College is a very exciting time. It is a time for exploration and curiosity. It is a time to find out where your interests lie and what you want for your life. Here are my top 5 tips for freshman students in college.
Explore different majors in your area of interest
Picking a major can be a big stressor for many college students. According to With Frank, “it’s recorded that at least 80% of college students change their majors at least once” (2020). You may have an idea of the industry you would like to pursue, but may not be ready to fully commit to a major. For example, you may be interested in the sciences, but have no idea what type of career you would like to commit to. If you are unsure of which major to choose, colleges and universities have an “exploratory” option for you to test different options. The exploratory option usually gives you about 2 years to decide on a major; it will give you more time and clarity on the specific direction you would like to be in.
Even once you graduate, the major you pick does not guarantee the area you will have your career in; the major you pick doesn’t even mean you have to go into that field. Employers will usually look at your surrounding qualifications and experiences, not just your chosen major.
Create a list of internships that you can apply to
Internships are one of the best ways to decide on the specifics of your career. You are able to get real-world experience and find out what you like and don’t like about that career or industry. With internships, you can network with professionals within the industry and discuss the path they took. Industry professionals make great mentors for you to have throughout your college experience.
Although it may seem premature for a college freshman, create an excel sheet of potential internships you can apply to. This list will give you a better idea of how to best prepare for them. Here is an example of an excel sheet you can download for your internships.
Join a professional club in the industry you want to be in
Joining a college or university club will help open up new opportunities. With a professional club, you get to meet other students who will potentially be going into the same industry as you. Professional clubs usually have networking events and often bring in industry professionals to discuss their experience.
These types of clubs also have a professor who works within the club. Getting to know your professors by joining a professional club is a great way to get to know them outside of the classroom. One way to find a professional club is to check your university or college website, or to check the flyer postings on the walls of your college.
Join a fun club
First of all, college is more than accolades and GPA. It is about finding a community and discovering interests. Joining a fun club is a great way to make new friends. It is an easy way to get involved in your university. These clubs can be based on a hobby or sport (ukulele club, surfing club, basketball club, etc.), a fraternity (Greek life), multicultural interests (Hispanic Heritage Club, Asian American Club, etc.), or volunteering for a common cause (i.e. Saturday’s Ocean Clean Up).
Enjoy every moment and stay curious
My biggest tip is to enjoy every moment and stay curious. For ways on how to stay curious, check out my blog post here. Even if it feels like the moment is small, these moments will be the ones you remember most. Try not to take life too seriously, and be open to new opportunities and possibilities.
Congratulations on this new chapter of your life and best of luck. Do you have any other tips that would help? Let me know in the comments section.