Taking Advantage of Opportunities

Hey everyone,

This post is not usually what you will find at DormEarn, but I’d like to share this post that I authored for another blog with you. Although it pertains particularly to freshman,  I’d like to urge you to take advantage of opportunities.


A great way to meet classmates is to volunteer during your downtime. In an April 29, 2013, post on Grockit, “Why Volunteering in College Matters”, Jeffrey states that volunteering helps students to look beyond their surroundings and become aware. In addition to building valuable connections, looking great on a resume and potential loan forgiveness and scholarships, volunteering always leaves me with a “feel-good” attitude and a sense of accomplishment and higher purpose.

At Michigan State, there are so many avenues through which one can volunteer that the amount of service opportunities can sometimes become overwhelming, but there are many resources available to help you find an opportunity that is right for you. If you live in Michigan, you can even qualify for a $1,175 scholarship just for volunteering during the calendar year. More information about the Michigan Service Scholars program is available at the Michigan Campus Compact website here. If a similar program is available in your state, a simple web search should most likely yield the appropriate results. By the way, the only way to volunteer at a hospital as a college student is through a college program so you should consult your college’s volunteer services office if this is something that you wish to pursue.

Visit Professors and TAs during Office Hours

Office Hours are probably one of the most underutilized academic services on campus. In a January 17, 2013, post on Skyo, “How to Do Well in College: Get Advice at Office Hours,” Josh Bernstein said that you must “meet with your professors to do well in college,” and I can see the immediate effects. Because of the scholarship I received, I was required to get signed grade reports periodically during my first semester. It was during this time that I discovered the real value of office hours. I found myself asking questions about class material and striking up general conversation. For those of us who will be applying for admission to graduate school, the relationships that we develop with our professors and TAs are going to be very valuable down the road, one of the most important being the potential for strong letters of recommendation.

Join Student Organizations, Clubs, Fraternities, Sororities and Intramurals

Every college and university offers many different opportunities for students to get involved and interact with each other. These opportunities include Greek life, various student organizations, clubs, student government, intramural sports and a variety of others. When Evan Bruin, a Zoology and Pre-Veterinary Medicine senior at Michigan State was asked to name one opportunity he regretted not taking during his freshman year, he said, “I regret not joining any clubs big time.” While I did not join any clubs or organizations during my first year, I did take the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and attend all of the orientations and events that the University set up specifically for freshmen and I was able to connect with some great organizations that I am currently considering for this upcoming fall. I encourage you to attend all of the events that your university sets up for freshmen, if not only for the free stuff. I am well prepared and educated on the options and choices that I have for this upcoming semester just by going to these events. It’s always better to have the information and not use it than to wish that you had it later. Julie and Lindsey Mayfield provide additional tips for getting involved in their “5 Reasons for Getting Involved in College—And How to Go About It” post on the U.S. News and World Report website on September 13, 2011.. By the way, if you can’t find something that peaks your interest, many colleges offer the option of starting your own registered club or organization provided you follow the guidelines.

In summary, I hope that I have left you with a desire to learn more about the different opportunities that come with your newfound independence in college. But don’t limit what you do to just what is included on this list. After all, college is a completely fresh start full of exciting opportunities that you should discover for yourself. Everyone has their own unique experiences during the first year, and the possibilities truly are amazingly endless.


Please post any comments, questions and your own tips in the thread linked below.