton University.

Allowing pressure from other friends and students to do certain projects with them is a big no-no too. Anything that you spend time on should be meaningful, interesting, and a little daring. The beginning of the school year is a time to feel out the waters, meet new people, and try something you wouldn’t expect. Sitting like a bump on a log allowing your homework to consume you will set yourself up for boredom and laziness. Challenging yourself shouldn’t just be in academic interests, but also in sports and chatting up that stranger that lives at the end of the hall. Pushing your own boundaries isn’t just for timid freshmen. Being assertive usually rings true for many transfer students as well.

“I’ve found that especially with [transfer students] like myself, it’s crucial that you be open-minded to everything. You’re in a different situation that the year before, so take the opportunity to plant your seeds where you know they’ll grow, so to speak. I try to keep an attitude of being willing to try something new, no matter what it is, to make my college experience that much richer,” says Alex Vaio, a sophomore at Texas A&M University.

While it may seem daunting and a little risky to try and add even more to your already full plate, don’t let the weight of a busy academic career let you down. Sometimes jumping head-first into a situation you know very little about can help foster new interests you may not have known about before.

“I had done a few minimal leadership extracurriculars in high school, but I went out on a limb this year by running for dorm president as a rising sophomore…and I ran uncontested and won! It truly shows how something small can turn into a greater activity for you that brings you a lot of joy and responsibility,” says Maddie Gore, sophomore at the University of Notre Dame.

If these examples haven’t been evidence enough to prove the point, having a carpe diem attitude is one of the true keys of making your college experience as rich as possible. College is all about new things, and living the “YOLO” lifestyle is one way to spice it up as much as you can.



Sophomore > Journalism and Sociology > Notre Dame

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