By: Jason Adams
College is a time where you are finally in control of your responsibilities. You are liable for making it to your classes, and managing your time between studies and having a great time. There are several things I wish I knew before making this leap into being independent.
Colleges offer many activities and clubs to join, however they easily go unnoticed if you do not actively seek those opportunities. Whether your interests are sports, chess, weight-lifting, video games, or almost anything else you can think of, there is an organization that is right for you. Clubs that promote success in a particular major are also usually available. You also have the opportunity to begin new clubs if there is enough interest amongst students.
Fraternities and sororities are a popular choice among many students. A friend in a fraternity described his experience saying, “being in a fraternity such as my own gave me the opportunity to expand my horizon on friends, social, and charitable events.” However, others may find that Greek life can generally take most your time and that isn’t always what students trying to find a balance of school and extracurricular activities desire. If one of those students who wants to be involved, but doesn’t want something that will take up all of your time, there are other options. I found my niche in a business fraternity that doesn’t require as much effort as other fraternities, however, it still schedules activities such as attending professional sporting events, intramural tournaments, professional development speakers, and other events that help you both academically and socially. It was one of the best decisions I made throughout my first year of college. Phil Henry, CEO of Henry Wealth Management and speaker at my fraternity said, “I would rather hire a B student that participated in many school activities and was involved in his community than an A student that did nothing but stay home and study.”
Scheduling for classes can be a stressful time for each semester, and, as a freshman, availability is generally low. A useful tool many student’s use is the website “ratemyprofessors.com.” Rate My Professor allows you to search professor’s names and bring up their online profile, where other students review them and give their input based on helpfulness, clarity, and easiness of the course. While many universities have a great staff, there are always professors that go above and beyond what others do, and it’s important to find those people and get the most out of your education.
Finally, for those who still have more years at Eisenhower, I encourage you to take at least a few more difficult level courses. As tempting as it is to create the easiest schedule possible, as I was guilty of doing most the time, an honors level course or an AP class will not only teach you something you’re going to have to learn later for a college grade, but also possibly give you credit toward college, allowing you to graduate earlier or to have more free time, which you’re going to want more during college than you do now. I personally followed the Honors English course, which rewarded me with college credits, insight and advice about college thanks to Miss Howe, and it helped me to become overall a much better writer. In contrast, I did not take math very seriously, and I am paying for it in my college-level math courses I am required to take for my business degree.
I will leave you with this. As a roommate of mine said, “Don’t be scared to get out there and be social. No one likes a hermit crab, so be a dolphin and explore.”