I'm 20 years old, and a junior in college. It feels like just yesterday I was the geeky, awkward freshman Hadeel! I've grown and learned a lot since then, so I have some regrets and tips for you to follow to have a successful four years at Wagner College.
I regret being too studious.
I have been so harsh on myself academically, in college. The amount of sacrifices I have made for my academics are quite incredible. The all-nighters, the "Oh, no, I can't hang out, I have a paper to write" texts, and the hours of madness in the library are examples of these sacrifices. In retrospect, I should have given myself the breaks necessary to clear my mind, and develop my social life. Those all-nighters were really not worthwhile because I threw off my entire sleep schedule and was in a bad mood for hours after. What I have learned is that by having a balance, I can save myself from over-studying and cramming.
Tip: Make a homework/study list for yourself every day. Write down what you want to accomplish and cross them off as you go. It's satisfying to see the progress you make.
I regret not studying abroad.
I always told myself I didn't want to go away for a study abroad because I didn't want to leave my little sister alone for that long (shout out to Raneem). However, as a junior, I see that I have missed out on an incredible opportunity. Studying abroad allows you to expand your horizons, immerse yourself in a different culture, and give you the tools to learn a new language, I am a well-rounded person, but I think that doing a study abroad trip would have helped me grow so much more as a person by making me step out of my comfort zone.
Tip: Go to the Center for Intercultural Advancement (Union 204) and ask questions about study abroad opportunities! There are so many programs that you can take a part of, so it's worth a try. Also, Ellen and Ninah are helpful and super nice.
I regret being unorganized.
I did not invest in a planner or Google Calendar until halfway through my sophomore year, and that was when I had more clarity. So much was going on and I could not keep track of any of it, because I was not properly documenting meeting times, homework, papers, etc. However, I forced myself to go to the bookstore and purchase a planner, and started using Google Calendar much more persistently (thanks to my sister Abeer, who showed me the ropes). By putting in important dates from my syllabi in my planner, interesting events from the Daily Bulletin into my Google Calendar, as well as meeting times and class times, I was able to set a better (a) meal schedule, (b) study schedule, and (c) social schedule. Putting in the things that are necessary for me as a student gave me the flexibility to then actually plan out my free time wisely. I can honestly say that I would not be as successful as I am without organizing my life using a planner and Google Calendar.
Tip: Invest in a planner! You can buy one from the Bookstore. Also, plan out your week every Sunday by updated your Google Calendar, it really works.
I regret not learning another language.
I am bilingual, with fluency in English and Arabic, but I wish that I picked up a third language in college. The Modern Languages Department is a gem at Wagner College, and if I had taken a few Spanish classes, with my high school experience in the language, and finally a study abroad, I could have been fluent. Speaking a multitude of languages is such an asset in a multicultural society. Being heavily involved in Port Richmond, I struggle with communication sometimes because I don't know how to talk to the community members who only speak Spanish. Therefore, I think learning another language is one of the best things you can do as a college student.
Tip: Take language courses here. We have brilliant professors here who will make sure that you grasp the language, and understand the culture behind them.
I regret the way I spend time on campus.
I say this as a commuter. Although I am on campus a lot of the time- my parents tell me that I only use my house as a hotel and for free food- I should be more productive when I am here. Sometimes I get stuck here for hours at a time, and I hate it. I love this college and the campus, but it's really great to leave and come back to it. For my commuting readers, spend more time here outside of class! Go to campus events, hang out with friends, use the library as an asset. For my resident readers, leave campus more often! You have all of New York City, including the Island you live on, to explore. Go see it. Try new foods, meet new people, visit new places, there is so much outside of this campus to do.
Tip: Attend campus events, such as lectures, sporting events, professional development, etc. You will meet new people who you otherwise will not cross paths with.