by Seev Lee
Hello future leaders, my name is Seev Lee! I am majoring in Human Services Leadership and currently in my last semester of college! I cannot wait to graduate.
This moment is truly bittersweet. As my days here at UW Oshkosh begin to come to an end, I begin to realize all the opportunities I wish I would have taken and the time I should have invested in doing things I was passionate about. If I had all the knowledge that I did now, back then, I would have done college differently. Here are some tips on making the most out of your college experience.
Be a pro at choosing classes!
What are you interested in?
Now that you have a choice as to which types of classes you take, choose the ones that interest you, not because your friend is taking that same class. When you are generally more interested in the topic of the class, you have more motivation to go to class and learn, which leads you to doing better in those classes.
Know how to drop classes and seek help
One week into a class, and you are really not feeling it or you know it is going to be too difficult, there are a lot of resources to help you through the class and if it comes down to it, it is okay to drop a class. There is a date, a couple weeks into a semester, where students can drop a course with no penalty. Be sure to know that date just in case. Talk to an academic advisor right away about your next steps if you want or plan to drop the class. It is important to not fall behind on credits. If it is a required class and there is no way around it, seek tutoring from the Tutoring Center at the Student Success Center. Create or join a study group for the class and meet up regularly to do homework together and study together. If there are Supplemental Instruction sessions for the class, attend them regularly. Never be afraid to reach out to a professor if you are not doing well in the class. They will see that you are trying and that you want to do well, and that you are not just slacking. Utilize those office hours!
New Professor? Nervous?
You can do research on your new professor and the classes before taking it. You can use RateMyProfessor to look up what other students who have taken the class have to say about the professor and the class. This will help give you an idea about the class material and/or the tendencies of the professor. Take all the information with a grain of salt. Not every professor is for everyone, because we all learn differently. Someone may say they don’t like this professor, but you may end up liking them. Some may say that the class was really hard, but maybe it won’t be. This goes vice versa as well. Our professors are really passionate about the work that they do. You are not going to love every class or professor you are going to meet, but the connections you make with them, will last a lifetime, whether it be in the academic or professional world. You never know when you may need a recommendation letter from a professor for a scholarship, internship, or job.
You know yourself best.
Are you more of a morning person or an afternoon person? Choose classes during a time when you will be the best you, so that you will be able to learn and absorb the knowledge. If you know that you NEED to take a nap between 2pm to 4pm every day in order to function, do not choose a class during this time. Most likely, you will fall asleep in class. If you know that you cannot wake up at 8am for class, try choosing later classes. There will be some classes that you have no choice in, so be prepared to wake up at 8am. Have a regular schedule you follow, but leave room for fun. You can use Outlook Calendar, Google Calendar, your phone calendar, a planner, anything to keep track of your week. Put in your classes, time for studying, time for sports or the gym, time for your extracurricular activities, time for swimming, and even time for eating (trust me on this one, sometimes you get so busy or caught up in things you might forget to eat, so if you are forgetful like me, put it in your calendar and give yourself an alarm to remind you). When I said leave room for fun, I really mean it. A lot of clubs and organizations have meetings, programs, or activities planned for later in the evening around 5pm to 9pm. There are so many things to do on campus every single day!
People say it all the time, but seriously, I wish I would have done it. The one thing I regret the most was not studying abroad. I kept telling myself that I did not have the finances for it, but I was just too lazy. I didn’t want to do all the paperwork for it, but honestly, it would have been worth it. To hear all of my friends’ experiences from all over the world, I wish I would have given myself that opportunity. If you are like me, someone who comes from a lower-income family, pay for your own college, and don’t have a job, you can still study abroad. There are lots of scholarships that not a lot of people apply for because they don’t know about them. These scholarships can help you study abroad without you having to spend too much money. I have friends who started GoFundMe pages for their trips, and people who asked for donations from organizations on campus. If you are truly interested, attend the Study Abroad Fairs and visit the Office of International Education to get more answers. There are people and resources available to help you, as long as you are willing to work for and put in extra time and effort to get that help.
Yes, your number one priority is academics, but your college experience is so much more!
Opportunities for adventure and fun on campus
There are over 180 student clubs and organizations to join. These organizations hold lots of programs and fun activities throughout the week. You just have to look at posters around campus and your email for information on what is going on throughout the week. If you find something fun to do, add it to your schedule. There are also a lot of fun and educational programs and activities you can attend. Some professors may require it for class or for extra credit. I highly recommend stepping out of your comfort zone and attending things you would not usually do. It may feel awkward at first, but you might end up liking and appreciating it. Attend Taste of Oshkosh! You get to meet almost all of student organizations, job opportunities around the greater Oshkosh community, and you get lots of FREE things! You honestly would not need to bring any cups or pens to college with you, because you will most likely get a lot of them for free.
Utilize your campus resources!
There is always something fun going on! The Rec and Wellness Center is open almost every day, depending on the weather and holidays. The Outdoor Adventure Center always has fun activities to do in nature ranging from hiking and camping to canoeing and snowboarding. They have all the equipment you need as well so you don’t need to worry about hauling your things to campus. The Student Involvement team in Reeve Union also plans a lot of fun day trips! They have taken students to the Magnificent Mile in Chicago, the Kalahari in Wisconsin Dells, as well as paintballing and many other really fun day trips! A majority of these activities can be paid with through your Titan Dollars, which is the currency here at UW Oshkosh. You receive these Titan Dollars with any meal plan you choose. These day trips are also super affordable and really fun! I have gone to Chicago multiple times with friends and wish I had gone on many more trips! You can always find these postings all over campus and at the Student Involvement desk in Reeve Union.
There are also so many resources that are there for you to utilize. They may not apply academically, but they apply to your well-being and health. When you are healthy and well, you do your best work. Resources I have utilized are the Counseling Center, the Women’s Center, Polk Library Research Assistance, the Multicultural Education Center, the LGBTQ+ Resource Center,
Have fun in the Oshkosh community!
The Oshkosh community is really great! Downtown is only about a 10-minute walk from campus, and a lot of stores are accessible by city bus. There is are so many fun things to do downtown and on Main Street. Things that I have loved doing are going to the farmer’s market that is open until the end of October, playing Pokemon Go around downtown (there is a great discord group in Oshkosh and we have lots of fun), painting at the Fire Escape, and enjoying brunch at Pilora’s Café (their cornbread pancakes with walnuts and locally made maple syrup are the bomb.com). The campus is also really close to the river, so if you are a fisher like me, it is a small walk or a quick drive to anywhere along the river to throw a few casts. Or you can enjoy a nice walk or run along the river! Some people have rented roller-skates and bikes from the Rec and Wellness Center and rolled along the river as well! There are also so many amazing places you can do volunteer work at in Oshkosh. Have no car? No worries! The city bus can get you there and back! Or you can rent a bike from the Outdoor Adventure Center!
College is a lot of fun, and very rewarding, but you have to put a lot of effort and hard work into it in order to get the results you want. Get involved on campus, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. The people are truly amazing. They are always willing to help you out or get you to someone who can help you. That is something I know I will miss. I felt like someone also had my back and the answers to my questions. The people there want you to succeed, and are prepared to help you succeed! You are given the chance to grow and prosper as a human being, take those chances to better yourself.
Go and join a club or an organization, make friends, go to events, and enjoy your time there. Use all the resources you can in order to be successful, whether it be academically or personally. I wish I would have started sooner and taken on more leadership roles on campus. Be the president of an organization! Start your own! The possibilities are endless. Be who you want to be. There is a leader in all of us. The chance to be amazing is at your fingertips. Use your time here wisely and best of luck to you!