Outside of the Box, College Rocks!

By Leah Jereb

At college, there’s typically a lot of structure. There is a set curriculum for your major, some clubs you might or might not join, and general flow of student life that all seems very much set in stone. However, trying to follow the norms can sometimes leave you feeling constrained and locked in, yearning for something new and exciting. Luckily, there are some things you can do to bust out of the hum drum pattern of life at college in order to have a unique and worthwhile experience

1. Create your own major
A good number of schools have this option, and it’s a great idea for students who feel like they just don’t “click” with their current field of study. When you make your own major, you generally get to take all classes that you want to take, and therefore have to decide for yourself which classes are valuable to your  education. There can sometimes be a lot of paperwork involved, but in the end, it may be worth it.
Say you want to open a restaurant one day but are also interested in how to make that restaurant environmentally sustainable in its construction and food sources. You could create your own major combining business, environmental studies, and communication so that you can open your restaurant, promote it to the public, and follow through with the idea of environmental sustainability.
However, you don’t have to know exactly what you want to do either. If there are some classes that really interest you, take them! You may be surprised how your interests can direct you to a career without you realizing it along the way. Even if it’s just as an elective, a class that interests you, even if it’s not in your major, could end up being the most valuable class you take in college!

2. Meet new people

Even if you’re an upperclassman, there’s always an opportunity to make new friends. Although it is easy to get caught in the normalcy of your friend group, branch out and introduce yourself to someone while getting coffee, lunch at the dining hall, or sitting around campus. It can tricky sometimes: people might be unwilling to talk or you may be too shy. But why not go for it? You could meet your next new best friend, future business partner, or newest study buddy!

3. Scope out new study or hang out spots around campus
When I first entered school, I got stuck in the typical student lull of going to the library. On the silent floor of the library, it seemed like I was a menace to society for even sneezing! About a few weeks into my first semester, I decided that I would explore campus and look for other quality study spots. After making some discoveries, I seldom set foot in the library anymore.
Look for small coffee shops around campus where all the sounds meld together so that you’re not distracted by a single group’s conversation. Other good places to look include academic buildings where classes are held or where professors’ offices are. Generally, there are little nooks with tables that you can find and have all to yourself! Big or small, explore your campus; it will surprise you! Finding places that you can call your own unique study spots will encourage you to study, and you will avoid being around lots of other assignment-stressed students.
4. Try an extracurricular you might not have anticipated
College is a great time for you to continue doing extracurriculars that you did in high school; however, it’s also a great time to explore new ones. Most schools have activities fairs at the beginning of the school year which are a great opportunity for you to talk to people from different clubs and sign up for club emails. Even if you only go to one meeting, take the chance to try something new; you could end up really liking Salsa dancing, Pie Club, or even Greek life! You may even find that your extracurriculars are great additions to your field of study, building your experiences and bolstering your resume.
Challenge yourself by finding more ways to think outside of the box, and you will see your college, and possibly yourself, in a whole new light!

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