How to make the most of your time at school and keep yourself focused.
For students everywhere, college is a place to discover, lose, and reinvent themselves. These 2, 4, 6, or more years provide the foundation for constructing the life college students desire. However, it might be challenging to remain grounded when deciding what you want for your future. It is especially strenuous for me as an international college student. Because I moved to a new country and found the new experiences exhilarating, I kept forgetting why I chose to study in a foreign country. So, to make the best of my time at school, I set five attainable goals for myself. These goals allow me to form meaningful relationships and experience a new culture while remaining focused on why I wanted to get a higher education.
Goal one: Finding a mentor
Finding a competent mentor has several advantages, including networking, professional assistance, and guidance. However, if you don't know whom to ask, it may occasionally be challenging. Faculty and peers in their respective fields are ways for students to gain mentors. Students will benefit from establishing relationships with people who have worked in related fields since it will help them decide on the professional route they want to take.
During my first year of college, I met my mentor. My professor at the time gave me a lot of strength and encouragement, so I gathered the courage to reach out to him. He continued to support me academically and suggested more difficult endeavors I should do. These included enrolling in the Honors program, taking up leadership roles, and applying for competitive scholarships. Although I knew that pursuing them would be difficult, his trust in me was immensely encouraging.
Goal two: Joining a student organization
It can be difficult to feel involved in college. Everyone is in their groups and societies, so most students may feel left out. I wanted to be a part of my school's community, but I didn't feel like I belonged there. So, to counteract this, I considered what I like doing. Volunteering was the first thing that came to mind. It is meaningful and emotionally restorative, so I searched for school organizations that would give me volunteering opportunities.
I found that every club on campus had to do volunteering, but one organization took it to the next level. That was the Student Government Association. Being engaged in the Student Government introduced me to a world of kind and welcoming individuals that harbor the same passion as me. This experience also presented me with many amazing possibilities for leadership, travel, and of course volunteering. I'm only at the beginning of my journey, but the friendships I've formed so far have made me proud of myself for venturing outside of my comfort zone and putting myself in a position to help others.
Goal three: Earning a scholarship
Going to college is a life-changing decision, but it may also be costly. Loans may help students in need afford school expenses, but the expense of repaying these debts afterwards may be too expensive. Similarly, while taking a job might assist with finances, it can also distract students from the quality of their coursework. As a result, scholarships enable many students to navigate university life without additional financial burdens. Scholarships can cover tuition and living expenses as well, allowing students to focus exclusively on their studies. A scholarship will be extremely beneficial to me during my college years; therefore, I am working hard to obtain one as I finish my degree. Even though they might be quite competitive, my desire to graduate debt-free spurs my ambition to obtain them.
Goal four: Developing my transferable skills
College is a time for students to grow personally and professionally. Transferable skills such as written communication and punctuality are learned skills that can be used in every industry. As college students, we need to recognize our transferable skills and hone them to the best of our abilities. Moreover, by recognizing our professional strengths and weaknesses, we can easily consider the areas we need to improve and find ways to improve them.
I struggled the most with my time management and verbal communication skills. However, I worked to improve my verbal communication skills by taking on leadership roles, speaking at campus events, and participating in group discussions regularly. Additionally, since I started making conscious attempts to manage my time well, the balance between my academic and social lives in college has improved. Identifying your weaknesses is rarely an easy process but attempting to rectify them is always commendable.
Goal five: Learning another language
Speaking a second language is an important talent since it allows you to interact and connect with people from all over the world more meaningfully. Learning a second language will alter your perspective on many aspects of life. Those who study another language also increase their capacity to recall and process new information, resulting in improved performance in unrelated areas. I have always wanted to speak fluent Spanish, and now that I've met so many Spanish-speaking individuals, I'm even more motivated to do so. I've been teaching myself the language for over a year, and it has connected and exposed me to a new culture. Although I took a hiatus when I started college, I intend to learn the language again in the future and, perhaps, become more proficient.
|Jillian Ireland from Jamaica is studying cyber security at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Florida.|
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