As you begin your journey as a college student, you need to be aware of all of the wonderful resources available to you, as well as tips and tricks that will make these the best years of your life!
Congratulations! Your hard work and tremendous abilities have brought you to the Happiest Valley on Earth! Now that you’re officially a Penn Stater and you have survived your first few weeks of classes, you may have realized that it’s not all a walk in the park.
Being a college student does mean newfound autonomy and independence, but being in charge of yourself requires loads of responsibility and quite a bit of prioritizing. As a senior, I have been in your shoes, and I have gained some insight about effectively balancing fun and academic responsibilities. I promise, it is possible to keep up that GPA and find time to escape East Halls. Here are a few tips I have to make the most out of this experience.
Get involved! There are so many different student organizations and events here on campus. Finding something that suits your interests will not only give you a reason to get out of your dorm room, but will also help you make friends with similar interests as well as meet people with different life experiences than your own. Whether you want to join a club for students of a specific cultural background, such as the African Students Association or the Latino Caucus, or want to bridge the gap between cultures with the Japanese Friendship Association, there are many organizations out there waiting with open arms.
If supporting social change is more your speed, clubs such as the LGBTA Student Coalition or Progressing Our Women through Empowerment and Reverence (P.O.W.E.R.) can help you take a stand. The possibilities truly are endless, so don’t be afraid to reach out!
Taking the initiative to network and build a platform for your future career is also very important.
It may seem very soon, but the earlier you start thinking about these things, the more prepared you will be in the long run. Check out the Career Fair that takes place in the Bryce Jordan Center during both the fall and spring semesters to secure that dream internship that could jumpstart your career!
Reach out for help when you need it! Though we all would rather not admit it, sometimes we can’t always handle things on our own, and that’s okay! Penn State provides many different resources for any questions or aid you may need during your time here. The Multicultural Resource Center (MRC) is there to help you with any challenges you may face as a multicultural student here at Penn State. Located in 220 Grange Building, you can visit your advisor for anything from study advice to methods for handling conflict. Your advisor is here to help you stay on track with your academic and personal needs, so utilize that extra help!
If you feel that your transition into college has become too stressful or you are having personal problems that you cannot iron out alone, visit our Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) located in the Student Health Center. You should never feel embarrassed or ashamed of things you are struggling with; there are many other students on campus that can identify with what you are going through, and people that would love to help.
Always stay true to yourself! This piece of advice may seem obvious. However, being in a setting with thousands of other students, you may sometimes feel pressured to change who you are to appease others. You will experience a remarkable amount of self-growth and development, as you spend your formative years here. Be sure to always involve yourself in things that have a positive impact on your life and will help you in your journey. Remember you want to look back at your time here and be proud of the person you were!
College is an experience unlike any other. It is full of highs and lows, all shaping who you will become. Penn State is an amazing place to spend this time. Remember to get out there, stay on top of your work, and show the world what you can really do.