Ellen graduated with a degree in English from Loyola University Chicago in 2011. She is currently living and teaching English in Seoul, Korea, and is enjoying seeing the world. In her free time she loves to run, travel, write, paint, and eat tacos.
College is a short, amazing four years of self discovery and exploration. You’re surrounded by what will become life long friends, professors who are excellent at their craft, and a world of possibility. At the same time, you’re still shielded from the harsh reality of the real world, but have all the tools at your disposal to explore it. College is truly a magical time, and it’s important to learn as much as you can; not only in the classroom, but within yourself as well.
Take a lot of different classes
So many students start freshman year declaring one major, but that is often not the major that they graduate with. You’re going to go through a lot of changes and take up new interests, or even rediscover old ones. That’s why it’s important to take a wide range of classes that you’re interested in, and to keep an open mind. There are a lot of required classes that you’ll have to get through in the beginning, but whenever you have room for an extra elective, seize it. Even if you don’t know much about a subject, it is such an incredible opportunity to learn from professors who are passionate and expertly informed. If you find that you don’t share that passion and interest, then you’re just that much closer to discovering what you truly do love, and all the while becoming more well-rounded and informed.
Take your education outside of the classroom
You will gain so much knowledge inside of the classroom, but it’s important not to disregard the education and experiences you can gain outside of the classroom. Whether you’re going to school close to home or far away, there is so much to explore in the surrounding communities of your school. Take time on the weekends to have stimulating new experiences; whether it be checking out museums or going to a concert or poetry slam. Your experiences will mold who you are and influence your interests in ways you never thought possible.
Participate in extra-curriculars
Extra-curriculars are the best. It’s an easy way to meet people, and college is one of the few places where you’ll have the opportunity to participate in such a diverse array of them. There’s sports, clubs, discussion groups, and even study groups. I got involved in some extra-curriculars that I didn’t neccesarily think I would be interested in, but ended up sticking with them throughout the four years. It’s so fun and invigorating to try new things and meet new people while doing it. You discover things about yourself without even realizing it.
College is a unique environment that allows you to meet many new people from different walks of life, take classes with experts in their field, explore new places, and most importanly, have a lot of fun. You won’t get the opportunity to fully immerse yourself in self discovery and education like you will in college. Be open to new experiences and enjoy yourself, it will be over before you know it.