It is hard to believe that this fall marks my fourth semester at the Pearce Center and last semester at Clemson. I can’t count the number of times I have been told, “Don’t blink because time flies in college!” Sadly, this scary fact is truly becoming a reality, and I wish I could rewind to hear it as a freshman all over –– again and again.

With that said, don’t blink! There are many positive experiences and opportunities that come out of college, especially a school like Clemson. Here is what I learned along with my advice to get the most out of your time as a student.

  • Your time at college and away from college have an equal and unique value

Being at college with friends and also taking time to travel and visit family and friends are equally important. Appreciate the time you have while on campus and take full advantage of it because it only lasts a few years. However, do not be afraid to spend some time away from school; study abroad, visit home, or go see other friends. These are all memories that will be a part of your college experience! Dedicate time for both, spend your time wisely, and allocate the time you need to be both on and off campus.

  • Applications are an opportunity, not a commitment

Apply for as many things as possible, because you never know what might come out of a potential opportunity. Filling out an application is not a commitment to the position, but has the potential to offer a great experience if taken. I applied for internships and joined organizations that I was very hesitant about, but ultimately found that a lot of good can come from what you least expect! If nothing else, you are pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone and gaining application (and hopefully interview) experience.

  • Be intentional about what you join and participate in

Be intentional with what opportunities you take. Make sure you invest the appropriate amount of time and energy into what fulfills you the most. There are so many clubs, organizations, jobs, and new things to try in college. I recommend dedicating time to what you truly enjoy, rather than spreading yourself thin across too many activities. Discovering my priorities and investing heavily in fewer activities proved to be much more rewarding.

  • Professionalism goes a long way

Being able to draft a professional email, speak maturely with adults, present yourself well at a career fair and promote yourself during interviews (to name a few) are largely undervalued skills. These are all abilities that you can easily develop as a freshman and will pay off throughout the rest of your life. Clemson, specifically, offers so many professional development resources that I wish I took more advantage of, so use them while you still can!

  • It is never too late to meet new people and make new friends

There is often a lot of pressure to find your friend group freshman year, but I met some of my best friends the summer before senior year. Friend groups are constantly evolving, and meeting new people throughout college is very exciting! Never discredit new potential connections with people and always be open to forming new relationships at any stage of life.

Written by: Roxie Ware