No matter what you’ve heard, college is going to be one of the most unforgettable four-plus years of your life. During this time, you will experience a significant amount of freedom and academic challenges that you probably never had in your high school years. Getting a four-year or more college program will also prepare you for some of the most promising careers after graduation. To make the most of it, here are some of the things you can do.
Pursue your passion
Hopefully, by the time you enter college, you already know what you like. Problem is, that’s not always the case. An average person changes careers at least six times in his life, so it’s quite normal to change to another college program in the middle of a course. College is the right time for you to ‘find yourself’ and you have all the opportunities with which to do so.
Strive to do something you’ve always wanted to do. Sometimes, you have a clear idea what it is, but oftentimes your mind is still a blank slate and plans for the future may be vague. Regardless, a four-year college program will expose you to what you want to do. If it doesn’t, then your overall college experience will. Once you find that one thing you want to pursue as a lifelong passion, you’re on your way.
Get a minor or earn a double major
A four-year + college program will take a while to finish and with all the new environment and academic challenges you will be encountering, it’s not unusual for you to want to take on an additional course or field of study. If you can handle it, college is the best time for you to expand your knowledge and learn more.
If you’re taking a computer degree, why not add a math degree on the side? Or if you’re a Literature major, why not take on a foreign language course as well? You not only expand your horizons, you also earn valuable skills that will be an employability asset later on.
Use your time wisely.
Time is an investment and a necessary currency in a four-year college program, so you should learn how to use it to your advantage. Not every class you take needs extra effort on your part. Concentrate the best of your skills on the classes that are truly important to your learning and your credits. For classes that are low on your priority, you don’t always have to give it your all.
That is not to say, though that you should slack off, since there’s a huge danger your grades will suffer and that won’t look good on your academic records. However, paying attention to classes that truly matter will save you time and you can use that extra time doing valuable research, interviews and further studies.
To do this, learn to compartmentalize effort within an allotted time. Determine how much time it will take to finish an assignment and then strive to complete it within the designated period. Say for example, you need 15 hours to finish a 10-page research on comparative literature of two Asian countries, you can divide this time period into smaller units you will spend doing everything necessary to finish your paper: from the research and outlining to the writing and editing. If you can work within the allotted time, you will avoid wasting too much unreasonable effort.
Develop relationships and join clubs
A four-year-course program doesn’t always take four years to finish. Sometimes it can extend to five, six or even seven years. Make the most out of your college program by establishing relationships with professionals who will be able to help you progress in your studies. People like your professors and academic counselors can help you focus on progressing in your work. And, they can even give you much-needed advice in case you want to take up further studies and an after-college career.
Extend your views beyond the classroom
Learning may be had in the campus, but that’s just for academics. Know what is out there as well. Do volunteer work related to your field of study or enroll for internships. Summer breaks don’t need to be boring or decadent – you can actually spend them to take on extra courses or study abroad.
These activities will give you a taste of what your professional life will be like and let you experience a post-graduate career without actually committing yourself to anything. And there is also that added appeal to future employers when they find these targeted academic moves on your resume.