Your parents have left, you’ve made it through orientation, and your first semester is about to get real. And it hits you: College is not high school. Suddenly, nobody is telling you what to do. You have to drag yourself out of bed in the morning, find something to eat, and make sure you get to class on time. But what to study? There are so many options. And which clubs and athletics teams should you join? All that freedom — and responsibility — can be overwhelming sometimes. Here’s some advice to guide you through your first semester.
Take a class for fun.
You probably aren’t sure yet what to major in, so why not explore a bit? You might just stumble across a new passion — and maybe a future major. Take a philosophy class, or a course in environmental science or dance. At the very least, you’ll have fun, meet new friends and learn something new. Most likely, you’ll be able to apply what you’re learning now throughout your college career. That’s what the liberal arts are all about.
Get to know your professors.
They’re nice. They’re smart. They care about you. They want to work with you — whether it’s a project you need help with or some cutting-edge research they want you to be part of. Getting to know your professors early on isn’t just good for your academics; it’s a lifelong investment. Chances are you’ll stay in touch with them for years and years and years to come. Maybe forever.
Join a club!
College is all about community, and what better way to get involved than through one of our gazillion campus clubs? From cooking to politics to Harry-Pottering, you will be sure to find likeminded women, and lots of opportunities to have your voice heard. You can even go ballroom dancing at Virginia Military Institute. Don’t see the perfect club for you? Start one. Then be its president.
Our campus is big — very big — and there are many ways to discover it: Hiking, biking, paddling, maybe even horseback riding. Check out all 3,250 acres, including 18 miles of trails, two lakes and lots of woods and streams. Grab a friend and run the three-mile Dairy Loop. Hike up Monument Hill to enjoy some peace and quiet, plus sweeping views of campus. Go float on the lake, or stretch out in the Dell. Take it all in.
Make time in your schedule for doing absolutely nothing.
Between classes, athletics, clubs and other commitments, it can be hard to find time to breathe. As you work out your schedule and figure out when to eat, sleep and shower, make sure there are times when you do absolutely nothing. Zero. Zip. Just a blank space that is reserved for whatever you feel like at the moment.