It’s very common to hear people say that college is/will be the most amazing time of your life. Although clichéd, this reminder is absolutely true. If you are a high school student reading this and are currently feeling feel excluded, overwhelmed, unhappy, or a range of other emotions, just know that the best years of your life are ahead of you!
It’s also very common to hear people say that you are very fortunate if you can afford to go to college and this is also absolutely true. It is important, then to make the most of your college experience. Below, I’ve put together a list of things I have learned this year that might help you through your college experience.
I think it’s very important to remember that I neither want or expect you to treat this advice like gospel. Your college experience will be yours alone and you have the autonomy to shape it however you want. Good luck!
1) Assess the pedagogy of your classes and build individual study systems for the different classes. The lessons you draw at college will vary from class to class. In some classes, say Spanish, it will be important to just memorize certain things. That doesn’t mean, however, that you have to resort to rote learning to memorize the material. Make note cards, write stories, or use color coding! In other classes, your professors will help you by providing some study guides- take advantage of them but don’t make them your only guide!
2) Your writing can always be improved. Writing is an essential skill that many people unfortunately have trouble with. Even if you’re on the other end of that spectrum and are blessed with excellent writing skills, just know that your professors, mentors and even your peers will always be able to help you improve it. Embrace the constructive criticism they provide and learn from it.
3) Go out of your comfort zone and take classes outside of your prospective major. College is an epistemological experience in and of itself! You will better learn to critically assess the world around you and see things from marginalized perspectives. Therefore, don’t confine yourself to just chemistry/ theater/ creative writing courses. Take a GWS course, a course in environmental studies, or an economics class. Of course you will come across things you may not agree with and that’s perfect! You should be challenged to defend what you believe in. To me, that’s one of the most important things you can get out of college!
1) Take advantage of our Career Center!!! The Career Center at Hollins is one of our biggest assets. You should see Ashley Glenn with whatever questions you have regarding your future goals. She and her team are absolutely awesome with helping you find internships, volunteer opportunities, and jobs.
2) Taking advantage of the CC entails attending and learning from the C3 Conference and vying for J-Term internships. How many other schools give students a chance to make so many awesome connections as first years? Both the C3 Conference and the competitive internships give Hollins students a huge advantage when applying for summer jobs and internships.
3) Have an idea of what you want to do after college and work towards that goal. If you want to go into the workforce, for example, doing internships and learning basic office etiquette skills will be invaluable. If you want to go into grad school, try your best to get involved in undergraduate research. I know it may sound daunting but seek help and get a step ahead of the rest of the crowd!
1) You won’t click with everyone. And that’s fine. This doesn’t mean, however, that the first impressions you have of the people around you define them or their personality. If someone rubs you the wrong way, there might be half a million reasons why; there’s nothing inherently wrong with you or them. Try to make friends but be genuine. As the saying goes, “to make friends, you have to first be one.”
2) Hollins is unique in the number of female role models you’ll be surrounded by. Befriend the people you look up to. College is very unlike high school in that there are few demarcations among the different class years. You’ll often take classes with upperclass(wo)men and of course interact with them in sports and clubs. You should reach out to these ladies (in an organic way) and let them guide you in your endeavors.
3) Have fun! I started this blog writing about the awesome time you’ll have at college. To make the most of your college experience, you have to attend concerts and parties, visit nearby schools, and go out with friends when you’re invited. These venues let the most natural friend-making happen!
Make sure to have a great summer before you start college! My summer is going awesome so far. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me at HaidariH@Hollins.edu or add me on Facebook!