By Jonathon Mecomber
As I have been preparing for graduation within the next month, I have had some time to reflect on my time in college. Without a doubt, college has introduced a range of experiences which will be with me for the rest of my life. Above all, I am most grateful for the friendships that I have made and the opportunities that I have encountered and I am sure that many other students feel the same was that I do. But this article isn’t about that. Instead, I thought that I would review some of the things that I wish that I had done in college. By no means is this list exhaustive and I am not claiming to have a great deal of life experience. This is simply an informal list of things that I just about any student attending this university can do which may be of some use. So, without further ado, here are my top five things that I wish I had done in college.
5. Utilize the Fleishman Center
I know that it has been mentioned in other articles published here in Binghamton Review, but seriously, the Fleishman Center is perhaps one of the most underrated resources on campus. They have all sorts of incredibly helpful professional advice ranging from networking to résumé development. Making appointments can be done easily online and you can also walk in anytime for help Monday through Friday from 11am to 4pm. I only started utilizing the resource this semester as I started to apply for jobs and my only regret is not walking through their doors sooner.
4. Apply for More Scholarships
Who doesn’t love free money? I doubt that this question even needs a response, yet there are constantly scholarships that go unclaimed. Though I have been fortunate as to finish out college without any debt, I would have definitely applied for more scholarships if I were to do it all again. More money is never a bad thing.
3. Study Abroad
As someone who is majoring in Political Science with an interest in international relations, geography, and cultures, I really wish that I had taken the chance to study abroad. Though there is still plenty of time to explore the world and to see different places after college, this is perhaps the easiest time for most people to do so. With plenty of scholarships specifically tailored to students looking to travel, there’s really no excuse for taking a trip to another country whether it be for a few weeks or even for a year or more. No matter how long you spend there, it’ll probably be an amazing experience that you will remember for a lifetime. You might even be able to pick up a new language. And since we attend a SUNY school, you can take advantage of any of the study abroad opportunities offered by other SUNY schools as well. Don’t let this one pass you by without at least some consideration.
2. Get Involved
There are two ways in which I wish that I had gotten more involved while in college. One way is more obvious than the other. The first, more obvious one is on-campus involvement. The number of clubs and organizations here at Binghamton is staggering and there is almost certainly a club for every niche. Do you like learning Italian? There’s a club for that. Want to play Pokémon Go with a bunch of other enthusiasts? There’s a club for that too. Want a break from the seemingly endless stream of left-wing speech? In fact, there are several clubs for that. Not only are these clubs fun, but they can also offer great opportunities and friendships for your future career or for your personal life. Every student should join at least one club that sounds interesting to him or herself.
The second (and probably less obvious) way to get involved is off-campus. Since I have transferred to this school, I have always been living in apartments in the city. As a commuter, it’s far too easy to simply go to class each day and then to come straight back to the comfort and safety of the couch. However, as students, we not only go to school here, but we also do live here. As such, we should remember that we are members of this community. You don’t have to run for the municipal elections, but you can at least dispose of your trash properly. In all seriousness, even going for a walk around the block and exploring the area is a perfect way to get more involved. Check out some new restaurants in your area (besides Denny’s) and get into a conversation with the locals. When it snows, offer to shovel the driveway for your neighbor. Though it sometimes may seem like Binghamton is nothing more than a small city, there really is a lot more under the surface and I really wish that I had taken more time to explore.
1. Take It Slow
Unlike the traditional college student, I finished my degree within two and a half years by attending a community college before transferring here and by taking summer and winter courses. Though I am proud of my achievement, looking back, I do wish that I had taken more time to appreciate the present moment rather than solely focusing on the next stage. As someone who always feels the need to meticulously plan things out, this can be difficult. However, every once in a while, remove yourself from the hustle and bustle and the competitive environment of a top-tier university and examine the events unfolding around you. Try to live in the moment. You can’t enjoy the garden if you don’t stop to smell the flowers.