I’m graduating from the University of Oregon in seven weeks, and I’m experiencing a plethora of emotions. I’m eager to start a new chapter in my life, terrified to be torn away from friends, and grateful for my education. Four years comes and goes quickly, and although I’m no expert, I thought I would pass along some things I’ve learned in my four years that I wish I would have known from the beginning.
Be curious. Curiosity opens up new possibilities and keeps your mind active. William Arthur Ward said, “Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.”
Take classes that have nothing to do with your major. Elective classes will complement your major courses and offer you a fresh perspective. Taking courses from an array of departments will help your career and widen your interests. A Japanese literature course I signed-up for out of the blue turned out to be one of my favorite courses.
Get to know your professors. The majority of them want to get to know you. Go to office hours and ASK QUESTIONS. Professors are excellent resources, and they want you to succeed. Allow them to help you do so.
Be open. You’re going to come in contact with people who have different beliefs than you do. Don’t automatically dismiss their ideas and viewpoints. You don’t have to agree, but you can listen. I went into college thinking the majority of issues were black and white, and I’ve come out realizing most issues actually have quite a bit of grey.
Get involved on campus. Join clubs and organizations tailored to your interests. It’s a great way to network and meet people with similar passions. One of the best decisions I made in college was to get involved with our student-managed PR firm on campus. It has allowed me to apply the skills I’ve learned in the classroom to real clients, learn from talented peers, and work with motivated students who share similar career goals.
Take a moment to breathe. This one may sound ridiculous – but trust me – it’s important. College isn’t all about academics. It’s a time to learn about yourself, form lasting relationships, and discover your passions. Don’t let the stress of school get the best of you. If I could get my last four years back, this is the tip I’d work on the most.