College may be some of the most exciting years of your life. You're on your own for the first time, you're taking classes of your choice, and you have the opportunity to meet new people. With so many new opportunities, college can be a little overwhelming. However, taking advantage of academic, social and career resources can help maximize your time in college.
Explore Your Interests
You may enter college with a declared major, but that doesn't mean you have to focus all of your efforts on one subject. Make use of your elective allotment and explore classes that sound interesting. You never know, you might change your major or find something you're passionate enough about to minor in. If you're entering school without a declared major, use your general education classes to think about courses that you would never consider otherwise.
Use Academic Resources
Your professors have likely spent many years in their field and have a wealth of knowledge to share. Get to know them. Take advantage of their office hours, special lectures they give on campus and books they have written. You will also have access to some of the best academic resources available online and in your college libraries. Your school will also have academic resource specialists and tutors if you have any difficulties with classes or material. Make sure to ask for help before you really need it.
Engage in Social Activities
Whether you live on campus or commute to class each day, finding your place in the school community is an important part of the college experience. There will be a wealth of organizations and community service projects for your interests. Joining an organization will help you to make friends with like-minded students and develop a network of support both during and after college. If you live on campus, it will be important to engage in activities with your dorm mates to develop a feeling of home. If you are a commuter, participating in sporting events, guest lectures and other activities can help you make friends and feel a part of the community.
Use Career Planning Services
Colleges generally have a career services center that can help you write a resume, gain interviews with companies that match your interests and coach you through the job application process. Using the services provided, which may include databases of jobs, can help to make your job search process as your prepare to leave college significantly easier. Your professors may also have leads for work in your particular field and may be able to write letters of recommendation for both employment and graduate school.
Based in Los Angeles, Jana Sosnowski holds Master of Science in educational psychology and instructional technology, She has spent the past 11 years in education, primarily in the secondary classroom teaching English and journalism. Sosnowski has also worked as a curriculum writer for a math remediation program. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in print journalism from the University of Southern California.