By Fiona Wilcox
Chair, Teens Take Charge Advisory Council
Sorry, dear readers, for the radio silence—I’ve just moved back home from my first year of college! I haven’t even unpacked everything and I already look forward to going back. With roughly nine months of hindsight, my retrospective is this:
You might walk onto campus with no idea what you’re doing. You might have no clue what you’re going to major in or even what classes you want to take in the fall. That’s okay. You might know exactly what it is you want to do with the next four years of your life and that’s great too. Either way, you will learn so much, not only about academics, but about yourself and the world around you. I can promise you that even after a year, your perspectives and goals will change, in big ways and in small. The beliefs, goals, and plans for the future that I left with are different than the ones I came in with, as is the case for many of my friends.
The biggest thing that I learned this year was to be open. Be open to change. Be open to new friends, new experiences, and finding a new home. You will exit your first year of college a different you than you are now. Be ready, and let it happen. This openness, I think, is a key to my other big insight, which is that no matter how uncertain you are about something, just jump in. You can choose to go head or feet first, but either way, to really experience college, you have to jump all in. Don’t waste time being afraid. Outcomes are rarely as terrible as you may initially think, and anyway, even if you don’t win, you learn.
Join something you’re interested in—clubs and activities, sports, Greek life. Take a class you’re a little unsure about. Attend anything that is offered to you for free. Get to know the people in your residence hall, in your classes, within your major. Find people with whom you can power through a study session, talk for hours, or have random dance parties at 10 pm. You have a finite amount of time in, and there is so much to get involved with and do, so squeeze everything out of this that you can.
If you just graduated high school, a big congratulations to you! Everyone: enjoy your summer. Stay tuned for more insights on accessibility, success in your classes, and residence life—a new year will be here before you know it!
Have you read our Fact Sheet on College? Click here to read it!