Between the constant flow of incoming homework and looming presence of whatever test I have next, I will admit that it sometimes feels like the best way to go about college is locking myself up in a study room and coming back out once my degree is complete. As an engineering major, I definitely prioritize academics; however, I have also come to realize that there is so much more to the “college experience” that lies beyond equations and essays. As a college student who seriously values a balanced lifestyle, here are my top three tips to ensure your university experience is a well-rounded one.
Get Involved in More than One Way
Between constantly going to class, studying, and meeting with professors for office hours, it’s easy to forget that a balanced education exceeds the world of academia. Some of the best advice I received as a freshman was to get involved on campus in two ways: find one organization that appeals to your academic interests and one that feeds a side passion. For me, this has meant getting involved in research surrounding my major, as well as a service organization that welcomes students from all corners of my university. This has allowed me to stay involved in the engineering community and explore my future career, while also getting the chance to meet fellow students I may not have initially crossed paths with and expand my social circle beyond my fellow math and science nerds.
Learn outside of the classroom
College campuses have so many opportunities to learn and I quickly realized that it doesn’t stop when I leave class for the day. I still remember walking around campus during my first week as a freshman and being stunned by how many different opportunities there were. College presents so many prospects that you may not get to experience otherwise such as studying abroad, community service, and opportunities to meet people from a variety of different backgrounds (just to name a few!). This past January I had the chance to travel to Ghana via an organization on campus and it was by far one of the coolest things I’ve done. This was definitely something I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to pursue outside of my school and it taught me more than I ever could’ve imagined.
Mix it up
Going to school in the lively city of Austin, I can still be guilty of falling into the same old routine every week throughout the school year. And while the structure is great, I challenge you to find ways to switch up your everyday routine and try something new! This can be as simple as choosing to check out a new downtown coffee shop, or blocking out some time in your schedule to explore any events that are happening on campus. This is not only a great way to experience something new, but it also works as a great study break or weekend adventure.
As stressful as it can sometimes be, being a student comes with so many unique opportunities that are definitely worth taking advantage of. Working towards a well-rounded college experience has allowed me to meet a wide range of people and experience things I never knew were possible. Whether it be something large or small, any step towards a balanced college lifestyle will be well worth it.
WRITTEN BY Sonya Pfitzenmaier University of Texas
Sonya is a current sophomore at the University of Texas studying chemical engineering. She is best known for starting spontaneous dance parties in her apartment and unconditionally cheering on the Texas longhorns. Outside of school, Sonya enjoys scouring the internet for new recipes to try and exploring the city of Austin, one hike at a time.