If you go around colleges and ask students how they feel about college, you will get a variety of responses. However, what I think differentiates those who love college and those who may not favor it too much, is how involved they are with their campus. In high school, you are required to attend rallies, go to classes, and participate in class discussions. In college, all of that changes. You get to plan your own class schedule, decide whether you want to attend school events, and suddenly have all this free time that you didn’t have in high school.
Personally, I participate in clubs, lived at the dorms for two years, and even worked on campus. Because of all this, I love my experience at CSU Long Beach. My friends, especially those who commute to school, don’t feel as strongly because all they do is go to class and then go home. I know it can be tempting use your free time to sit on the couch, eat ice cream, and watch mindless television shows for hours on end, but you will be happier and your future will thank you if you just get involved. College has so much to offer, and it is up to you to get the most out of your time there. So look into what clubs interest you (most campuses have a welcome week where you can look around at the different programs and clubs on campus), join an intermural sports team, build relationships with those around you, and finally, go to class! After all, you are going to spend the next 4 years of your life there, so you might as well enjoy it!
One of the most fun and best learning experiences I had in college was moving out and living on my own in the dorms. At most colleges or universities, freshmen are required to live on campus at least their first year. Now that I work in higher education with college students I see the importance more so than I did back when I was in college.
Living in the residence halls allows you to meet new people and become more independent. Your parents and teachers aren’t there to wake you up for class or make you do your homework. It’s all on you now. There is a great sense of pride and responsibility when you experience it. I would definitely urge anyone going off to college to live on campus at least their first year. I’d also encourage you to live near or around your campus as well if you can because it makes your college experience all the more worthwhile! Don’t be afraid, you’ll love it! I guarantee it!
As a freshman, going into college is new and exciting. You are bound to get lost on a campus as huge as CSULB, you buy all your textbooks before the first day of class, and you pay attention to all your teachers. I have learned a lot since then and here are some of them:
- Wait until after the first week to buy your textbooks. Your teachers don’t expect you to have it anyways and some teachers don’t even require that you have one.
- Get to explore your campus because then you learn shortcuts on getting to your classes.
- Make at least one friend in your classes; you never know when you’ll need their notes.
- Get advising done at least once a year to make sure you are on track!
- Don’t ever lose the passion and excitement for school. College will be one of the greatest times of your life!