By Matthew Liptak
I’ve had the privilege and struggle of attending five schools, before I was granted my Bachelor of Arts. I learned a lot in those years, and here are a few things, whether you’re starting out or well on your way in your college career, you might want to take to heart.
Studies come first
College isn’t just about academics, it’s also about growing as a person. College has a lot to offer and you should enjoy it. But when it comes down to brass tacks, you’re there to hit the books. It’s your job to learn about the field you have chosen so you can, hopefully, get a good career started in it when you come out of college. There are a lot of distractions in college — beer, babes and other b words I’m sure. Job No. 1, though, is learning. If you don’t pass those tests, do that homework, read those chapters, you’re not going to graduate. You’re not going to have your stuff together and be ready for the world when you get out. Make sure your priorities are straight.
There’s usually a ton of opportunity to get involved in cool stuff on campus, whether it’s clubs, sports, seminars or outings. Try them! You can make some great friends through clubs where you have a shared interest. If there’s something you are interested in that you think might interest others, be brave, and start a club yourself. College friends might turn into life-long relationships. Campus is a community that you are an important part of. It needs you to make a difference to sustain itself. There’s really nothing like the experience of college life. You are learning to make your own choices. You have the intellect of the world at your fingertips. Make the most of it!
If you don’t get involved, you can start to get, and feel, isolated. College is a tough place to be if you don’t have people you’re connected too. Books aren’t very good company when you need somebody to kick back with.
Get help when you Need it
(and you’ll need it!)
College offers a lot, but it expects a lot, too. There’ll be new relationships with professors, fellow students, roommates. As a growing adult you’re just learning to navigate your way through adult relationships. You’re learning to navigate your way through pages and pages of academic material. You’re learning about yourself and what you want for your future. None of this is necessarily easy. Whether it’s academics, relationships or your internal life, there will be times when you’re not up to the challenge by yourself. That’s why there are tutors available. That’s why there are counselors and pastoral care available. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them when you think you need some help. Don’t be too proud or shy to reach out for help. Nobody expects you to have all the answers.
The college years might be some of the best days of your life. A successful college career means keeping your focus on the bottom line — academics — but it’s also about learning as a young adult how to forge a balance between work and play, between your own relationship with yourself, and the one you have with others. If you work hard, and give yourself room to grow in the campus environment, you’ll come out in a few years with more knowledge about yourself, your field, and be ready to change the world!