By Aisha, AALEAD MD Youth
Photos Courtesy of AALEAD Staff
College: the place where you finally transition out of high school into a completely new setting full of challenges and opportunities. A place where you’ll strengthen your skills, meet amazing new people, and pursue your passions. Last Saturday, AALEAD youth visited George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, and got a perspective what’s it like to be on a college campus. The tour was led by members of the Filipino Cultural Association of GMU, where they showed AALEAD staff and youth the facilities around the campus. Youth visited buildings such as the Art and Design Building, the Exploratory (a science building), the Hub (GMU’s student center), and even the newly established Fenwick Library.
After the tour, youth attended a college panel, where they had the opportunity to ask questions of current students at GMU about their college life experience. AALEAD youth gained some great insight and advice from the current students about the social life on campus, majors offered, and even clubs students join after classes.
Here are some tips and advice that we learned from the current students which can apply to us when approaching college (whether that would be GMU or any other college out there!)
We all start on the same page
Imagine entering a college campus on your first day; backpack tossed over your shoulder, pencil tucked behind your ear, earphones suspended from your pocket. You take in a deep breath and view your surroundings, excited to start the next chapter of your life. But as you look around, you see many other students socializing, smiling, and laughing. You start to feel a bit anxious, realizing you barely know anyone. You then realize that you may not be ready for college as you once thought. Everyone feels anxious during their first day; a brand new setting, new people here and there, new pathways at every corner; what’s not to feel anxious about? But if there’s one thing to do, it’s to relax.
As you first step into college, it’s important to realize that everyone is on the same page. Just like you, there are many people that would be nervous on their first day, which is normal. What’s important is to calm down and take a deep breath. If you’re not sure what to do at first, start by making a plan of what you’re going to do for the first few weeks at campus. Try to attend many school-related events. GMU, for example, holds many events on campus that gets students involved. Try to get connected; join clubs, talk to current college students. Being more involved on campus, in addition to helping you become more confident about what you want to do for your career, is a great way to get rid of all those first anxious thoughts when coming to campus.
If there’s one thing to expect when coming to college, it’s that the people around campus are actually friendly and helpful. There are people that are willing to help, if you just ask. College is a place to meet new people and build lasting friendships. You’ll never know what amazing people you’ll find. And who knows, you’ll probably find yourself spending time and making adventures with those people for the next few years as you stay in college, or even beyond.
Something for everyone
There’s no better way to get involved and meet new people than joining a club. When going into college, you would be surprised by the hundreds of organizations and clubs that students have established.
For example, GMU holds thousands of clubs and activities, one being the school’s Student Media, which encompasses all of Mason’s print, online, radio, and TV platforms. There are also many dance, sport, cultural, and academic clubs on campus that many students are involved in. Don’t see a club you like? Then start your own! Starting a club you’re passionate and committed about is a great way to spend your time during your years in college. There’s never a reason not to go all out and explore the possibilities. There’s something for everyone.
Pursue your passion
Many students, as they come into college have a set goal in mind of what career they wish to pursue. But for others, they still need some time to find what they actually want to study. If there’s one thing to keep in mind, it’s to find what interests you. Take a bunch of classes that you find intriguing, if needed. There’s no right or wrong decision in pursuing your passion.