Whether you’re heading off to college next year and feeling a little anxious, or you’ve been in college life for the past few months (or years) you may be curious as to what other colleges have in common with the college you’re attending. The years that you’ll spend in college will be some of the most challenging of your life, but they’ll be sprinkled with lots of new adventures, opportunities to meet new people and hopefully plenty of learning too. I’ve attended two colleges, had a bunch of friends that have studied all over the world and wanted to share with you some of the things that colleges have in common:
1. You’ll Get Back What You Put In
College will be – like most things in life – whatever you make it. It’s easy to just show up to the minimum classes you need in order to pass and to go through your college year without really making a mark on your college or really having it make a mark on you. Get involved with as many things across the campus that interest you: consider playing sports, joining some organizations, volunteering, working as a tutor or even perhaps becoming a member of the student association. The more active you are in your college community, the more friends you’ll make and the more experiences you’ll have. Your degree is likely to be around four years long, which could seem like a lifetime but will go by all too soon. Make sure to make the most of your college experience by diving into as much as you can.
2. A Hub for Making Long Lasting Friendships
Chances are you will be taking a few different papers which will allow you to meet people from different departments of the college, from different backgrounds and even people that may be on a student exchange. Many of the friendships you’ll make at college will be some of your closest friends as you’ll have such a challenging phase of your life in common. College is also where many of us branch out into the adult world for the first time with things such as being able to legally drink alcohol as well as a host of adult responsibilities such as budgeting and paying our own bills. There’s the common expression that you’re a mixture of your five closest friends, so be sure to choose your college friends carefully as they’ll guide you into the next stage of your life.
3. A Greek Culture
I personally love Greek culture at college, it’s such a fun experience joining a sorority or fraternity. It’s a great opportunity to really bond with new friends and will function as your social hub during your college years. Fraternities and sororities engage in many fun activities such as hosting parties, provide guidance on etiquette and manners, and even go as far to create networking opportunities for their members once they have graduated. While each fraternity and sorority is different, there are some common themes. Generally, they’re only single-sex groups, they employ secrecy, a membership selection process, occupy a shared residential property and use Greek identification symbols. While the Greek college culture is mostly associated with colleges throughout the United States, some colleges in the Philippines have created their own version. You can also find sororities and fraternities in their own form scattered throughout some other countries including France and Canada. If you’re joining a sorority or fraternity, or a long time member, why not consider stocking up on some greek gear?
4. It’s a Limited Time in Your Life, Enjoy It
When you’re heading off to college you may feel like the next 4 years of your life are similar to a prison sentence, but the truth is college provides an interesting combination of freedom and responsibility. You’ll be most likely living away from your parents for the first time in your life which provides many benefits but is sprinkled with a few challenges. There will be no one expecting you home at a certain time or asking where you’re going and who you’re going with. You also get to focus on what interests you most while moving towards your career. No matter how long your college degree is for, once it’s over I’m almost certain that you’ll look back on the previous four years and wonder where they all went! So savour it as much as you can, make the most of all the opportunities that come your way and take lots of pictures. Afterall, you’re only a college student for so long.
While colleges vary considerably, there are many common themes that you’re likely to come across no matter where you choose to study. If you’re unsure of what college will be the best fit for you, I would compare their program strengths to your career goals and use that as a starting point. If you’re able to visit colleges before committing, check out the vibe and how the students interact before committing to a particular college. But no matter which option you choose, there will be many things that the colleges have in common.