To freshmen: make the most out of college years

Crowds+gather+on+the+main+quad+to+enjoy+the+weather+during+Mom%27s+Weekend+on+April+6%2C+2019.+

Madeline Pierce

Crowds gather on the main quad to enjoy the weather during Mom's Weekend on April 6, 2019.

By Noah Nelson, Senior Columnist

Has anyone ever told you to make the most of any experience? Did you listen and follow directions? Nowadays, life feels like it’s flying by as fast as a NASCAR driver. Before you know it, August will arrive and students return to school.

For most college students across the country, especially at Illinois, they all cannot wait to arrive back on campus for yet another year in higher education. For incoming college freshmen, you all are probably feeling countless mixed feelings right now and don’t know what to do.

Fear not. There are so many tips, tricks and guidelines that will help you succeed at college. Though they all might help in some way or another, here’s a helpful tip for a fun and memorable college experience: Make the most out of it.

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt said it best: “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

College can be overwhelming, exciting, life changing and so many other feelings. Students aren’t at college for very long so it’s up to you how to write your own college story. 

First and foremost, in order to make the most out of college, try everything! Try out for clubs or sports you’ve always wanted to join. Sample all types of food from various nationalities. Visit places on campus you’ve never thought you’d go, like the Main Stacks in the library or the Japan House. If you don’t try anything new at college, then you’re missing out. 

You can also test your interests with your classes. General education requirements are great for this because you can choose from a wide range of courses to take. Try something out of the ordinary that you get a needed credit for, like art, American history or zoology. Who knows, you may just find your next major or minor that way.

While you’re trying out everything you want, meet as many people as you can along the way! Become friends with people in your classes, clubs, organizations and even your professors. You never know if they will become your best friend or will help you with something you need somewhere down the line.

As you will no doubt be busy with your classes, extracurricular activities and friends, you may find yourself more tired than normal. Don’t fall victim to the coveted nap. It may sound great now, but the more you nap at school, the more time you will waste not making the most out of college. 

If you continually push off your opportunities rather than seize them, you never know what might ruin the chance to do it later. Unfortunately, for many students, it was COVID-19 that ruined their chance to try a club they’ve been wanting to or study abroad.

My fellow incoming freshmen, if you’re worried about college or have so many questions, don’t worry. You can read any book you want about college or talk to as many people as you would like. Those sources are great, but hear me out. Making the most out of your college experience will be one of the best decisions you will ever make. 

Four years go by fast. You don’t want to graduate having not experienced anything new or making any memories. You want to leave college with great stories to tell your kids one day. In all reality, college is what you make of it, so why not make the most of it while you’re there.

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