This year is my last at college, capping off four years that have been some of the happiest in my life. However, as with any experience, there are things that I could have done better, and things I wish I had done more of over my time at Yale. Fortunately, the beginning of my senior year is the perfect time to be introspective, as I have a whole year to make up for my neglect. So without further ado, these are three important parts of the college experience that I wish I had experienced more of, and also the things that I’ll try hardest to do more of as my senior year unfolds.
1. Take classes that I know absolutely nothing about: This is partially a function of the fact that I intended to be a physics major until switching over to English very late in the game, leaving me little schedule space to experiment. But still, there’s no denying that part of the joy of college is being able to learn about an incredible array of things as well as the chance to learn something you never thought you would, and I wish I had taken a political science or programming class that would have left me out of my depth and learning something entirely new to me.
2. Say yes to everything: Everyone has moments where they just don’t want to do anything. Whether that’s hanging out with friends, getting out of bed early for an event, or just leaving one’s room in general, sometimes college can overwhelm until staying in can seem like a godsend. But friends will never be as easy to come by or as willing to include you in their lives as they are in college, and that’s not something to pass up on lightly.
3. Talk to people you don’t agree with: So many of us, including myself, surround ourselves almost exclusively with people we agree with. While this is undeniably comfortable and happy, it's also missing out on a huge benefit of being at college, which offers us an opportunity to engage civilly, intelligently, and respectfully with people whose backgrounds and beliefs can be radically different from our own. This is an opportunity we should take, especially if we’re serious about treating college as a place to learn. What could be more worth learning about, after all, than the other people we share this planet with?
With excitement and optimism,