- Category: Volume 86 (Fall 2014 - Spring 2015)
- Published: 10 September 2014
I still remember what it was like to step onto the campus of a "college" for the first time, the smell of freedom was stronger than ever, and I felt like the world was mine for the taking.
Now, looking back on that freshman, there are a few things I wish I could tell him. The first of which being, oh god why were you wearing that?! The second thing would be to take things a little more seriously. I don't mean, "don't have fun on weekends," rather, realize the time and opportunities you have in front of you and how fleeting they truly are. Here is what I think you need to do in order to take full advantage of college.
1. Get to know the campus
To be completely honest with you, I am not the type of person who walks into a situation and feels like they know what is going on. There is something beautiful about being lost, because that means at some point, you have to end up finding a way.
Getting to know the campus and what it's like to move from classroom to classroom, or knowing what it's like to walk across the arctic tundra that is Shadow Lawn in the dead of winter; is a vital part of college. Its moments like these where we have to remember what we heard as kids, "make sure you bundle up, it's cold outside!" We learn how to take care of ourselves and how to navigate the world around us.
2. Get to know the people
This is both a positive and negative experience. I have heard and actually have been guilty myself of saying the people of Monmouth are not the best sometimes. Realize this is the case any place you go.
Part of your challenge is to find the people that you can connect with and grow with during your time here. Yes, you will make mistakes. You will make enemies. That's all part of it, and that's something everyone has gone through. You will meet the best friends you have ever had, and share some of the most exciting memories with them. So yes, it's easy to say things like "everyone sucks," but finding the good in others and being open-minded will be some of your greatest assets to make it through. It also never hurts to smile!
3. Get to know you
This is probably the most important on this list, is the real reason you came to college. Let's put aside that degree ambition for a second and the super awesome job you're going to get after you walk across that stage.
Think about it. You are here because you want to see what you are made of. You want to have "the best four years of your life" and maybe do a little learning on the side. Most learning that you will use in life happens outside the classroom.
As someone who is applying for grad schools and has been heavily involved on campus, I can say that my skills in the classroom are nothing compared to my people skills gained through my extra-curricular experiences. This is a time for you to step outside of your comfort zone, to do things that you never thought you would do. It's moments like these where you learn who you are and you begin to become the person you were always meant to be.
Was I successful at seeing these three reasons, as I was first going through them? Of course not; we rarely are. Looking back at the good and the bad in college, I'm so thankful for it all. It brings you to where you are today, and who you are is wonderful.
Life after college still looks a little scary, but after taking advantage of all that Monmouth has to offer, I feel much better about the challenges and victories that lie ahead. After all, "Monmouth Hawks Fly Together" doesn't end after we graduate. So grab that backpack, open your door, and go explore.