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7 Ways to Branch Out This Semester

January 17, 2013

Students studying at the Library
One of the best aspects of college life is that in many ways, you get two chances per year to make a new start. Each new semester is a fresh start and an opportunity for you to gain new experiences. Here are several ways you can change up your routine this semester.

1) Join a new club

College is a time for you to try things you’ve never tried before and might not get a chance to try again. Even small schools have plenty of different clubs ranging from community service to entertainment and support groups. A new club is a great way to meet people you never would’ve known otherwise.

2) Hang out regularly in a public place

Instead of trekking back to your dorm between classes, spend that extra hour or two sitting in your campus café. Not only can you do some homework there (provided that you’re not too distracted), but you’ll also see the same people over and over again. Personally, I made some of the best friends I had in college just from spending most of my free time in the café. Most of them are people I never would’ve seen in classes either. The best part about frequenting a café is that you don’t have to social if you don’t want to, but at the same time you might end up having a really good conversation with someone you’ve never met before.

3) Attend student-led events or extracurricular lectures

Your SGA and SAB are always planning something whether it’s homecoming, weekend trips, movie nights, or fundraisers. While some events might seem hokey, you could give some of them a chance. Clubs often host their own events as well, so you’ll have plenty of chances to participate.

On the more academic side, professors and administrators will coordinate lectures and presentations that might cover politics or other current events. Your school might invite guest speakers who talk about their work in a particular field or with specific social justice organizations. These lectures may cover a lot of material you won’t get in classes and because they tend to cater to current events, they’ll be very engaging.

4) Submit something to your school’s newspaper or literary magazine

This is an especially good idea if you’re a writer. Your school’s newspaper probably allows guest articles or letters to the editor. The newspaper is an excellent venue to spark or continue discussions about issues on campus. Plus, a newspaper clipping of something you wrote is a nice touch on your resume. If your school has a literary magazine, you could try submitting artwork, photography, poetry, or prose. It’s a great chance to express your creativity and it’s cool to see pieces from your fellow students when the magazine is published.

5) Take a class that’s very different from the ones in your major

Even though your schedule is probably set in stone already, there’s always time at the beginning of the semester to add or change one of your classes. If your major isn’t already giving you a heavy load, take a completely random elective. Some special classes are only offered once every other year or even once every four years, so take advantage of those opportunities if you can.

6) Accept or consider running for a leadership role

Maybe you’ve been a part of a club for a year or two and want an officer position. Maybe you’d like to be more involved with SGA or become a Resident Assistant. Taking a leadership role in any capacity not only helps whoever you’re leading, but also helps you learn more about yourself. If you think you can manage your schoolwork while running a club, then go for it.

7) Apply for a job on campus

Working might not seem as glamorous as some other opportunities, but a job will give you experience and sometimes a job on campus might be related to your major or future career goals. Even food service experience can help you find a job immediately after college or while you work your way through grad school.

 

College provides you with numerous opportunities to discover new interests, more than you may have at any other point in your life. As you head into this semester, keep your mind open to new activities. There’s nothing wrong with trying something new and it’s okay if later on you don’t like it as much. You don’t have to try absolutely everything, but having an extra activity or two on the side will only enhance your college experience.

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