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Dear Frosh: I wish I'd challenged myself

Jenna Johnson

Today's advice for college freshmen is from Victoria Belle-Miller, a freelance writer and designer who graduated from the University of Missouri in 2009.

I wish I had known that freshman year is a time of experimentation and that not everything is solidified in stone.

victoria_belle_miller.jpgAfter settling into my new surroundings freshman year, I linked up with new friends, joined a couple organizations and dove headfirst into my classes, thinking I was set for the next four years. I never considered that over the next three years my interests and social life would change.

I wish I had questioned my major in order to discover my other interests. Sometimes you hesitate to deviate from a set plan because change can be scary. I thought I always knew what I wanted to do with my life, until I didn't. I should have taken more design classes and explored the option of majoring in a more creative field, instead of having such a narrow focus.

I wish I had been more involved in campus activities. I should have joined organizations that I could have been actively involved in throughout my entire college experience, such as a volunteer group or an organization with people who possessed the same interests and passions as myself. I think that would have made my college experience more fulfilling overall.

I wish I had diversified my circle of friends, because by the time my sophomore year rolled around, many of those freshman-year friendships had faded. You move into different dorms, have different classes and simply lose touch. If I had branched out more, I might have had the opportunity for lasting friendships, instead of fleeting ones.

So, take the time to experiment during your freshman year. Discover what you like, what you don't like, and meet fascinating people along the way. If things do not turn out exactly the way you envisioned, there is always next year!

What do you wish you had known as a freshman? E-mail me your short essay (less than 300 words) and it might be featured on the blog.

Campus Overload is a daily must-read for all college students. Make sure to bookmark You can also follow me on Twitter and fan Campus Overload on Facebook.

By Jenna Johnson  |  September 20, 2010; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  College 101  | Tags: Dear Frosh, University of Missouri  
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