College is one of the most important and exciting time of our lives. The transition from high school to college is a mixed feeling for most people, we often revolve around missing high school to being excited for college.
And when college starts, for most part, we get caught up in doing fun things in college and leaving the important part for later. But the hard fact about college is that "College isn't forever".
So, the top five things I feel you should take into consideration if you are still in college or entering as a freshman this fall are:
READ & RESEARCH
You know, if you take any of my book or you know my favorite articles to read to any of my family member and you can swear to God, but he/she will never believe you that it is me who is reading that book or these are my favorite articles to read, because that is who I was till my Grade 12 in high school. I was just into sports, and anything else just didn't matter to me.
Entering into college I took a completely different path, and it helped in ways I swear I cannot explain.
I read a lot of books, articles , magazines, did a lot of research on different career paths you can take, on personal growth, on different college application processes, on building your portfolio etc. etc.
It helps you broaden your vision, your perspective on a lot of things changes altogether, you feel a completely different human being from the mindset you develop.
You know, it's very very important to have these little minor steps build you for a bigger thing in your future. It's not that you can push it for the later part of your life, but something you have to keep on building slowly and steadily.
A quote from one of my favorite books explains it in such a beautiful way. It says,
" When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that last blow that did it-- but all that had gone before."
So, that's how your current activities slowly build you for the future you.
So, start reading a lot of things while you are in college, it doesn't matter if it relates with the course you are doing, just read about different things, read books about inspirational people, read books that change the way you think, see what people around the world are doing, how you can better yourself, research about these things and ace the competition that you are going to see ahead of you.
2. INVOLVE YOURSELF IN CAMPUS CLUBS/VOLUNTEER CLUBS
This is the thing where I feel I could have done a lot more, that could have really helped me along the way. This is what I believe is one of the very important things you should do while still in college.
I did a lot of activities here and there, I was a part of a very good student club, which is actually headed by some of the Kashmiri people I have known since long, I did just one E-sports event with them. Next, I did a community development project with an NGO based out of Kashmir only, and the last thing I did was, that I was a part of the Entrepreneurship Cell of our college, and we hosted the Indian Start-up Summit back in February 2020. So yeah, I did a couple of things, but there could have been a lot more I could have done.
Our college is very well-known for activities like these.
In my third semester of college, I had this idea of starting my own club. I had a very good academic score to do that, and also had the support of my professors from College, but I feel like I procrastinated on it a lot, so eventually ended up doing nothing for it.
So, if you are still in college or entering this year, I would recommend you to do these things, and start something of your own as well because it really helps you in polishing your skills as a leader, helps you communicate better, and also puts you in a better position than your peers/competition.
3. GOOD GRADES
A lot of people might argue on this, but maintaining a great GPA is very important when in college. For a lot of academic activities you will do in college, you will need a certain bar of GPA you need to maintain to participate in. To make a good profile for yourself, to get an admit into top universities across the world, you need a good GPA too. Some top notch companies that will be visiting your campus for placements, a good GPA is a necessity mentioned in the eligibility requirements. If you have certain academic scholarship, for it to continue for the rest of your degree, maintaining a competitive GPA is required as well. For numerous reasons, it does matter.
For the first few years of your career, the college tag with a good GPA will matter.
Then of course, it is the kind of experience you will build, the skillset you will carry and the decisions you will take, that will shape how well you do in the next years of your life.
4. TALKING TO A LOT OF PEOPLE FROM DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS
I think this point is very underrated when it comes to things you should do while going to college.
Being from a college, where diversity is a religion, I think I could have laid more stress on this one as well, over the course of my degree.
Though, if I tell you about my instances, my first Eid away from home, I was hosted for an Eid Lunch by one of my Bangladeshi friends, which helped me in learning their culture, what they eat, what they do on an Eid, what sort of things they talk about, and the hospitality they show.
My first friends from college were the Afghani Duo, whom I met on the first day and felt really good knowing them and their journey of coming to India for their undergrad, how challenging it was to study in English for the first time, and how things are back in Afghanistan.
My best friend from College, who I can call my friend for life, is from Nigeria. I learnt a lot about life through him, and how he sees life, and really makes an opportunity out of almost everything he encounters.
Talking to a lot of people who are in the same position as you are really builds your personality as it helps you to explore yourself more, when you listen to their perspective and what they think on things you love to talk about.
So, entering into college, you should really keep this thing in mind and explore yourself more by talking to more and more people.
5. EXPLORE YOUR INTERESTS
This is something you should really do. A lot of people end up doing degrees which they never wanted to do. I have friends who are doing B.Tech or MBBS, but now in the midst of it they feel like they shouldn't have done it, maybe they should have pursued a different course.
A lot of people do that, but you need to know that life doesn't end when you become a graduate, you can still explore your interests, you can still pursue your masters in the field of your choice. To do that, while you're still in college, try to explore what your interests are, where you really see your life going, what you want to accomplish. If you ask these questions to yourself everyday, and lay stress on the first point that I have mentioned which is Read & Research, I think you will get an answer.
And, this is very important because you don't want to look back at your life, ending up doing things you really never wanted to. So, if you explore your interests well, research well , deep dive into different things different people have done, you will know what you want to do which can really help you in moving forward to the next chapter of your life.
Hope you enjoyed reading the article and found it useful. For any questions/suggestions, you can reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org