Tips for college freshmen

Victor Arumemi is originally from Maryland. Now residing in New York, pursuing a career in the arts, including acting and writing. He recently co-starred in the popular webseries, “Quarter Century: NY” and has been writing and performing spoken word for over 12 years, appearing as a featured performer and host at dozens of events at colleges, churches, coffeehouses and everything in between. He has self-published two chapbooks, featuring selected works of his poetry and he recently independently released his first spoken word album. With faith, he continues to go after his dreams, hoping for the best with each new day.

After going through four years of high school and preparing to enter the new frontier that was college, I took many lessons with me. College for many others and myself is a chance to reinvent yourself and shed the ill-fitting and immature scales of adolescence for your first taste of the storied, “real world.” It’s where you will largely be shaped into who you will be as an adult.

One thing that I told myself to do once I started my new journey was to get more involved. I had many different interests and passions in high school but because I was worried about fitting in and how others might perceive me, I did myself a disservice by subduing those desires and denied myself many opportunities in the process.

If there is ever a time in life to get involved, it’s while you’re in college. During my time at my university, I would always hear so many people complain about how our school was “dry” and boring, and how there was never anything to do. And guess who those offended parties were? Students that made little to no effort to be active in the multitude of campus organizations that existed and were seldom seen at the myriad of events and activities that our school offered on an almost daily basis. One cannot justifiably complain about a lack of something that they make no effort to shift or change.

During my time in college, I had the privilege of serving as the Chapter President of my fraternity, I frequently performed on campus in addition to hosting various events at my school and others in the area and I served as a Resident Assistant among other things. Suffice it to say, I was very involved in campus life.

The benefits of being actively involved on your college campus are manyfold. Firstly, you challenge yourself to step outside of your comfort zone. It’s often been said that if you continue to do the same thing, you will get the same results. So breaking familiar cycles and habits by trying new things is a great way to expose yourself to the world around you and expand your perspective. One of the greatest benefits of being involved is meeting new people. Starting college can be a scary experience, even if you have the benefit of attending an in state school, where you may see familiar faces, many people find themselves in a completely new environment where for the first time in their lives they’re coming across individuals who don’t look or sound like them and/or who have had different life experiences.

Participating in events on campus is a great way to make new friends because most people are in the same boat. They’re away from home for the first time and everyone is in need of new and healthy connections, as they navigate the unfamiliar landscape that is an institution of higher learning. My closest friends to this day are the people I met in college through various channels. Our pursuit of an education was the foundation that connected us. Lastly, getting yourself involved at your school is a great way to learn new things. Of course, much of the learning that you do will be in the classroom and relative to the degree that you’re pursuing but some of the greatest lessons you will gain during your time in college are earned while you engage others. Many colleges offer discussion series, variety shows/open mics and even student led dance troupes. Is there an underdeveloped skill that you’ve always wanted to give more attention to? Or do you have an interest in an extracurricular activity that you never had the time or the opportunity to pursue when you were in high school? College is the place to fulfill many of those desires, while affording yourself the opportunity to gain from the varying experiences of others and helping to shape the world around you.

I wouldn’t have many of the skills and insights that I have today, if I had just breezed through college, letting four years pass by, solely focusing on my books and myself.

Do yourself a favor and get involved!

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