Many adults point to college as one of the most exciting and memorable times of their lives. That can saddle future college students with a sense of pressure to capture a college experience that lives up to everyone’s expectations. In practice, figuring out how to go about wrangling that timeless experience isn’t as easy as it sounds, in part because there are so many options. Much of the structure and order pervading high school dissipates in college, where there are fewer consequences for skipping class and far more ways to spend an afternoon.
In reality, the beauty of a rewarding college experience is that you can make it what you want, depending on your personal interests. There are, however, some things you should keep in mind as you try to find your way in college—and in life. Here are five things that can help you make the most of your time in college.
Get involved with campus clubs and groups
The organizations and clubs at college are endless: multicultural clubs, sports clubs, student government and endless groups focused on professions or specialized areas of interest. Give some of them a try, even if doing so represents your first foray into that field of interest. The best way to find out what you want in life is to sample many different walks of life, and college is the best venue for this self-exploration.
Attend athletic events
Sports typically serve as one of the central socializing events at any college. You may not love sports, but make sure you get out to a few games, whether it’s football, basketball or other events. Sporting events will let you experience your college’s community at its most fervent, and you may also make some new friends.
Explore the area
Many people move to new cities, states and even regions when they go to college. But even if you’re staying close to home for college, there’s plenty of opportunity to explore your area. As a college student, the way you interact with your surroundings will be totally different—particularly because you aren’t restricted by your parents. Whether that means you’re headed outdoors to nature areas or checking out undiscovered parts of the city is totally up to you and your interests.
Look into studying abroad
Studying at a foreign college or university is a great way to see another part of the world while continuing your education. Many students take advantage of this unique opportunity, and it’s worth your while to see if these programs would serve you well. Just remember to consider the other sticking points with any move overseas, such as the cost of living, visa acquisition, the need for study abroad health insurance and the ever-present risk of homesickness.
Make time to study
Students rarely want to study. But doing your homework is an important part of making the most of your college experience, and for a simple reason: If you don’t do your work, your college stay will be quite short. Allocate time to study and get your schoolwork done every week and you’ll have a long, rewarding stay in college—and plenty of future opportunities to shirk responsibility in favor of some wild adventures.
You might enter into college with high expectations, but try not to put too much pressure on yourself. There’s no need to force the creation of authentic college experiences. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to create them organically. Focus on being open to new experiences and seizing opportunities as they arise, and you’ll end your college career with a diploma and a trove of great memories.
Written by Lindsey Harper Mac. Lindsey is a professional writer living in the Indianapolis area. She specializes in writing guest posts on social media and education. Currently, Lindsey is completing work on her master’s degree. You can get a hold of her on Twitter at