New town, new place, new dorm, new faces. Welcome to college! The next chapter of life is here. Moving to a brand new place with all new people is filled with opportunities to grow and expand your interests. With unfamiliar faces all around you, who will know what you did or didn’t do before college? No one will, unless you tell your new friends everything you’ve done until then.
And honestly, once you’re at college, what you did in high school gets moved to the back burner (or it should, at least). College is a different world.
College is a prime time for discovery.
That’s why you should make a sincere effort to try something new at least once in your four years as a college student.
Most universities offer a wide variety of student organizations: from Greek life to club and intramural sports, from performance ensembles to skydiving club, from gamers’ club to parkour, and everything in between. Some colleges even have unique classes available (that may even count for gen-ed credits!) through academic departments.
So if there’s something you’ve always wanted to try or learn, and never had the chance, or if there’s a new style or technique to a familiar skill or activity, there’s no reason for you to not give it a try.
It helps refine your interests and passions, and find new ones.
When I moved to college, I didn’t immediately jump on the “try something completely new” train. I held on to my “tried and true” favorites, and expanded within those. After playing classical violin for 12 years, I wasn’t quite ready to give it up, but I was willing to join an “early music ensemble” and try some musical styles I hadn’t previously studied. It was fun, and I definitely learned and played some pretty early music (think 16th-17th centuries).
I also took a music history class for a gen-ed requirement that covered 900s up through Vivaldi and the Baroque crowd. I’m glad I took the class and played in the early music ensemble (even if for only a semester); it showed me a different type of music that I might not have explored on my own.
Exploring new paths can also help you determine if the path you’re on is the one you should be on.
While I tried and explored several things in college that I enjoyed, the opposite happened, as well. At the time, I was considering a career in publishing, so I got involved in a small publication. I loved some parts of it, but other aspects were difficult and didn’t mesh well with my personality and how I operate on my own. I know not all publications are the same, but I realized that publishing may not have been the best career path for me. The experience as a whole taught me a lot, so I still draw on it whenever possible.
In that sense, trying something new led to an important discovery, while I still had time to adjust and explore something else. Being able to adapt to realizations like that is a quality that will take you far in life.
With so many options and opportunities before you, there is no better time than college to broaden your horizons and pursue something new. Even if a certain endeavor doesn’t work out, or if it’s not what you thought it’d be, you’ll walk away with something learned and gained. And if your new venture brings you joy and excitement and ignites a new passion, then you know what to do from there.
Kate of A Thought and a Half is a 20-something Southern girl blogging about post-grad life and beyond. She lives in Tennessee, where she works at a social media agency by day. By night, she’s a blogging, tweeting and Instagramming fiend, an amateur chef, and aspiring novelist.