Use it before you lose it: senior advice to younger students
April 30, 2018
With the school year coming to an end, seniors are reflecting on the years passed. They have provided insightful, relatable advice for younger students.
Some find that their daily routine was uneventful, consisting of going to class, studying, eating and sleeping. Looking back, they lament on the wasted goldmine of opportunity, activity and engagement that this campus provides.
If you’re a freshman, sophomore, or junior feeling this way, then know that you still have plenty of time. You can still make your college experience here memorable if you use your time wisely.
Your first days of college, you may recall, were stressful. Some students found their friend groups in their dorms or activities, and others stayed with their high school groups.
A common truth is that many students have a habit of sticking with that initial group throughout their college years.
While this can be a comforting sentiment, it’s all too easy to become entrenched in the friend group bubble and ignore campus activities and potential friendships outside of that group.
“When I came in freshman year, I was rooming with my high school buddies, and that was my social circle,” said Jay Laxman, senior in LAS. “In hindsight, I feel like it would’ve been better if I had went out earlier, joined different clubs and had met new people.”
Engaging with students in your classes and major is a good idea. It’s nice to have a shoulder to lean on during the week of a tough exam or when a professor sends a confusing email.
“Even after you finish freshman year, meeting new people doesn’t have to get harder,” said Amir Hakim, senior in LAS. “You can meet people in your classes and especially in your major. Don’t be afraid. You’ll be thankful that you became friends when you sign up for the same classes later on in the semester.”
Quad Day is a lively introduction to the school year. It’s quite the spectacle, mimicking the splendor of an eastern bazaar with a thousand stands scattered across the quad, advertising their RSOs for a multitude of hobbies and interests you never knew existed.
However, the sheer quantity of clubs there can be intimidating. Quad Day is an important tool both to discover new clubs and to meet new people, and students often waste Quad Day exploring aimlessly without planning beforehand.
“Quad day is too much at once. There are a ton of great options, but bide your time and only look for what actually interests you. If you just wander around looking for any club that perks your interests, you’re probably going to be sweaty and exhausted before you get through a dozen,” Hakim said.
RSOs can be a great way to meet new people as well. However, students often fail to recognize that and miss the opportunity to meet people with the same interests.
If you’re going to participate in a recreational activity, like watching a movie, reading a book or playing a popular video game, try finding a club or activity associated with it.
“Don’t sit around in your room doing nothing. If you want to play video games, go out and play video games with someone else,” Laxman said.
Remember, campus activity extends far beyond RSOs.
“Go see a show at Krannert, visit the Japanese Gardens, try yoga, get out of your comfort zone,” said Gabby Lisse, senior in LAS. “There’s so much, I can keep listing them off. I usually sit here at the Union because they always have some event going on. I also learn about campus events through the fliers.”
Even though our campus’ excessive variety can cloud your vision, if you put in the time to meet new people and find enjoyable activities, you will not regret it.
Get out of your comfort zone, try a new restaurant, volunteer, sleep on the quad, talk to a random person, find something to protest and look for things that will shape your college experience to be holistic and fulfilling.
You never know what you’ll find.