Graduate’s advice — get involved!

By K. Liam Shrader
April 23, 2014

I’m not sure I’m the best student to be giving advice, I’m not on the Dean’s List or the most involved person on campus, but I have learned a thing or two in my eight semesters. If you’re a freshman or sophomore, I think I can save you some time on figuring these things out if you haven’t yet.

First – find something to be involved in.  While college is a great opportunity to meet new people, have fun and go out all the time, the main reason you are here is for a degree. The problem is, a college degree alone doesn’t put you ahead of anyone and if you’re doing nothing but showing up to your classes then you’re not doing enough. This is a concept I took too long to figure out. So trust me, just do something. Join a club or organization that interests you because the looks from people that find out you aren’t involved in anything get really old. The more productive experiences you can have and more you can talk about in an interview, the better.

Study abroad.  I recommend at least going on a week long short-term study abroad trip while you’re in school because trips around the world like this will never be so easily accessible. Everyone I know that’s gone somewhere has loved it. This year, luckily, I was jealous enough of my girlfriend and my friends who were going to Costa Rica that I decided I had to go myself. It was one of the best times I’ve ever had. Costa Rica a beautiful place that I probably would never have the chance to see if it wasn’t through Cabrini. I even wish I had gone on one of these trips earlier in college because I would have realized how much I enjoy traveling. By now, I may have been able to take advantage of more study abroad opportunities Cabrini has to offer.

Also, keep your end goal in mind. I know plenty of people who begin senior year and start to question why they are in a certain major. I even find myself doing it from time to time. You don’t have to know exactly what career you want, but you should feel certain that your major is right for you.  When you’re 18-19, it’s really easy to pick a major for the wrong reasons.

For example: If one of the reasons you feel your major is a good fit is because it doesn’t require you take any math classes… you guessed it, that’s a wrong reason.

Once you’re in senior year you will start to realize these things and by then you’re so close to being done that it’s too impractical to start over.

Don’t avoid the gym.  The one thing that I have really taken advantage of these last four years is using the Dixon Center.  Everyone should want to be healthy and as a student with a free gym in walking distance from your dorm, there’s no reason not to be.  It’s the exercise habits you form now that you will follow for the rest of your adult life, and it will be much harder to change them when you’re older.

Lastly, and this may be the most important yet.  Don’t talk on your cell phone while you’re in the library.  You’re not that important; just walk outside.  And for the love of God, don’t be that person who sits at a computer laughing at YouTube videos while everyone else studies.  We all know who I’m talking about.  He’s probably there doing it right now.

K. Liam Shrader

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