By Christina Bui, 2012 OCA Intern for APIASF
Let me start off by saying that the college I’m currently attending was not one I voluntarily chose; however, due to financial circumstances, I ended up here. I did not have the “typical” freshman experience, given that I live at home and commute to school every day. The advice given here is a combination of stories from friends and my own previous experience living in a dorm for a separate program.
Get involved with student organizations on campus and in the community. It’s a great way to meet new people and make friends! It is something I regret not doing during my freshman year. I made up for it the following year by joining the Asian American Student Union, Fair Trade Student Association, STAND, Hawaii Club and Soran Dance. Those are only a small selection of the 200+ student organizations on my campus; other larger schools offer even more variety.
Go to different events on campus. Even at my relatively “small” school, there are a multitude of events held every day – with some giving out free food! You’ll always learn something, whether it’s at a cultural show or a political lecture. This should be easy for those who live on-campus. If I can do it (and keep in mind that I live 35 minutes away), then you can too! Make the effort to talk to someone you wouldn’t normally talk to. College is about breaking out of your comfort zone. In my case, I think I would’ve had a more enjoyable freshman year had I not confined myself to spending time mostly with friends from my Japanese class. And who knows – that person could turn out to be your next best friend!
Get to know your roommate(s) and floormates. Cliques and groups form fast and quite frankly, it sucks being the person who doesn’t know anyone. If you have any issues with your roommate(s), it is better to work out a solution rather than acting hostile or passive-aggressively towards them. Issues not dealt with immediately would continue to swell until they blow up and damage your relationship.
Unless you’re in a relatively small and interactive class, chances are you won’t be able to befriend fellow classmates as easily. With that said, befriend at least one classmate in every one of your classes. Talk to them and get to know them – it’s worth the effort, especially if you have questions concerning an upcoming assignment or test.
Introduce yourself to your professor and get to know him/her. My favorite professor stemmed from my enjoyment of his U.S. history class and regretfully, I never visited his office or kept in touch with him. Don’t be like me – if your professors seem interesting or if you’re struggling in class, don’t hesitate to drop by during their office hours (if they have any). It makes you stand out from the rest of your peers, which is especially advantageous if you need a letter of recommendation from your professor.
And finally, make the most of your experience. Even if you don’t like your college, find one aspect that you do like or enjoy and invest yourself. Break down your boundaries and relax!