Three Tips To Maximize Your Academic Year

By: Adair Bingham

It’s amazing just how much can change in a few, short years. Change is one of the main things that’s been on my mind lately and it’s taken up a good deal of my thoughts for a few months now. There are things I wish I had done differently and then things I take great pride in concerning these last few years, but what I wouldn’t give to stop thinking about the things I regret. Logically, I know there’s no point or reason in dwelling on these, after all, they’re in the past, but still I spend time fantasizing about what I could’ve or should’ve done differently. To try and divert from this, I’ve compiled a list of three pieces of advice I wish I had when I started my academic career. 

  1. Meet new people.

While I’m beyond grateful for the friendships I have formed while at school, I can’t help but wonder just how much bigger my friend circle could be if I had reached out a bit more. It wasn’t until my junior year that I finally started to beat back my social anxiety and meet new people by simply reaching out to those that seemed cool or interesting to me, and I seriously wish I had started working on overcoming that hurdle much earlier. Although we’re still in the midst of the pandemic, it doesn’t hurt to reach out through Zoom or email, should someone happen to catch your eye. 

  1. Don’t be afraid to reach out when you need help.

You don’t have to go through anything alone and there’s always a resource available to you, the only thing you need to do is reach out for it. This is something that I seriously wish I had learned earlier. Things feel so much easier when you have people to talk with, don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it, no matter how small your concern may seem. Portland State offers a few things at your disposal, such as SHAC and the Writing Center. For medical concerns and one-on-one, group, and crisis counseling, SHAC is the place to go. On the other hand, academic matters can be taken up with the Writing Center. You have the power to curate your own experiences, and when you find yourself floundering, there are people and resources that can help. 

  1. Take every opportunity that comes your way. 

College presents you with a handful of new opportunities every day, be sure to take as many as you physically (and mentally) can. From heavy courses and long, usually sociable days, being a student means days chock-full of opportunities hiding in every person you meet, every email you read, and in every class you take. Don’t be bashful and take any opportunity that may present itself, no matter how small it may seem.

Naturally, this isn’t a “be all, end all” triad of things to try out before a new academic year (or just new life experiences in general), but it is a collection of things that would’ve made my university experience that much better. Maybe they can help you.

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