Going Outside Your Comfort Zone in College
Annie Sourbis is in her last semester as a Public Affairs major at Baruch College. At Baruch, she is heavily involved in student life, including serving as the President of the Student Body last year. Her experiences on campus solidified that her passions are deeply rooted in education administration. She plans on pursuing a master’s in education with hopes to one day help ensure that every student has access to a quality K-12 education.
Now that the acceptance letters have started flooding your mailbox, let’s talk about what you should be looking to accomplish and when you first set foot on campus. What you don’t realize when you’re applying to college is how much influence you personally have on your own college experience.
Every day, you have the choice to step outside of your comfort zone or keep your nose in the books.
You’re paying for the opportunity to go to college; an opportunity that most people in the world can only dream about. I highly encourage you to take advantage of it and make the experience your own. What you do to make it the best possible experience is your decision, but I do have some pointers that I think will be helpful to keep in mind.
College is basically a four-year personality growth spurt. It’s the time to step out of your comfort zone, which can include anything from participating in clubs to studying abroad in a foreign country.
Go to an event. Baruch College – where I attend – is one of the most culturally diverse colleges in the entire country and this is reflected in our club life on campus. Some of the best events I have been to at Baruch have been held by the MexiCulture Club and the Japan Club. To be honest, I don’t think I would have jumped at the chance to go to these events when I was in high school. Another one of my most memorable experiences on campus was when I competed in the Filipino Club’s “Fear Food Challenge.” I ate some parts of animals that I never dreamed I would, an experience which now makes for some of my best conversation starters. It’s these experiences that you may never have again outside of college.
Another common phrase used at New York City Schools is, “[Insert NYC college name here] is my school and New York City is my campus.” Remember this motto! No matter where your campus is – New York City, Dobbs Ferry, Boston, or New Paltz – it is yours to explore. Find out what the locals do and try something new that you wouldn’t do at home. If you haven’t moved out of your neighborhood as most CUNY students haven’t, New York City is still your campus and I can promise you that there is plenty that you have not seen or done in the years you have lived in New York.
What should you do if college town bores you? As a freshman, you should reach out to your study abroad department to talk about your options, such as what sort of scholarships they offer and how you can plan ahead for it before it is too late. Also, AIESEC may be worth looking into; it’s an organization that can set students up with fairly low-cost volunteer or internship experience abroad.