As I wrap up my undergraduate journey, I reflect on the time I have had at Valpo. I look back with gratitude for what this community has given me, and I have learned a lot over the last three and a half years. Your college years come with many highs and lows, but they also allow you to grow within a community that is accepting and caring. As I get ready to graduate in just a few short months, here are some pieces of advice I would offer.
- Manage your time wisely: College can be overwhelming with a lot of classes and
information to take in. It is important to prioritize your time effectively. Making a
schedule and sticking to it is the best way to never miss a due date or event. Don’t
procrastinate and don’t be afraid to say “no” to commitments that don’t align with
your priorities or are too much for you at one time. Google Calendar, Paper
planner, or planning out due dates from your syllabus through a Google
Spreadsheet, can be a great way for you to continuously be successful in college.
- Take Care of Yourself: It is easy to get caught up in the stress of college that you
forget to eat a meal or pull all nighters. As stressful as college might be, it is
important to take care of yourself both physically and mentally. Exercise regularly
even if it is just a walk around campus with your friends. Eat healthy to keep your
energy up, and get enough sleep. Make time for activities that bring joy to your life
to take a break from classwork. Balance is key. Throughout the week, I try to get all
of my classwork done throughout the day while I am out and about on campus to
allow me to have time to relax at home and separate my school and home life.
- Build Relationships: College is the best time to build relationships with people
from all different walks of life in a much different environment than you’re used to.
Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and meet new people from
different extracurricular activities and classes. Make an effort to network with
professors in your college, as well. Your professors are not only there to help you in
your classes, they can help with interview readiness, post-college plans, and
recommendation letters, if you build those connections.
- Focus on learning, not just grades: Yes, grades are important, but your ultimate
goal in college should be to learn as much as possible. Focus on understanding
the material and developing critical thinking skills rather than just memorizing
information for a short time to pass a test. The more you learn and grow now, the
easier it will be when you get into your career.
- Plan for the future: Planning for the future is important, so take advantage of
career services and internship opportunities, and start thinking about your
post-college plans early. Use Valpo resources to help get you prepared to make
the transition from college to career as easy as possible.
- Stay open minded: College is a time of growth and self-discovery. Stay
open-minded and embrace new experiences and perspectives. Don’t be afraid to
challenge yourself and grow during this time. You are bound to make mistakes and
it is important to know that these mistakes are bound to help you grow.
- Make the most of your time: Your college years will fly by faster than you think, so
make the most of every opportunity you have. Attend events, join clubs,
participate in extracurricular activities, and build relationships with professors and
classmates. Since joining campus organizations, I have learned so much about
myself and gained leadership and communication skills that will follow me
throughout my post-graduate life. Getting involved on campus is the best advice I
could offer! It gave me the chance to meet new friends and never have a dull
moment. Today, I am involved in a sorority on campus where I also served a
leadership position, TedxValparaisoUniversity Marketing Committee, College of
Business Dean’s Leadership Council, Intramural Sports, participate in volunteer
work, and much more.
Remember, college can be a challenging but rewarding experience. College can
be a stressful time trying to navigate school, relationships, jobs, and extracurriculars. It's
okay to say no to things if you are starting to feel overwhelmed. Don’t be afraid to ask for
help. Especially at Valpo, professors and faculty are always there to help you navigate
through everything. Take time for yourself and remember to have fun! Remember you’re
here for a short period of time so make memories that will last a lifetime!