Tips on Maximizing Your Collegiate Experience
This year is my junior year in the college of ACES. It truly has been a journey since freshman year. Since I got here, I have been looking for ways to build my resume by getting involved on campus and getting real work experience. This desire has allowed me to be able to complete an internship and attend numerous conferences, as well as find myself as a student and leader on campus. With that being said, I am going to share a few tips about how to find success in your own academic endeavors.
1. Get involved as soon as you get here.
The first tip for any Illinois student is to join at least one skill-building RSO and stay committed to it throughout your college career. My freshman year I joined a professional development organization. Now I have a leadership position in it, and it has given me valuable experience. I don’t think I would have been able to gain a leadership role if I did not stay committed to this RSO since my start. Not only have I grown as a professional and student in this organization, I have also found my closest friends within it. I think that being committed to this RSO has increased my educational experience.
2. But don’t over do it.
The second tip I want to share is don’t overcommit to an RSO or other non-class-related organizations. For Illinois students, it is easy to be excited about being a part of a community of some sort on campus. I was so excited when I came to the university that I joined every organization I liked the sound of. My sophomore year helped me learn how to prioritize my education over all my involvement. It’s easy to lose sight of one’s purpose as a student. Grades and educational experience should always come first as a student. When I realized this myself, I started to cut out a lot of involvement that hindered me from doing well academically. I definitely haven’t perfected this principle, but I work on it everyday.
3. Go to those office hours, even if you have to journey to the 4th floor.
The next tip for an Illinois student looking to be successful is to learn how to ask for help and how to listen to others. When I came to Illinois, I thought that I was so brilliant. Well, I still do think that I am pretty brilliant, but brilliance alone is not enough to find success here. What I learned early on in my college career was how to ask questions. Then a little later on I learned how to actively listen when questions were being answered. This tip sounds pretty self-explanatory, but it’s hard to master. I thought that asking for help meant that I wasn’t as smart as everyone else. Once I got over this and started to attend office hours and review sessions regularly, I began to find more ease in my coursework.
4. Get to know everybody.
Another tip for Illinois scholars is to build your network. I know I sound like a broken record when I say that “it’s not always what you know but who you know.” I have been fortunate enough to work in a few jobs for the university. Each job I got I heard about through a friend. Your network not only can benefit you financially, but it can also benefit you academically. Knowing people in your classes is so beneficial, especially when you’re forming study groups. One good study buddy could be the difference between a B and an A.
5. Enjoy it!
One last tip for future Illinois alum is to have fun. College is a time to work hard but also a time to enjoy the process. It is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of school and forget that you still have a life to live. Learning how to enjoy your experience at Illinois will help you to stay balanced and proud to be an Illini. College doesn’t last forever, so make the most of it.