Alexia is currently a first-year student pursuing Electrical Engineering at a 4-year university in Ohio. She has a passion for helping others and trying new things! She loves learning random skills from how to cook new dishes to card tricks, and sees every moment as a learning experience.
I’ve been told that it’s easy to spot freshman on college campuses because they rarely ever do anything alone. In dining halls they eat in big groups and they even walk in big groups around campus, if possible. When I asked some of my friends why, they said: “I’m scared to try things alone. It feels so awkward.” And to that I say, “So what?” If you want to make the most of your college campus experience, here’s my advice: do things alone!
Now, before you say anything, I’m not telling you to avoid the friends you already have, ignore their texts, and go do everything yourself. Hanging out with friends is a great stress reliever and makes college life more enjoyable, especially if (okay, when) all-nighters happen. I’m just emphasizing the importance of not letting fear prevent you from trying out and going to things that you want to. No one wants to leave college saying, “I wish I would have done…”. So here’s a little advice from a freshman in college determined to experience as much as possible.
Go to events that interest you, even if your friends don’t go. Why? Because aside from getting an education, college is about exploring yourself! If you want to join a club or social fraternity/sorority, do it! Always want to study abroad? Go for it! Personally, I love languages and cultures. So, when I came to college, I joined a lot of culture clubs, such as the Korean Student Association and the United Black Student Association, and went to a lot of events, like Lunar New Year and Holi Festival. As an African-American female, I guarantee that I definitely did not always blend in. Sometimes I was the only one who looked or acted like me. But I went because I wanted to, and I always ended up having so much fun! Exploring your interests and opportunities as soon as you get to college helps you decide where you want to go in the future, especially if you are an undecided major. So, try something new. And guess what? You might just convince others to do the same! It’s strange doing things alone sometimes, especially when friends tease you or discourage you from going. My friends always say, “You’re so weird!” But after a little while of watching me, some of my friends started coming with me or trying things they told me they were scared to try/do by themselves.
Even if you arrive alone, you’ll almost certainly leave with friends. Walking into a room where you know absolutely no one can be scary! But trust me, people don’t bite. Most people are very friendly, and will happily have a random conversation with you. Some of my most interesting conversations have occurred when I started a conversation with a person sitting next to me at a club meeting or standing in front of me in the dining halls. Even if you never see them again you’ll at least have a friendly face at the event, and possibly someone to sit with and talk to, which always makes new experiences less awkward and more fun! I also realized a crazy thing: When you start going to events that interest you, you often start to see some of the same people over and over. After a while, you bond, realizing that they are interested in what you’re interested in! One cool thing about “doing you” is that you meet people with the similar interests, people you would have never met if you’d never stepped out of your comfort zone!
So do it afraid. You never know what will happen.