If high school is a cradle, restrictive and linear, then college must be a crib. You have a little more room, allowing you to stand up and explore a little. Plus, you are surrounded by bars.
Also, you get to choose what you want in your crib and what you want to toss out into your room for someone to step on later. Metaphor aside, you decide what on campus you want to get involved in. There is no adult urging you to take piano lessons or trying to get you addicted to T-ball – the gateway sport that leads to baseball.
For all you new students, freshman year is the best time to get in activities. Your classes are normally at their easiest (generally), and this is when you can divide time between studying, friends and organizations. Many of you usually live right on campus, making event meetings a short walk away.
On my first semester on campus, I decided to get involved in a campus production of “Richard the III,” and I rushed an engineering fraternity. Meetings, rehearsals and classes took up a good amount of my time. Despite these commitments, I still had plenty to play games, relax and have fun. Theater, I realized, should be left to the professionals. An engineer can only act so well. The fraternity, on the other hand, was great. The experience has left me with many great memories.
There is a smorgasbord of organizations – social, service, professional, religious – on which to feast. I suggest finding a handful that really fit your goals and expectations of college. I’m sure you will hear this adage many times through your college career: “Most of the college experience is had outside of the classroom.” Like most clich?s, this one is true. Classes are such a small percentage of what college offers.
Most of the memories are made over Chinese food with friends studying for a test that better be easier than the previous one or over beverages later that night forgetting the entire test. They are made playing video games with your roommates at four in the morning after the fourth fire drill in your dorm. The opportunities are pretty endless.
The problem with the college crib is that you start out alone. Most likely, high school friends went elsewhere and your family is far away. It is great finding a nice support group of friends that have taken the classes you are in and know what it’s like to be in college. Dorm mates are hit-and-miss. Some are wonderful, and they may be your roommates for the rest of your college life. Others may be nocturnal and annoying, making you want to escape the dorm for awhile. Another great reason to get involved on campus is just to escape roommates.
More than just a support group, organizations give you a huge amount of opportunities that aren’t available to you alone. Want to help build a house? Want to tell your future employer about an event you set up that raised a lot of money for a noble cause? Organizations give you these chances.
So, make the most out of your college crib. Fill it with some social events, some events that show you how fortunate you really are. You should obviously strive to improve yourself and your resume to get a job in the future. You can always put a bottle or two in there. Do anything you want. Just don’t go from your classes to your dorm to the library to the cafeteria to bed. That is rather boring and you miss out on a lot of opportunities for life lessons and good fun. Whenever you graduate and leave the college crib for a stroller or twin bed or whatever else works in the metaphor, you will be much more prepared.