Veronica Leon graduated from Hofstra University with a double major in English and Communications. She is currently employed by Verizon Wireless and continues to write and publish poetry. In her spare time, she reads a great deal of classic novels and comic books and enjoys watching pro wrestling and football with friends. She hopes to one day teach creative writing at a college level.
You come back to your dorm after a day full of midterms, caffeine shakes and study guides. Homework is done. Dorm is clean (well, clean enough) and your next assignment isn’t due for another week. Your roommate is out partying with the sorority she’s trying to get into (she’ll be back later tonight with a hot guy and a hot mess) and you’re looking forward to a night in. These were often my nights freshman year at Hofstra University. It wasn’t until my sophomore year, a few bad breakups, and a roommate change, that I realized that I had not made the most of my time here.
Once I had graduated high school, I, like so many others, drew a tiny little box around myself. “This is what I know. if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But in reality, I was pigeonholing myself. My parents and I worked hard to pay for my college tuition, and simply getting up and going to class wasn’t going to give me the best college experience. Sophomore year, I joined a writers group that met on Thursday nights, not knowing a single person in that group. The anxieties of starting something new with people I didn’t know occasionally had me wanting to go straight to my dorm after classes ended on Thursdays. But ultimately I found that I regretted not going more often than I regretted going. A lot more. In fact, I couldn’t name a single night I went and said “I wish I had stayed in tonight.”
Five years later, and a few more bad breakups (change is hard), the people I met at this group are still a large part of my life. Two of the members even got married. Now, not every group you join could have your potential soul mate. But if there is no group around you that shares your interests, make your own! There never would have been a writers group if one student didn’t decide that he wanted to share his poetry with his friends, and vice versa. I even took another faction under my belt and joined a group filled with pro wrestling fans that met on Monday nights (trust me, there’s a group for everything). You can start a group of people who reenact the Civil War wearing Harry Potter costumes, I can guarantee there are at least a few other people who would love to do the same thing.
But you won’t find those people in your dorm, under your bed. College isn’t getting cheaper and despite what some people say, there are a few things money can buy. But it is one hundred percent up to you to get your money’s worth. Have you always wanted to learn how to belly dance? Go for it. World of Warcraft fan? I bet someone else is shacked up in their room doing exactly what you’re doing. The thing you remember the most is not the papers, tests, or that time you stayed in and watched “The Wizard of Oz” by yourself, but the time you saw it with your film club and Mike got a popcorn stuck up his nose (true story). Don’t ever be disappointed about not liking an activity or club. After all, college is just as much about discovering what you don’t like as much as what you do.