What I wish I had known before I arrived at Colby

Everything is going to be okay. Just breathe.

Coming into college is definitely a scary experience. You are leaving your family, friends, and everything familiar and entering a world full of strangers and responsibilities. Frightening, I know. I’ve been there. But just take everything one step at a time. You will find friends. You will do well in your classes. You will be okay.

I wish someone had told me that when I first entered college, because I felt so lost. As my dad pulled up to Foss after driving around campus in circles, I realized that this place was completely new to me. I had never visited Colby and I did not do much research on it beforehand, so I did not know anything. I had no clue where anything was on campus, what type of people attended Colby, or even what I wanted to do with my life. I began to fear that I was stuck at a school full of hippies and intense outdoorsy people. But always remember, everything is going to be okay. In actuality, everyone is just as lost as you. College is a redefining process. Redefining your interests, your habits, your attitude, and your studies.  Your future is not planned. This time is dedicated to figuring out what you want to do and who you want to be.   

College is about gaining new experiences. I think that is the most important mindset to come into college with, because it is not about staying in your comfort zone and doing the same things that you have done throughout your whole life. It’s about shaking things up and seeing where everything ends up. It’s about trying new things and putting yourself out there, for better or for worse. This is true in terms of classes, clubs, even friends. The most wonderful thing about college is that you are independent, which means that you get to call all of the shots. Choose wisely, but also don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

The classes you take should be of great interest to you, because you finally have full control over your schedule. At college, there is a wide variety of courses offered. Take advantage of this. Don’t be afraid to take a class in a subject that you have never tried, because maybe you’ll end up loving it and wanting to major in it. That’s what I love about attending a liberal arts college. It forces you to take classes that you wouldn’t normally notice when perusing the catalogue. Being at Colby, I have learned that I really enjoy economics and international relations, courses that I had never taken before college and thought I disliked, but proved to be very interesting and nothing like I had initially thought. In addition, I am now a Computer Science major, however, before college I had only heard of the term computer science and never imagined myself coding. But while on the engineering track, I took the class and enjoyed both the critical thinking and problem solving involved, but I never realized that there was also a creative side. This led me to dedicate my nights, weekends, and sleep to creating the best projects of which I am proud of.

As you can see, interests change. 50-70 percent of college students change their majors at least once. Most will change their majors at least three times. So don’t get bogged down in one subject, but take this opportunity to really explore your interests. Nonetheless, be wary of randomly choosing a course, because you have a limited amount of slots for classes within your college career. Having a semester of “fluff” classes may be easy, but it can screw you over in the future when trying to fit all of your requirements, especially for double-majors.

I wish I had been advised better coming into college in terms of knowing my goals and selecting classes. You don’t necessarily need to know what you want to do in terms of a major or a future job, but knowing your interests will guide you towards classes that are enjoyable and can lead to a potential major. Taking classes for fun is good and all, but building up your interests and career should come first. College is a learning environment, but at a cost. $60,000 a year is a big deal and you are investing it in your future, so the classes you select should be going towards your career.

I remember so clearly the summer before freshman year. When it was time to select fall courses, I had no clue what to do and did not even look at the catalogue before the last minute, desperately asking my older sister for help. Even though I ended up with a nice schedule, I definitely could have taken a wider range of courses. Most of my classes were ones that I knew were purely for fun: Foundations in Studio Art, Archaeology, a Mythology course. I wish I had taken courses that matched my interests and majors that I was thinking about. Now, being a Global Studies and Computer Science double major, I need to take five classes a semester and tailor all of them towards my majors. If I had started earlier, I would have more flexibility in the types of classes that I can take. One wrong move and I may not be able to complete my majors!

By thinking carefully about your course selections, you will be able to find out who you are and what you want to do with your life. It seems daunting, but college is a growing experience where you get to try out a lot of different things and build a better perspective on the world and where you fit within it. College is definitely not just a purely academic scene, but also a social atmosphere where you will likely be making life-long friends and potentially even meeting your future husband or wife! Crazy, but is it really that far-fetched?

My point is, you should come to college being focused and ready to work, but also have fun! Try out many different things and see what works for you. Now that you have your independence, you hold the reigns to your future. Where will it take you?

Comments are closed.