Ten things I wish I knew when I was a freshman.

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Ten things I wish I knew when I was a freshman.

This is a guest post by our campus ambassador Alyssa Markowitz from Simmons College.

When I started college, I heard a lot of different things from many different people. But I didn’t have an older sibling or a close friend who was at the time a senior in college. I braved it out on my own and learned for myself. But now as I complete my senior year in college and I look back on the last four years wondering would I have done anything different. And the truth is I would. So here are the top ten things I wish that a senior had told me when I was a freshman.

1. Get Involved

It took me until my senior year to become involved in organizations and I love it. I wish I had more time and had explored more options. I attend a small school but even if you go to a big school you’ll thank yourself for joining at least one club or organization!

2. Work on Campus

I have had an on-campus job for three years in the Office of Undergraduate Admission and it’s fantastic! They work with your school schedule, you don’t have to travel to a place between classes and you build great skills that you’ll be able to use after college. So even if you take a job that’s only a couple of hours a week it’s totally worth it!

3. Go to Events

Events on campus are probably the biggest thing I regret not going to. Although some of them might seem lame, the secret to events is that there is ALWAYS free stuff there. Whether it be free food, a pen or a grab bag of items go to get the stuff and you can always leave. But who knows you may enjoy it!

4. Network, Network, Network

This is something I wish I had learned two years sooner. Networking is probably the most important skill you will take away from college. When there is a networking event offered at your school, go because it is always worth your while. And I know social networking is big right now but to get a job it is always advantageous to get in some old school networking!

5. Explore Your Interests

This might seem like an obvious one but it’s important that you make sure to try everything you might think you’d ever want to do. This doesn’t even specifically mean academically either. For example, I have always loved to sing and my school has both a choir and an a-capella group and I am so mad I missed my window of opportunity to join either.

6. Take at least 1 fun class a semester

This is for your sanity. If you take a semester full of work heavy, hard classes you will go insane and chances are you will end up doing poorly. It’s always good to incorporate a lighter class into your schedule.

7. Make it a point to know your professors

Even if you go to a big school it is always good to know your professors. If your professors connect with you or at least know your name and face they are more likely to help you when you need it. Whether you are struggling in the course or your need a recommendation for graduate school or a job they will be open to helping you out if you take the time to know them.

8. Look Ahead

Although as a freshman or a sophomore it may seem like you have a ton of time until graduation, it’s not true it’s much sooner than you think. Remember back to high school, how fast those four years flew by, well it’s the same amount of time and the older you get the faster time passes. So plan ahead, whether it be the classes you are going to take, the jobs you plan to have or your plans for after graduation. I really wish someone had explained this to me.

9. Get Internships, Early and Often

I know this is echoing the Intern Queen herself but I truly do belief this. Because the more work experience you have the better off you will be after graduation. Additionally it will give you a chance to see what you like about certain work environments and what you don’t like. Internships are just another part of your education so take advantage of them while you can!

10.     Have Fun

Now I know this is not a hard concept for most college students, but it’s important that you make time for all of the things I mentioned and balance it with the fun. Going to college is about getting an education but it’s important to remember that all of the learning doesn’t happen in the classroom!