I went to college in a new town, in a new state, and did not know anyone. It was a weird feeling being dropped off by my parents and having complete freedom to go where I wanted, however late I wanted, and not having to let anyone know where I was going. However, when you don’t know anyone, this freedom is not as great as it may seem.
An older friend of mine told me to get involved in everything I could during my first years of college. As everyone does, I was apprehensive about over-committing. After all, this was college…demanding professors, month-long group projects, and hours in the library. As it turns out, college wasn’t that hard to figure out. Professors at Belmont were very personable and always willing to help. Group projects were not that hard and usually came at the end of the semester. Truth be told, to this day I could not tell you how to check a book out of the Belmont Library. That was more a fault of mine and not recommended.
So what do you do with all this extra time? Get involved.
Colleges have a myriad of clubs, intramural teams, organizations, and other groups that do just about anything. Some are purely social, some are educational, some volunteer and some are pointless (Belmont had a Club Tex, for instance). Getting involved outside the classroom will not only force you to meet new people, but you’ll be surprised at how much you actually learn about “real life.”
I do not remember one thing from my sophomore year marketing class other than my roommate and I were late to the very first class. However, I do remember the organizational leadership skills I picked up in SGA and as president of my fraternity. The only thing I remember from my junior year history class was that our professor sometimes spoke with a Russian accent and sometimes with his natural American accent (no explanation why). I do remember the job interview skills I learned while serving on a search committee for a new Student Affairs employee. My speech class had me stand up in front of 10 other people in a small classroom and give 5 minute speeches. It helped my public speaking skills, but not a lot. As VP of the SGA, I had to speak in front of 60-70 of my peers every other week. Trial by fire.
That being said, classes are important. At no other time in your life will you be given the opportunity to learn so much in a relatively short four year span. However, more than facts and figures, college teaches you how to learn. More than likely, whatever company you work for out of college will have their own way of doing things. This will probably be different than what you learned in school. You have to be able to adapt. College teaches you that, if you let it.
During your freshman year, you’ll think you are as busy as you’ll ever be. Trust me, it’s the opposite. You’ll be surprised at how much you can do with a little time management. So don’t be afraid to jump in and get involved. Take every opportunity you can to do something you’ve never done. It’ll pay off.
Matt should never have let me do his bio. Muah haha. Here we go…what can I tell you about Matt? Matt went to high school in Alabama. Before I could make a snide remark about Alabama and education, Matt beat me to the punch saying, “Yes, we have those there.”
Matt graduated from Belmont University in 2006 with a degree in finance. He wanted to be on Program Board with yours truly but had to settle for SGA. Despite being on SGA, Matt has become one of my best friends. He’s the big brother I never had and teaches me all sorts of things…like what “gigging” is and how to change a headlight in the dark. Wednesday night you’ll find Matt running with the Nasties. He is currently a project manager with Greystone Brokerage & Development, a medical real estate development firm in Franklin, TN.
You can find Matt with the Breaking Contain team writing about sports and all the opinions that come with it. And trust me, Matt and the team are never short on opinions.
About this series: This is one of a series of guest posts in May that will run every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.