How to Make the Most of Your College Experience
It feels like I woke up and suddenly became a senior in college. It is slowly sinking in, but I don’t think it will fully until I’m up at the podium accepting my degree. COVID, obviously, was to blame for everything moving so quickly. We were sent home the spring semester of my freshman year, right before I was set to go to South Korea for Preview. I remember Arcadia telling us not to worry too much, and some people thought we’d just have an extra-long spring break. I remember my roommate and I looked at each other and realized that we had to pack all our bags and go home, and we wouldn’t be able to come back for a while.
Now I’m a senior, and it feels like things only just got back to “normal” this semester, like I’ve been in some weird haze for the past few years and am only just now coming to. Because of this, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting. There’s so much I wish I would’ve done, and a lot I intend to do before graduation.
So, I wanted to share with you what I’m glad I did and wish I would’ve done, in the hopes that maybe you’ll take my advice and live your college life to the fullest.
During my freshman year, I was always on campus. I lived in Knight Hall. My friends and I would always eat at the Dining Hall or Chat, and we’d hang around the Green or outside Knight if it was nice out. A lot of the time I’d hang around the 2nd floor Knight lounge, watching movies and eating popcorn with my friends. I would often come back around 2 to 4 in the morning. I wasn’t influenced by partying or anything like that – I just enjoyed hanging out with my friends and watching movies, and my introverted self became much more social.
Once I moved into Oak Summit Apartments, I didn’t really have reason to hang around campus anymore. I would only go to campus to go to work or class and then come back to my apartment and lounge in solitude. Don’t get me wrong, I love being in an apartment, but even though Oak Summit is a few minutes away from campus, I felt disconnected from campus. I would definitely recommend exploring as much of Arcadia’s campus as possible, even if you’re just hanging out on the Green with friends when it’s warm outside. I’ve managed to make up for that time cooped up in my apartment by being outside whenever I can, especially in this beautiful fall weather.
My alumni friends have told me that they regret not engaging as much with their professors since graduating. Not only can you get individualized instruction at Arcadia, but you can also network with your professors, who are very likely excited to share their knowledge with you. I communicate with my former and current professors often, whether it be about an interesting article I think they’d like or an inquiry about the curriculum. Having sincere questions and interests helps you stand out from the crowd and your professors appreciate it.
I also wish I took more classes that I was personally interested in. I’m paying the same amount to be a full-time student every semester, so why not do more classes that fit into my specific area of interest? I spent so much time focusing on requirements that, while they were necessary for my degree, I strayed away from courses that I had a curiosity about, like a course on horror films or sociology.
I still have a lot of time before I graduate, though, and I intend to do as much as I can before I do. I’m putting effort into utilizing Arcadia’s resources, like using the library more and connecting with my professors about their areas of interest. I became the Secretary of the Writer’s Bloc club to force myself to get out of my comfort zone and interact with people. 4 years sounds like a long time, but honestly, it’ll be over before you know it. Do what you can now so you can look back with fond memories.