By: Srikar Savaram
As a student who moved to a new area and just started living in a dorm with people, who I just met, life at college was a huge change to me. Being a Pre-med student did not help with alleviating that stress. Throughout my first two years at the University of Florida, I have learned a great deal of things I wish I had learned earlier when I was first starting college. One thing I wish I had known about are the plethora of resources my university (and others) provide. It is an immense network of offices and information so it can initially be extremely overwhelming. However, it is good to be aware of where to find information.
A great way to focus on your interests and learning about your new passions can be accomplished attending club fairs and not being scared to try something new. I lucked out by being approached by very passionate people with flyers so I was already introduced to clubs very early on. The University of Florida has an area called Turlington where everyone passes out flyers and this is a central hub to learn about new clubs. Some students may advise you to avoid Turlington because it is likely that you will be approached by people advertising their club. I urge you to not to avoid these people and the area. It is a great idea to go and talk to them because you might find the club of your dreams. I, personally, certainly discovered many new passions and started commitments to clubs that I still participate in today. Talking to students passing out the flyers also helps you to develop your social skills and make new connections. That is extremely useful as a college student.
Another piece of advice I have is to go to multiple advisors at UF and not just one. That way you can get multiple perspectives on your career path. It’s possible your perspectives and goals may not line up with that of your advisor so learning about multiple options and approaches is the best possible avenue to take. Visiting these advisors will allow you to learn about more opportunities that are available for you to take hold of and will help you start your involvement early. A skill I am currently still cultivating is maintaining a good balance of everything and integrating a calendar into my life for organization. Maintaining a good balance coexists with having a well-made calendar. Having a well-made calendar with events, study blocks, class times, and extracurricular involvement allows you to find balance in a hectic schedule. I wish I had integrated using Google Calendar earlier as this would allow me to see what I am overloading too much on and where I have free time. It’s very useful because you can also use the app to set reminders 10 minutes before an event or class occurs.
Lastly, I also want to say this to all college students in general. TAKE MENTAL HEALTH DAYS. You need breaks and moments of peace or you are more likely to face burn out. Acquaint yourself with mental health resources on campus as well so that you know what resources are available if you need them later on. Stay strong in your core values and always ask questions regardless of your current class standing.