“Dear Brooke, what are some general tips you’ve learned while living at Fairfield?”
As I am slowly leaving behind my halfway point as a Fairfield college student, I’ve learned a lot in the past two and a half years. And while there are many things I wish someone told me when I was a freshman moving into my Regis bedroom, I am beyond grateful that I am at least aware of all of these things now.
Go to office hours – Stop being afraid that you are going to be judged or come across as unintelligent. Office hours are there for a reason, and your professors are here to guide you. Every single time I used to plan on attending these private meetings, I’ll admit, I would get a little nervous. There has not been a single time, however, where I left and have not felt immediately better. I always feel more prepared for the class and comfortable with the professor. There are literally no downsides. Make the time for it and go.
Academic perfectionism is not worth it – When it comes down to it, your college memories should be running through the library sprinklers at night after a long day or watching a scary movie in your dorm lounge surrounded by your friends. Once you graduate and you look back at what you’ve done, what do you want to remember? Set a timer on your assignments and once it goes off, put it aside. Go out. Have fun. Let loose. And just unapologetically live.
Make strong relationships with your professors – You go to a university with high school-sized classes. Congratulations, now use it to your advantage. This gives you the opportunity to get to know your professors on a personal level. And if you don’t already know, all of our professors rock. I mean truly, most of them are highly distinguished with decorated backgrounds and awards you couldn’t even imagine. For each semester you have, find at least one professor that you truly admire and hold the same passion with. Ask to talk to them privately and pick their brain, because more times than not, they will help you in finding a research position, internship or whatever else you desire. Network!
Find a way to have an income – College is super expensive – and not just tuition-wise. You’ll want to go out on weekends to restaurants and buy the latest fashion trends to fit in. Which, in my opinion, is granted the “as you should!” saying. But don’t forget that you might want to find an on-campus job or save from your summer work to feed your expensive lifestyle so you don’t graduate into even more debt.
Your time is sacred – Don’t join a million clubs and take those “fluff” classes just to ensure your resume and GPA is perfect. Only spend your limited hours doing stuff that you truly love and hold a passion for. When I had my first activities fair, I signed up for a bunch of different clubs that I thought sounded fun but didn’t actually look forward to. Even further, I attempted to find the easiest courses for my required core classes, even if it meant that I didn’t like the subject. Stop that. If you don’t legitimately get excited about your classes or club events, just drop them. It’s not worth it. There is something else more worthy of your time that will prove to be more beneficial in the long run.
Take advantage of our resources – You are paying so much for this school, you better start using it for all that it is worth. We have an extraordinary career center that has helped me open so many doors, a counseling and psychological service for free therapy (which, all college students should use, your thoughts matter) and a stunning, newly renovated gym that may be crowded but is open seven days a week. Don’t even get me started on the numerous events that the Quick Center hosts for little to no money and our endless, free library. Use it, people, use it.
Attend school events – I cannot express enough how much school spirit you should start displaying. Whatever you have now is definitely not enough. Go to any sports game you can, get tickets for Red Sea Madness and buy that dress for our Presidential Ball. Stop missing out on these wonderful days that you’ve been ignoring. Even if you don’t have the best night of your life, I personally would rather regret going than not going at all because at least I tried. (Side note: I have never regretted going).
Stop comparing yourself to others – It can be so easy to look at yourself and ask why you aren’t like your roommates, classmates or professors. But you need to stop. Realize that everyone has different opportunities, friendships and relationships than you; and that’s okay! Give yourself a break, we are all in a very stressful and questionable period of our lives. So, just focus on you.
You’ll find that some of these you have already found yourself, but maybe, others you have yet to learn first-hand. Nonetheless, I hope that you truly take this list to heart and soak up your time at Fairfield because before you know it, it will be gone as soon as you blink.