Recent grad Julia McAleavey shares guidance through this advice column for incoming students. A student with well-rounded experience, Julia earned a bachelor’s in advertising this spring. She transferred to Rowan her sophomore year, after another school wasn’t a great fit. While at Rowan she started as an exploratory studies major, unsure of what to major in. She’s lived both on campus and off campus, held student worker jobs and internships, and participated in clubs and sports.
College might just be some of the best four years of your life. You’re living on your own for the first time, you’re not stuck in one building for several hours, and your best friends are within walking distance from where you live.
Like anything, though, college is what you make of it. All of these great things aren’t just going to knock on your door. You have to put yourself out there and get them yourself. Here are some things you should do to make your experience at Rowan the absolute best it can be.
Get to know the people in your classes: This goes for other students as well as professors. Even if you’re undecided at first (which I recommend), getting to know your classmates is important. You might just meet your best friend by doing so. One of the reasons why Rowan is so great is because of the small-to-medium class sizes, allowing you to get to know your classmates and professors. It is not uncommon for Rowan professors to know your name.
I’ve had classes that have been like family, and professors that I look up to as role models. Plus, the professor with whom you make an effort to get to know may write you a letter of recommendation one day. Also, don’t be shy in the classroom. College is about coming out of your comfort zone. You’re probably not the only one to speak up in class, so why not take the first step?
Go to career fairs: Rowan offers several career fairs. There is one each semester for all majors, and usually each school holds one once per year. Even if you’re a freshman, it doesn’t hurt to put yourself out there. Often, professors give you extra credit for attending, which never hurts. This is how I went to my first one as a sophomore. It motivated me to go, and it was good practice and experience for interviews and networking events I attended as an upperclassman. You might make a great connection, so it’s definitely worth going.
Get Involved: I cannot say this enough! Obviously, you are at Rowan to get a degree, but that is not all college is about. In order to get the full experience, you have to get involved in something. Sitting in your room doing homework and going home every weekend is not making the most of it. Whether it’s an academic club for your major, a club sport, an on-campus job or Greek life, getting involved in something on campus will change your life. Between becoming an officer for the Swim Team and working in aquatics at the Rec Center, I not only kept myself busy at Rowan, but made some amazing friendships that will last a lifetime. Look out for dates for all of the organization and activities fairs held at the beginning of the semester.
It is no lie that getting good grades is a vital part of the college experience. However, although they’ll look at GPA, a future employer is not going to care about the A+ you got in English 101. Trust me, you don’t want to look back on college full of regret. That is one of the reasons why I transferred to Rowan, and I am so grateful that I did.
Making connections with professors, other students and people at career fairs is an important part of the college experience. You might discover you have something in common with someone, like if you both played the same sport or were in the same fraternity or sorority. These things are part of what will make your experience at Rowan memorable.
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Julia McAleavey, advertising graduate