Social life in college

My name is Jessica Fuentes, and I’m a Cuban girl who loves art and communication. I’m majoring in Journalism as a Transfer Student at Florida International University. I’d like to become a successful writer, and a film critic. I always try to “portrait” real people in my writings. That way I could solve real problems and give them a practical solution. Fiction is not for me, but dreams are.
When you start college for the first time, there is one abstract word that comes up to everyone’s mind: the unknown. Then you ask yourself how to face it, but at the very beginning you can’t get rid of subterfuges, simply those excuses that you make to evade the unknown. And the unknown could be different things. However, the biggest problem for many students is how to be accepted in a group with distinct cultural patterns. I must tell you that the process of encountering new perspectives, ideologies or races doesn’t need to be difficult if you have a positive attitude and respect for others. I myself come from a country with a completely different political system, and instead of creating ideological ties, I preferred to be open-minded and explore new opportunities. I dissented from orthodox doctrines in my former country, and I don’t agree with everybody’s opinion here or everything at a systemic level all the time, but for a student it’s very important to understand that nowadays we live in a nation where diversity is the key to democracy.
While in your first year of college, you’ll meet new people and expand your knowledge. So yes, everything looks new and unfamiliar. Then what to do if you don’t know much about people or about a subject matter? Here are five tips:
1- Don’t stay too quiet and communicate! The process of “breaking the ice” starts with a simple introduction. The first day of class is crucial for this because it gives you the opportunity to share who you are. Almost all the time, the professor asks the students’ names, nationalities, incentives, goals, majors… so, don’t miss the chance to express yourself! Communication always improves our social lives.
2- Participate in class! Forget about right or wrong answers. Your professor always wants you to use your dialectic thinking. Don’t feel the pressure of imagining yourself talking, and all eyes on you. That kind of visualization doesn’t mean that you are saying something incorrect. That’s just the way other people pay attention to you. When you give your opinion, you can receive either positive or negative criticism. Don’t feel down with the last one. It means that someone has different points of view which can lead to debate. Intellectual discussions are positive because then you know how other people think, and you can even learn from them.
3- Don’t be so self- reliant! Even when you are smart and don’t need too much help, others do. Use interactive tools like study groups. This way your classmates will appreciate your unconditional support, and also your learning process will be easier due to time management. Study groups are the perfect space to start making good friends
4- Attend social events in or out of college! Interacting with people out of the classroom makes communication flow better. Actually those moments are quintessential to know about other cultures and to exchange ideas.
5- Follow an ethical behavior! It’s all about respect. Don’t judge because of appearance, race or ideology. Remember college is a huge community where we all are placed within the diversity zone!

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