In my fifth, and final, year of college at Bowling Green State University! President of the BG American Marketing Association, Founder/ President of the BGSU Club Golf Team, Member of the Professional Business Fraternity Delta Sigma Pi, and Student Ambassador for The Coca-Cola Company. I major in marketing/ minor in entrepreneurship and have completed three internships. In July I will be moving to Ann Arbor to start my first post-grad position with Thomson Reuters. My philosophy on college is to try out as many different things as possible (getting involved with organizations, meeting new people, traveling when able, etc.) and always stay busy!
College. What an experience. You’re dropped off in a new place, with new people, a completely new environment. You’re given an endless amount of resources to better yourself personally, professionally, and socially… it’s incredible.
But where do you start?
As a fifth year student (currently on my victory lap), I feel as though I have an excellent grasp on college life. I’ve struggled with the all-nighters, the awkward encounters, the “broke college kid” problems… and on the other hand, I’ve met people I’ll never forget, made best friends over a 10 minute conversation, sat in on lectures from some of the most inspiring professors in the country, and joined organizations where I had the opportunity to lead and succeed.
But this didn’t happen over night.
As you might of guessed from the title, I recognize the fact that some people start their college experience with relatively no friends… and honestly, you’re LUCKY. Whether you have some friends or no friends, college is the time to find yourself and start fresh with a relatively “clean slate.”
Where did I “find” myself?
As a transfer student, to a new college, with a new major, I had very few friends when I began taking classes at the start of the fall semester. Luckily for me, I took advantage of my universities student organization fair where I heard an endless amount of times from the different representatives of different clubs and what not that the first step to feeling like you belong to a university is to immerse yourself into student involvement. For me, that meant finding new friends that share an interest in a specific area… which led me to asking people if they could point me to the nearest “friend”… in my case “friend” means area of interest. So I wound up talking with a few organizations that were in the College of Business. Makes sense, seeing as though I’m a business nerd majoring in marketing.
Breaking out of my “comfort zone”
So, all right, I join an organization or two and then go to the meetings, talk with members, have a blast, live an awesome college life! Not that easy. So yes, you have committed in your head that you will join whichever student organization you feel you’ll like the most and can help you succeed… or at least help you have a great college experience. Awesome. Now the next step might be easy for people who are extroverts and thrive in social environments, but that’s not everyone. If you’re like me, I was terrified to go to that first meeting! Luckily, I got over it and attended their info session and the craziest thing happened…. everyone in the organization was wildly friendly and everyone that was “testing the waters”, like me, was just as nervous as I was entering this uncharted territory.
After this experience I had a realization. College isn’t a place for fitting in immediately. You’re going to have to “test the waters” a thousand different times where you feel extremely uncomfortable. But guess what… so is every student at your university. Everyone is going through the same thing as you. This opportunity to mingle with different groups that either share the same interests as you, or share interests you might be interested in, may only come while you’re in college. I’m not saying you wont be able to do this in the “real world,” but I certainly am saying that it wont be as easy and you wont have all these groups within such a small community with as easy access.
So get out there, meet new people, break out of your comfort zone, get involved with great organizations, live the college life, and make as many memories as possible. Many people don’t get the opportunity to experience college, so those that do better take advantage of it.