Since I’m graduating next week, I’ve been thinking about the things I’ve learned, both inside and outside of classes, since I’ve started attending USF. I was also thinking about how much easier some things would have been had I known about them ahead of time. So, here’s the list:
Join Social Groups
I didn’t join AMA (American Marketing Association) until the beginning of my last semester. I had a great time with this group, and also met a lot of awesome people while gaining a lot of experience. When I joined ZERO (dance club in Japan), I had a great time and improved my language skills.
There are a lot of groups for common interest on campus, and you can meet a lot of great people. There are also tons of professional clubs (such as AMA) for all the different majors. These are a particularly good idea because you can expand your network in your future field.
Of course, don’t forget sororities and fraternities. The traditional style ones still prevail, but there’s an emergence of co-ed fraternities lately. I wish I had checked these out when I first got to college.
Choose your group members wisely. Try to find people who have the same goals in mind concerning the project (for example, make sure everyone in the group wants the same grade you do). Also, find people who are willing to meet you outside of class.
Establish a leader. It might seem unnecessary to choose someone, but if there’s a conflict later on, or work needs to be divided up, it’s good to have someone responsible to give the final word. Also, this will designate someone to put the final document together and do any last minute formatting (but please, have everyone do their own spell/grammar check).
Don’t be afraid to do things the way they work for you. If you need to work by yourself, and get distracted easily working in a group setting, tell your group. Say that you work better without distractions, and that you would like to set a meeting time to go over what you’ve come up with. While this isn’t possible all the time, it does make your overall schedule better.
The on-campus off-campus debate is never ending. As a freshman, and even a sophomore, it might be more convenient to live on-campus. There’s more access to social events, and it’s easier to meet people.
However, I prefer off campus living; particularly for upperclassmen. This allows you to keep your own schedule for studying and partying as you like. And, you don’t have to move in and out throughout the year.
The most important thing as a student is to balance getting work done with having fun. It’s important to do both, or you’ll burn yourself out one way or the other.
Do it. Period. This is the best opportunity you’re going to have to live abroad without actually working (as a career). Take out the loan or the extra semester, or both, and go where you want to go. The lessons you’ll learn abroad are priceless. Plus, the experiences look great on a resume later on.
When you’re abroad, don’t just hang out with other people from the US (or whatever country you’re from). Get involved in the local culture. Join groups you’re interested in, and try stuff that is typical of the local culture (food, entertainment, clothes, etc).
Get a part-time job, and stick with it. When you start looking for a job, it’ll look great that you stayed with the same company for years. Or even if you had two jobs the entire time you were in college. It’ll show future companies that you are able to commit, and that you have experience in the working-world. And, it won’t hurt to have some extra cash in your pocket. (^_~)