The NUMBER ONE Way How to Make the Most Out of Your College Experience
Well my first seminar SAGEs teacher would be a little upset over the use of an “absolute” in my title but here I think it’s fitting. I’m sure someone you know has told you something along the lines of “When you go to college you should do this…” or “Make sure you try this…” As relevant or crazy as the idea or statement may have seemed it may have some merit. The point I’m trying to get at is to get the most out of college it’s absolutely necessary to travel outside of your own personal comfort zone. I may sound like a broken record, especially to someone that’s considering Case Western. But whether we are talking about academics or extracurricular you’re going to have to try something new. I actually refute that statement, you’re going to have to try something new if you’re going to enjoy yourself and/or be successful. I have four personal examples from my experience so far that really stick out when I look back on the last semester and a half.
The first one is quite basic. Coming into Case Western I can safely say I rarely or maybe never studied or prepared for anything outside of the classroom. And no, I’m not saying it even because I think I’m more intelligent than everyone else, far from that. The pace of high school and the recitation of concepts was enough for me to handle myself just fine. College is different. In order to be successful you either have to be an absolute genius (not me) or you have to really put in the effort to learn outside of lecture. I’m not trying to scare anybody; if you don’t plan on doing any extra work then you’re not planning on doing well. Therefore I taught/am teaching myself how to actually study.
The second example that I have done was deciding to take a chair position in SigEp. It didn’t take long for me to know I wanted to give back to the chapter in some way; it’s pretty natural when you really take a liking to something. I really wanted a position with visibility, and a position that involved a lot of work and planning. Throughout high school, I had never really held much of any position with responsibility. I’m not saying I have no responsibility; I just spent most of my time on school and sports. I thought taking the position of service chair was perfect for me. To sum things up, I’m responsible for getting our chapter out for at least a certain number of service hours for the year. That involves planning events with charities and documenting every member’s specific hour count. It’s not an easy job, especially when it comes to getting everyone out to events, but I have been enjoying it the whole way.
The third way I’ve ventured out of my basic comfort zone is funny to write about, especially here. About halfway through my fall semester I got an email asking if I was interested in blogging for undergraduate admissions. See the thing is I never ever, ever, enjoyed English class in high school. It just wasn’t my thing. Just writing for no reason was never appealing. But don’t take offense if you like it, I just never did! Anyway, this position just seemed different and something more I could enjoy. At the same time, I viewed it as expanding my horizons and taking advantage of another opportunity thrown my way. It’s been everything I thought it would be and just another example trying something I never would in high school.
Lastly, I stepped into something completely new to me last semester when I applied for a volunteer lab position in one of many of Case Western’s research labs. When I applied, I figured I would have little to no chance of ever getting chosen. Mostly because I’ve never worked in a real lab before; it was just something unheard of from where I came from. The only thing I had ever done was complete the labs for AP chemistry; which I figured didn’t translate very well under the category of “experience.” Long story short I must have interviewed well or something but I was chosen from a pool of 10 or so applicants. Naturally, I was very excited and quite nervous on what I had to actually do. I’m usually in the lab 10 or so hours a week, which may seem like a lot, but in lab time that’s nothing. I barely know what I’m doing yet; I’m pretty much learning everything on the fly, but I’m loving it. I feel like I could go on and on about this but I don’t know where to start. So as a prospective student, or just a curious reader, feel free to leave any questions or comments. I would love to answer them.
I feel like Case has opened up doors for me to try new things in all facets of life. The tour guides really mean it when they say there is a way to get involved in pretty much anything, even as a freshman. It only takes a little risk taking, and obviously a willingness to learn (something you should have if you’re coming to Case). And it all comes back to my original point; try something you’re not used to doing. The first one I did was chose to come here.