Going away to college can be a scary experience, especially if you have never been away from home before.  There are several things you can do to get the most out of your university experience.

One of the best things you can do is to get to know people right away.  If you do not already know your roommate or roommates, get to know them.  If you are living in the dorms, get to know the people on your floor.  Even if you are not living in the dorms, it’s a good idea to get to know your neighbors.  These people do not have to be your best friends, but these are the people you are going to be around regularly for at least a semester, probably for a full school year, so try to at least get along with them.  If worst comes to worst, sometimes you can transfer to a different room, or you can consider arranging your schedules so you are not home at the same time as your roommate and you have limited contact with each other.

It is also a good idea to get to know people in your classes, particularly your major courses.  You can do things with these people on the weekends and maybe even throughout the week.  By forming relationships with these people, you have friends you can ask for help when you miss class and you need someone’s notes.  You can also form study groups with these people and when dreaded group work comes along, you can form a group.  Plus, if you are struggling with homesickness, socializing can take your mind off missing home.

On that note, it is important to socialize.  Many college students enjoy going to sporting events, particularly football games.  If you enjoy this, go with a roommate, a group from one of your classes or that cute boy or girl you met in the food court the other day.  Many universities also have intramural sports, which might be a fun idea as well.  Even if you are not into sports, most universities have clubs and other organizations which will fit with some of your interests.  Join a club, and meet others who share your interests.  Sororities and fraternities are another way to social and get to know people, if that is something which interests you.

To really get the most of going to a university, though, you have to get out of your comfort zone.  Yes, joining clubs and meeting people in your courses will probably force you to get out of your comfort zone a little, but taking a class you would not normally take can also be a valuable experience.  This can be a great time to try something you have always wanted to try or to take a class people really would not expect you to take.  For example, if as a child all your friends took ballet classes, but you never got the chance, consider taking a beginning ballet class.  If you have trouble with public speaking, you can take a speech or debate class where you will be required to get up in front of people on a regular basis.  You may come to enjoy something you previously did not like, and even if you find the class is not something you enjoy, you might at least gain a greater appreciation for people who do enjoy that activity.  If you are afraid of the cost of the course or the grade you might get, sometimes you can audit a class, which allows you to see what it’s about before you register for it.

So get out there and make the most out of your college experience and above all have fun.

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