Sitting down at my computer, I had no idea where to start with my “goodbye column” for The Campus.
I’ve had so many experiences as part of the newspaper that it’s difficult to decide what makes it into an article with a word count, even if I’m used to cutting things down for space.
I didn’t want to make this column all about my time as editor though, so I figured I’d look back at my experience as a student in general, and see what snippets of advice I could scrounge up for those of you returning to Allegheny for the coming years. I came up with a bunch, but here are the three biggies:
1) Get involved. I know that’s the kind of cliché saying you heard at orientation and probably in a dozen high school assemblies before that, but I’m not talking about the join–20–clubs–to–boost–your–resumé kind of involved. You should pick something, even just one thing, one area at which you excel, but which also makes you happy.
Even if your classes are entertaining and delightful to you, find some way to contribute in an extracurricular activity in a meaningful way. Whether that means you put your math skills to use as treasurer of a Greek or service organization or your writing skills to use by writing for The Campus (nudge, nudge) or Overkill, make room in your busy Allegheny schedule for something productive yet pleasing, educational yet entertaining. It’ll go a long way. And, yeah, it’ll boost your resumé, too.
2) Keep procrastination in check. I’m the first to admit that I put things off too often and for too long. The things I pay attention to rather than homework amaze me sometimes. This semester alone, I’ve delayed the inevitable by devoting my attention to a never–ending list of ridiculous things.
I made an effort to find and watch three episodes of “The Singing Bee” on YouTube. I read six months worth of panda cub blog updates from the Atlanta zoo, and I don’t even like pandas that much. I started watching “Dancing with the Stars,” a show I’ve always hated. Subsequently, I became so oddly intrigued by Chad Ochocinco that I caved and joined Twitter so I could follow him. None of these are things I’d have likely done if I had free time, but the appeal of escaping homework made them the most interesting things on the planet. Don’t waste your time like I did.
On the flipside though, don’t deny yourself things that you’re actually interested in. I know there’s always a lot of work to do as a student here, but you need to make time for fun sometimes, too.
Just be smart enough to recognize the difference between things you actually care about and things that are just inane distractions. And if your true interests happen to include Joey Fatone, creepy looking baby pandas or good old number 85, let me know and I’ll send some links your way.
3) Explore Meadville. We all joke about how bad Meadville is, with its often undesirable weather and the fact that there’s “nothing to do.” While the former is true –– you can’t deny it when it snows in April –– the latter couldn’t be more untrue.
Meadville is full of hidden niches and cool places to go. It’s tempting to hit up the Taco Bell drive-thru for a five buck box, but consider places like the Artist’s Cup Café and the Creative Crust. They may not rock blocking shots on guys with dreadlocks, but they offer unique appeal that you won’t be able to find once you graduate.
And once that famously miserable Meadville weather clears up, go on some outdoor adventures. Check out Woodcock Creek Lake and its surroundings for a peaceful walk with beautiful scenery. If you’ve got less time on your hands, a simple walk around campus once the tulips have bloomed is a nice way to spend a study break.
Carpool with some friends to places like Hank’s Frozen Custard, where you can get amazing ice cream and enjoy being outside. As much as I’ve lamented the drive up here from Pittsburgh over the years, I wouldn’t be surprised if I someday happily go that distance just to experience the unique things about Meadville that I’ll miss once I’m gone.
And overall, find out what interests you –– on campus, around town, and in life –– and pursue it to the fullest over your four years here. Even if it feels like each minute of every class drags on and on, to adapt a quote from my favorite movie character ever, college moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.