So You Made It to College: Now What?

You did it; you made it all the way through school, and now the time in your life that always seemed so distant is here. Time to start college! Well, you’re here, so now what?

Chris Blattman, an assistant professor of political science and international and public affairs at Columbia University advises undergraduates to “get a well-rounded education and enjoy yourself.”

How do you take his advice? As a person who has been there, done that, I have five bits of advice for you based on Blattman’s list and my own experiences to help you get the most out of college.

  1. Learn skills. Learn as much as you can while you’re here. Take classes that will give you skills that are valuable in the real world, such as technology classes and writing classes. The bigger your tool belt, the better the job you will be able to find.
  2. Pick your teachers’ brains. Yes, the course is important, but a lot of times your professors know more than the textbook. Learn everything you can from them. They’ve been through it all, too, and might have some helpful pointers and advice for you.
  3. Start big and then narrow down. If you don’t know what you want to study yet, don’t sweat it! Take a wide variety of classes and see what you like.
  4. Take small classes. Small classes will get you close and personal with classmates and professors. This will be helpful as you need letters of recommendation when applying for jobs and internships. Build a relationship with your professors now so they can help you later. And having friends in class will help you build study groups and enjoy the lecture experience more.
  5. Take fun classes. College is serious and busy, but don’t let that stop you from having fun. Explore new hobbies or develop your passions by taking classes just for fun. Your stress level will be reduced, and you will have fond memories of those classes.

Above all, just do your best. As long as you are doing your best to succeed and utilizing all the resources that you have while in college, you will be well on your way to success.

—Aimee Hancock, College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences



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