Going to college can be one of the toughest transitions to make in a lifetime. College takes us to a new place, with new people, and best of all “wink, wink” no parents. The undergraduate college experience is a new and wonderful venture that can only be lived once, but if it is done right once is all you need. So now you may ask, “How to do college the right way?” I am sorry to break the news, but there are not 5 simple steps to enjoying college or a 10 step program to doing college the right way. Don’t get me wrong there are definitely steps to studying and processes that will help one to become more productive, but the college experience is without a doubt quantified by the people you meet.
Many would disagree with the last statement of the first paragraph; however, the people that we meet in college create a lasting impressions within our lives. Now, I am not saying your course of study is not important and that you should spend all your time socializing. The main purpose of college is to educate, but remember people are the facilitators of the educational process. The walk through college is traveled through the great teachers, wonderful friends, and our unique perspectives.
Once you step foot on campus make it a priority to meet different types of people. The biggest mistake made is sticking to what is familiar. Familiarity is safe, but you must step outside of your comfort zone to truly grow. Being around the same types of people will not help you to gain a new perspective. We as people grow the most when placed in great discomfort. Seek out those uncomfortable situations and watch how much you grow in a short period of time.
Do not skate by. Take challenging electives that force you to think about the world. Learn about different religions and cultures. This is what colleges is all about. College is not a trade school that is why a degree program has such a broad scope of topics covered outside of the core subjects being studied. We are supposed to leave college well rounded with the understanding that there is more to the world than the cocoons we place ourselves in.
Malcolm Gladwell wrote in his book, Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, “Emotion is contagious.” Allow your emotions to take over. This is how you get the most out of your college experience. Challenge yourself to learn about people. Challenge yourself to learn about you. Meet different people, learn about the world and don't be afraid to make mistakes. You may not believe it, but the people you meet in college will be in your wedding, become your business partners and lifelong friends. Take the lessons these people teach and hold on to them. You never know the affect of just saying hi to the person sitting across from you in English 101. It could change your life forever.