5 Ways to Jumpstart Your College Experience

Getting assimilated to college can be very intimidating. It’s a whole different world being by yourself, making your own decisions, being in harder classes, and having tons of homework and exams.

These are all things you haven’t experienced before and having them all approach at one time can be overwhelming.

There’s nothing wrong with taking some time to adapt to college life; become familiar with your classes; get a comfortable schedule with your homework, sleep, diet, and exercise; get use to living with your roommate; meet some new friends.

However, once you feel at a comfortable level, take the next step, or vigorous leap. It’s very easy for someone to go through college by doing the bare minimum but that doesn’t always end so well.

By graduation time, there are numerous students that freak out and wish they would have done more. There are academic advisors but they are not parents to force you to get out there and be active. Advisors will simply advise you what to do and make suggestions. It’s on you to make it happen.

The sooner you start with getting stuff done and joining activities outside of school, the better it will benefit you later in your college career and even after graduation.

These are ways to get ahead in your years at college and it’s best to start it as early as possible. This is by no means a way to cheat throughout college. No, no, no. These are just specific things that I have learned in my four years that will drastically benefit you and build your resume. And the best way to do these, is to start them early.

  • Start with Good Grades

This is very important to ultimately end up with a good GPA at graduation. It’s very hard to raise your GPA once it goes down. Classes will only get harder; especially once you start classes for your major. Gen. eds. were never my favorite classes just because they were topics I wasn’t passionate about. That’s the case with most students too. But they aren’t as difficult as you think they are. Push through those annoying gen. eds. so you can still have a high GPA when those harder major classes come your way. But don’t be scared with them. Since they apply to your major you will enjoy them a lot more because that’s what you want to do.

  • Go to Office Hours

By going to office hours, professors are able to get to know who you are. If it’s a larger class, it’s good to be recognized by the person who’s giving the grades out. They will also help you out with any questions you have. But meeting with professors and teaching assistants can also benefit you in a different way besides education. You never know when you need a letter of recommendation. Professors are more than willing to write up these letters for students that stood out to them, which are obviously the students that they know and made the effort to use their office hours. Not only are they great to recommend you, but also they are people who you can put down as a reference.

  • Volunteer

This looks great on a resume and you can never volunteer too much. College offers so many opportunities to give back that there should be no excuse to not have volunteered at least once during college. Dance Marathon and Rely for Life were very popular events at my school that occurred once a year. However, there are chances to volunteer for something weekly, and sometimes it can even pertain to your major. My roommate volunteered at a hospital to help her gain experience for when she was accepted into the school of pharmacy.

  • Join Greek life or Club

Greek life isn’t always the stereotypical sorority sisters and frat bros all living together. Being in this system creates a great network, which is very important after graduation. Certain fraternities are specifically made for certain majors. My same roommate from before is a member of Phi Delta Chi, Iowa’s pharmacy frat. There are also frats for other majors such as engineering, business and there is also the honors frat.

Clubs for your major can do the same thing. Any organized group of people with the same interest can benefit you and help gain connections for opportunities.

  • Apply for Internships

Internships are a way of showing that you have some experience in the field you want to go in. Future employers are very interested in people who have been interns before. Being in an internship can also lead to more internships and potentially a job. This is also a way to gain more people to recommend you in the future. The sooner you apply for internships, the faster you will get one and continue to gain more experience.

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Gina Stolzman

Gina Stolzman

Gina Stolzman is a senior at University of Iowa pursuing degrees in Journalism and English. Having a passion for food, she loves cooking and visiting restaurants. Besides cooking, you’ll find her reading, catching up on TV shows, or hanging out with friends and family. She is an enthusiastic Chicago fan. She devotes herself to “da” Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls and White Sox.