4 Things College Students Must Do Before Graduating

There are a million opportunities to try new things in college, which can become overwhelming if you’re ambitious and want to do it all. Taking advantage of the possibilities is sometimes the hardest part if you don’t know what is most important, or what will be most beneficial to you. But going into my last year of school, I’ve determined that each year you should strive to accomplish one new thing. You can rearrange these so they work for any level you’re at, but this is what I found to be the easiest way to get a wide range of experiences.

  • FRESHMAN YEAR – Sporting events: Coming from the perspective of a student at a Big Ten university, attending sporting events such as football and basketball games is a must. The atmosphere created by students at games will get your adrenaline pumping, and is a great learning experience to get a better understanding of the school. This is also the perfect time to start meeting new people. Some universities have assigned seating in the stadiums so you’re placed next to strangers! Sounds scary, but it is the easiest way to bond and make friendships. If your school doesn’t have assigned seating, take advantage of this by asking people living on your floor to come with you. Not every school has the benefit of sports for a big event, but each school is usually known for something–find out what that something is and become a part of it! You just may regret it, if not.
  • SOPHOMORE YEAR – Electives: A lot of students know exactly what they’re going to school for the day they arrive on campus; but this isn’t the case for everyone. Whether you do or don’t know your intended major, dabbling in a variety of electives is important. When scheduling classes take a look into departments you generally wouldn’t. Exploring electives that don’t necessarily pertain to your interests could be a good thing, as it could lead to discovering an interest in something completely new. Doing this sophomore year is still early enough to help those still undecided about a major, and can also lead to a drastic change of majors for those that thought they already knew what they wanted to do. Even a couple years before I started college I knew what I wanted to be–a journalist. I took journalism classes my first two years of college and still am continuing down that path, but last semester I decided to take a couple film classes for a change. I ended up falling in love with the subject and instantly saw myself doing something with film. This lead to me adding a documentary film specialization onto my major, which turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made in college.
  • JUNIOR YEAR – Study abroad: I know studying abroad isn’t offered at all schools, but strongly consider it if your school does. It doesn’t matter what you’re majoring in because programs are offered for everyone and are the best way to get an understanding of the global mechanics of your major. You earn college credit while sight-seeing the world and exploring new cultures! How could you not want to study abroad? Junior year is a prime time to go because you’re finally done with required undergrad classes and have (hopefully!) taken a fair amount of classes pertaining to your major. The one disadvantage to studying overseas is the large tuition costs to cover traveling and classes. Luckily, financial aid can be applied to help take some burden off of the costs. Or find a unique way to raise money, such as a fundraiser or selling stuff you’ll never use again. Of all the graduates I’ve talked to that didn’t study abroad, every single one said they regretted it–so don’t end up like them!
  • SENIOR YEAR – Internship: Internships, internships, internships. You’re probably sick of hearing people constantly emphasize the importance of landing internships before graduating college, but there’s a reason why it’s so stressed. To be honest, I get tired of hearing it all the time too; but that constant reminder in the back of my mind was the motivation for me to actually go out and get an internship. Your last year of school is the gateway to “the real world” and internships provide the experience that future employers require. Most that students get are unpaid, but if you’re lucky you can find some good ones that do pay. Regardless, if you have an opportunity at an internship, take it! The more work experience you can add to your resume, the better. Another benefit to landing an internship the last year of school is if the company liked the work you did, they might ask you to come back and work from them right after graduation.

As a student you will always be busy with an extreme amount of schoolwork, but it’s crucial to squeeze in room for extra activities. Expand your horizons every year by setting a large goal that is still attainable. Many rewards will come from getting the most out of your college experience.

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Jordyn Timpson

Jordyn Timpson

Jordyn Timpson is a junior at Michigan State University working towards her journalism degree with a specialization in documentary film. She designs and writes for a campus magazine and is a server at Bob Evans. When Jordyn has free time she likes to watch movies and her favorite show Breaking Bad, spend hours on tumblr, go on adventures with friends and travel.
Jordyn Timpson

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