I am on an infinite journey creating my life and I am wearing many hats along the way. My calling came to me in a dream during my 10th grade math class. I was an avid class sleeper back then. Before my class nap I had no idea that I wanted to be an English/Creative Writing teacher. College was the most important part of my journey for my professional career and my personal life. During my college career I was able to study abroad five times for very little cost to myself, I was involved in many different activities and became an activist for my campus and community. I am currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in International Education and a certificate in Food and Nutritional Education. I am a teacher at Grace King High School in Metairie, Louisiana and teach English Language Arts to English Language Learners. I intend on continuing to impact youth and adults alike through education and activism.
High school is an awkward time in life. As a student, transitioning from middle school, experiencing puberty, and feeling the pressure to decide what you want to be doing for the rest of your life, you will probably be relieved to finally be graduating. You may feel like you have it all figured out once you’re done with high school, and that’s a great feeling to have. You may enroll in post-secondary education program or go straight to work. However, you may not know that the person you were in high school may not be anything like the person you will be after attending a 4-year college or university. A whole different you; kind of scary isn’t it?
You see, college isn’t just about expensive text books, spending all night studying for exams and partying all weekend. It’s about YOU! Colleges do not only prepare you for a career, but they prepare you to truly find yourself. You and your family may have discussed your career plans, or maybe you have talked about your future with friends; it’s possible that you have decided to follow a passion you’ve had since you were young; which are all solid plans for life, but you may also find that maybe your goals are not aligning with some of the aspirations you set for yourself in college once you actually start to attend. That is one of the most beautiful things about attending college. Your experience will be very different from what you imagined in high school, and for most college students that is the best part!
College is fun! And I don’t mean party every night fun. I mean fun in the most fulfilling way possible. You will be constantly learning new things about the world and yourself. Here is how you can take advantage of your college experience to develop yourself:
1. Explore and Be Open minded!
Step out of your comfort zone. There are so many things to see and do during your college career. If you played sports in high school and want to continue, great! Explore other extra-curricular activities as well! Even if you never played a sport, now’s the time to try it out at the intermural level. Join a martial arts club; take a capoeira class, try slack-lining or yoga between classes. Find out what you like by taking classes or joining student led organizations that may peak your interests. You can take an Anthropology class about Food, Gender, and Culture or perform a play with a theatre troupe or cos-play and learn to make your own costumes while you’re at it. Become a model for the art students, or take an art class yourself! Watch a debate, join a protest, plan a flash mob; heck, go study abroad in another country for a month to six-months, even a year! The possibilities for you to do something different from what you normally do, or participate in an activity you always wanted to try are endless. Find out what you like and take advantage of being able to access it for free (Not including your cost of attendance, that is).
2. Be curious!
Learn as much as possible, and seek out information and opportunities. College is not like high school where everyone seems to be separated into specific groups like: athletes cheer leaders, Band members, etc. You can literally be a part of any group you want no matter what level of experience or knowledge you have. However, you must be curious enough to find your niche. Ask questions, find out how you can find or become an active student on your college campus. You don’t have to be popular, but the more people you know; the better. You have to network. If you ask good questions on how to find certain resources you will reap the benefits and may bump into new life-long friends, mentors, and even scholarships or funding along the way.
3. Meet New People:
There are so many people who come from all over the world to attend certain colleges and universities. It is likely, even if you go to school in your home state, that you will meet people from many different backgrounds. Take this time to learn about them: their major, their passions, their mission, their culture. Even if the person is from your home town, take the time to find out who they are and what they are doing. You may find yourself inspired by them, and may learn something new about yourself just by speaking to different people. Don’t worry; these people won’t replace your friends from high school. They are just new friends who will add to your support group and help you succeed throughout your college career when your other friends are not so close by. You may also come across a whole lot of college funding just by talking to the right people, so don’t forget to network with your peers, professors, counselors and administrators as well.
College will push you and make you uncomfortable in so many magnificent ways. It is a time of learning and discovery about yourself and the part you play in the world. Four years is a very short time and you have to make sure you take advantage of as much as possible. The more you involve yourself in, the more memorable your experience will be. And trust me, once you graduate from college and look back at all the things you thought were cool in high school… You will laugh, and feel so proud of how you have grown, all that you have learned and what you have accomplished.