As we near the end of October and hit the mid-point of the semester, now’s a good time for you to reflect on your first year in college and make sure that you’re still on track for your goals.
By now you’re probably feeling comfortable in your new surroundings and with all the new friends you’ve met. But it’s important not to get too comfortable. As we’ve mentioned before, although four years may seem like all the time in the world, believe it or not, you’ll be donning your cap and gown before you know it. So it’s a good idea to take time every few months to make sure you’re making the most of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Here’s a list of some things you might want to consider as we head toward the holidays:
- Even if you’re sure of your major, keep researching your school’s other academic programs to see if there’s anything else you might want to explore.
- Research your school’s academic support resources — tutoring services, mentoring opportunities, etc. — to make sure you’re taking full advantage of everything available to you.
- Visit your office of Student Life and keep up-to-date on all the activities going on around campus.
- Review your major’s requirements and make sure you’re meeting them.
- Get to know one of your favorite professors a little better and start developing a mentoring relationship with him/her; it could be extremely valuable throughout your college career.
- Explore your college’s town and learn about all it has to offer, i.e., coffee shops, weekly markets, spots to get away from it all whenever you need a break, etc.
- Visit your Career Center and ask them what you should be doing now in order to be preparing for your career—it’s never too early!
- Approach and upperclass student or your R.A. and ask them for advice, i.e., what they would do different if they could be a freshman again. Tap the wisdom of your elders!
- If you haven’t already done so, go to a football game or basketball game or any other sporting event. It’s a great way to show your school spirit (and it can be a lot of fun, too!).
- Volunteer in your local community. Again, check with Student Affairs to see if they can recommend any opportunities.
- College offers more learning opportunities than just in the classroom. Take in a lecture or attend a cultural event, even if it’s not a class requirement.
- Reach out and meet someone new. You may feel comfy with the group of friends you’re hanging out with now, but don’t limit yourself. Introduce yourself to someone new and expand your horizons.
- Take some time to write down some goals for the next four years. Just make sure they’re S.M.A.R.T.— Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Realistic. Timely.
- Start planning for your sophomore year. Look into what courses you need for your major. Declare your major, if you’re ready and you haven’t done so already. Set a meeting with your advisor to make sure you’re staying ahead of the game.
College is a lot of fun (and well it should be). Just don’t forget what you’re there for. Take some time every few months to see where you are and make sure you’re staying on track to meet your goals. That way you’ll make the most of this incredible experience!
Note: Even if you’re an upperclass student, it’s good to take time every once in a while to make sure you’re still working toward your goals and taking advantage of this important phase of your life!