For the first time in a long time, I feel very content and like I’m exactly where I need to be. Since transferring to a university where I knew no one and finding my way, I’ve acquired a lot of knowledge on how to navigate starting fresh at a college and how to maximize your college experiences.
As some of you may know, I’m originally from Houston, Texas, but currently live in Iowa attending Iowa State University (one time for Hilton Magic). I transferred here in the spring of my sophomore year, diving into a student body of 35,000 not knowing a single person.
This is my 3rd semester and if you ask me I’m not doing too shabby. I have solid friendships with people I feel comfortable around. In addition, I got a position on the Student Union Board as a co-director for Multicultural Awareness and I am on the social media committee for the Global Business Club.
Since it’s the beginning of a brand new semester, there is no better time to share my tips and tricks on how to make the most out of your collegiate years.
1. If you’re living off campus in an apartment or house, pay your rent for the entire semester upfront so you have one less thing to worry about every month.
2. Look at the list of all the clubs your university offers (or attend Club Fest) and go to the first few meetings of the ones that interest you, then slowly weed them out to find which ones you really want to get involved in. Don’t be afraid of going to meetings alone!
3. Become friends with people who live near the bars, so you have a place you can comfortably crash after a long night.
4. Make extra cash or dining center gift cards by participating in paid research studies and quick surveys. They send information about these to you through your student email.
5. Meet with your advisor at least once a semester to make sure you’re on track and to help you explore different opportunities regarding your education.
6. Download Yik Yak on your smart phone and engage in the yaks posted by your fellow student body. It makes you feel a sense of unity without having to leave your bed.
7. Make at least one buddy in each of your classes so you have someone to complete assignments with or get notes from if you miss class.
8. Instead of working off campus, work on campus as a research/lab assistant. You never work weekends, the hours are incredibly flexible, you’ll rarely work past 5 and the pay is way over minimum wage.
The research job I have pays $11 an hour! Your student job board will have a ton of options in all areas so you’re bound to find one that relates to your major.
9. Explore different cafes, dining centers, food trucks/joints that are on your campus.
10. Attend different events that your schools’ student activity center and student union board offer such as open mic night, comedy night, cinema night, etc. All of them are usually free!
At my university we have equipment rental (media and sports), writing centers, financial advising, and more!
12. Apply to be on a student board or council. You meet so many awesome highly motivated people and get to have a say in events that occur at your school. Plus, you get to go to events for free!
13. Once you start taking major specific classes with lectures that aren’t too big, befriend your teacher so you can have them as a mentor and reference when you apply for jobs.
14. Take a course completely out of your major, but still interests you. It’s an easy way to make friends with people who aren’t in your major.
15. Once you’re done with class for the day, stay on campus and get everything done regarding your classes so when you get home you can just chill.
Whether you’re new to a campus or not, I hope to utilize some of these tips to make your rest of your time in college kick ass, so when you look back you can honestly say that these were your best years.
Thanks for reading and stay hungry to learn, create and grow!