Don't just stick to what you know

By Masaki Sugimoto

College is the time to try new things.

That is a phrase you will hear plenty of times throughout college, especially during your freshman year. It can become a bit repetitive. Despite that, if you keep that mindset through college, you can discover so much about yourself.

Between classes, hanging out, social clubs, etc., college can be a blur and time flies by. There is so much that not only the University, but Champaign-Urbana can offer you.

Starting with Quad Day, a slew of opportunities will present themselves to you. Every single club on campus is going to want you to join their organization.

From the dozens of clubs you will learn about and the fliers they hand out, you might only actually join one or two. These can end up catering to your own interests. You may join Best Buddies after having been a member in high school, or joinTae Kwon Do at UIUC because you trained in it growing up.

While joining these clubs is great and you can continue a lot of the activities you used to do, they also don’t expose you to newer things. The new kind of freedom and independence that college affords you is what will lead you to finding yourself.

Without constant parent supervision and the ability to make your own schedule, you will find that you have a lot of control on what you do. Take advantage of this freedom by trying the things that interest you.

If you ever had an inkling that it might be worth experiencing, do it. If you really loved playing Super Smash Bros. growing up, maybe look into joining the Competitive Super Smash Bros Club to try your hand at playing on a higher level. Maybe you always wanted to skydive and see what it’s like — there’s a Registered Student Organization for that, too.

Of course, clubs are not the only way you can experience new things in college.

Maybe you have never thought about going to a campus bar or drinking tea at a Japanese cultural house, but the University offers you that opportunity. This is the prime time to try these things.

Off campus, there are things like the Roger Ebert Film Festival or the many restaurants downtown that can open your eyes to a whole new world.

Nobody likes every new thing they try. But knowing what you don’t like is a part of the self-discovery you can undergo in college. In addition, you may find out you had a hidden passion for something you were never exposed to back home.

Please don’t be that senior who is a few weeks away from their graduation thinking, “I wish I had tried that.”

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