Create and diversify your college experience

I think it's fairly common that as high schoolers and even middle schoolers, we tend to perceive the college experience in quite a linear way. We see how it's depicted in films, in TV shows and possibly even books. We look through photos of those who are a bit older and might expect our college experience to be just like theirs. Although I find this to be normal, I want to emphasize the importance of creating your own college experience.

Diversify yourself 

I think it's fair to say that we're programmed fairly young to place things into categories, most often in a stereotypical way. Picturing a college experience is no different. I want to encourage you to diversify your college experience - don't think of it in binary terms. 

I dabbled in Greek life and realized it wasn't for me. I attended call-out meetings for several clubs and never went to a second. I tried many things only to realize they weren't things I was passionate about and I've finally learned to accept that. I studied abroad. I did well in my classes. I got a job as a barista and learned how to make the perfect espresso. I spent one week in Jamaica with other IU students helping refurbish and renovate schools. I successfully finished an intense capstone project. I graduated.

My college experience didn't turn out like I'd imagined as a freshman, and I'm happy about that. Let the next four years take you on an unpredictable journey. You don't have to tell me how utterly cliche that sounds - I know. But it's true. Embrace and welcome challenges. Step out of your comfort zone. Don't let others pressure you into doing things you just don't want to do. 

As a word of wisdom from a recent graduate, don't let others, including influences like film and TV, influence your college experience. Try new things. Attend call-out meetings for anything and everything. From the second you walk onto campus as a freshman, you have unlimited potential. Join a sorority and be a member of the Quidditch team. Be an RA who serves as a mentor to younger students. Live on campus, but explore Bloomington. If you're not too talkative in class, find ways to challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone. Get a part-time job and treat yourself to the little things that make you happy.

Frankly, college is too significant a time to feel comfortable. Challenge yourself. My only regret is failing to hold onto all the opportunities that were presented to me. 

Good luck with college and make your experience unique and fulfilling. Believe me, four years go by much more quickly than you'd imagine possible.

About The Author
Gillian WilsonStudent Blogger

Hello all!

My name is Gillian Wilson and I plan to graduate in May 2015! I'm double majoring in International Studies, with concentrations in Western Europe and International Communication and Journalism, with a specialization in Global Journalism. 

I'm currently secretary of IU's Online News Association and was a Welcome Week assistant for both my sophomore and junior years. I also served on Teter Quad's Board of Programmers as a freshman. I'm very focused on my studies, but I enjoy venturing out to 4th Street restaurants and shopping on Kirkwood! 

Join me as I share my university exprience with you! I'll be studying abroad in Canterbury, England, during the spring semester, so make sure you come back to read about my adventures abroad!