Tens of thousands of students attend and graduate from a university, but each student leaves with different experiences, including academics and extracurricular activities. While students are required to declare a major, they can still pursue many non-academic interests and discover new passions. Universities can have up to hundreds of clubs and activities, including intramural sports teams, music groups, cultural organizations, professional organizations, and fitness organizations. Before many students graduate, they reflect on the time invested in clubs, extracurriculars, work experiences, and college lifestyle itself, not just their academics. For college students to make the most of their college experience, they should get involved outside the classroom as much as possible.
Choose the Right Major
Choosing a major that interests you will contribute to your academic success. Studying for classes that sparks a genuine interest can make a class more enjoyable. Some students feel pressure from their parents to pick certain majors, which often results in unhappy and uninterested students. Before you pick a major, be sure that you are picking it for the right reason. Choose a major that motivates you and brings you closer to your professional goals. When choosing a major, be sure to evaluate your values. Think about what you love doing and what your ultimate goal in life is, and work towards a major that can help you achieve your core values.
If you begin college unsure of a possible major, taking introductory courses can help you get a feel for the major. For example, several pre-medical students at my university ultimately discovered that they picked the major because they envisioned themselves being a doctor, but they did not have a genuine passion for it and were motivated for the wrong reasons, such as money, parental influence, and social status. Academic advisors are great on-campus resources for helping students choose a major that is right for them.
Merge Your Passions
There are various ways in which you can bring your educational interests and passions together. For example, if you are a student interested in communications, you can join a journalism club, a television club, or serve as a communications chair for a club or organization. If you are interested in the pre-medical route, you can volunteer at a lab on campus, participate in a medical humanities journal, a medical service trip, or join a pre-medical society with other students who have similar goals. While some believe that you must get an internship to gain professional skills, you can gain experience throughout your undergraduate career by volunteering, serving on the board of a student organization, assisting a professor with research, participating in various activities within your major’s department, and more.
Obtain Professional Experience
For college students looking for more traditional work experience, a part-time internship is a great way to get your feet wet while maintaining a full course load. College students are in class for approximately fifteen hours a week, averaging about three hours a day of class. Many companies that offer internships during the semester are flexible with their hours and generally willing to accommodate your class schedule. Having an internship during the semester is a great way to explore a field of interest while gaining professional experience.
Find Your Hobby
In addition to academics and extracurriculars, find a hobby. Whether you love sailing, playing an instrument, or acting, college is the perfect place to ignite new passions and continue to pursue existing ones. There are so many resources at your university that will allow you to explore any possible potential interest if you find the right group, club, or society on campus. Finding a hobby in college is a great way to de-stress and unwind from academics while doing something you love. Some students love to run, which is a great way to stay healthy, while others may love to cook and create a gourmet meal.
It is never too late to pick up a new hobby. I discovered my passion for writing after I began writing for an online magazine. I slowly gained interest in my university’s communication major and decided to double major in communications and economics.
Joining clubs and participating in activities on campus are a great way to deepen your current interests as well as discover future passions. College should not be a place where interests and passions go to rest, but a time to explore new and existing hobbies. College is a primarily educational experience that is enriching through discovery and development of your passions and interests.
Vanessa Sewell is studying Economics and Communications at Boston College. She is from Bronx, NY. Vanessa has worked on topics related to lifestyle, fashion, culture, and education during her time at Boston College. During her free time, she can be found playing piano and guitar or jamming to Spotify.