It’s August and the beginning of your first college semester. Leaves are scattered on the pathways between dorms and classrooms as you walk past an array of unfamiliar faces trying to find your English course. Wind is whistling through the pathways and you’re armed with a notebook, a new pen and a Starbucks. You want to make the best of your college experience, of course, but how do you become the positive student you want to be?
It starts right from the beginning. When you approach that classroom, checking your schedule to make sure you’ve got the right room, you look in to find a scattered selection of empty seats. Where do you sit? Not in the back. Sit near the front and near the center, next to someone who looks friendly and prepared. That way, you will not be the center of attention, but you will still pay attention. Turn to the person next to you and make a bit of small talk before class. The more people you meet, the better.
Be prepared for your classes by bringing everything you need and turning in your work on time. Ask questions when you have them and participate in discussions. Don’t be afraid to visit their office hours after class if you have questions. That’s what they’re there for and the most friendly professors will always be up for a chat and help you out if you need some advice. This will put you in a positive light in their eyes.
But the most important thing you can do to be seen as a positive student is to put forth a bit of extra effort. Not only in class by doing any extra credit available, but outside of class. Most colleges and universities offer a wide variety of extracurricular activities. Get involved. Not only can your participation look great on your resume, but you will build new skills, create new friendships and maybe even discover some new interests you never knew you had.
One great opportunity is to get involved with the campus newspaper. That way, you will keep on top of everything else going on around campus and people will start to recognize your name from your articles which you can clip out to create a portfolio. Some people prefer to get involved with groups like Habitat for Humanity to build houses and get out and volunteer. Others enjoy the Greek life.
Apart from participation and involvement in outside activities, a really exciting option that will put you in a positive light to both your professors and prospective employers is to study abroad. It doesn’t matter where you go. I went to London and loved it so much I’m back and living there now. Even if you just take a week long course over break, it will give you a new outlook on life.
The key to being a positive student is to do positive things with your experience. The bottom line is that you’re going to get out of it what you’re willing to put into it.