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April 3, 2013 / NextStepU

5 ways to explore all that college has to offer

Starting college means the benefit of newfound independence and freedom. While you should try not to get too carried away with that freedom on weekends, when it comes to the classroom, embrace freedom and exploration as much as you can!

1. During your first few semesters, there will be no pressure to immediately declare a major. Advisers and professors know that the first few semesters are all about adjustment and exploring new academic terrain. This opportunity, and this freedom, is something that shouldn’t be taken for granted, however. In a few years, you’ll be set on a major and be busily scheduling your next semester based on the required classes you still need to complete. Unfortunately it only adds to the stressors of college, but don’t sweat it for now; you’ve got all those credit hours to fill and literally hundreds of classes to choose from. So which ones will it be?

2. Take a variety of classes during your first few semesters. If you think you know your major and area of academic focus upon entering school, believe it or not, you just might change your mind. Don’t load up your first semester with tough biology courses only to find that science isn’t for you! Instead, keep it varied. Take a couple science classes here and a few art history classes there. You’ll never know what you’ll discover that you might like — and what you might not like.

3. College is designed for flexibility; it lets you pursue multiple interests. By checking out different classes and academic fields, you could discover a subject that you like, but don’t love. That’s just fine. Let your major be your area of academic focus, but toss on that other well-liked subject as a minor. Graduating with a well-rounded and diverse degree can only help you out in the future. While it sounds corny, college puts so many fields of knowledge before you, that not dabbling as much as you could would be a wasted opportunity.

4. Conversely trying different classes can help you discover what you’re not good at. You’ll assuredly have a decent idea where your academic strengths lie, but a subject you loved in high school can feel entirely different in college. Just be sure that while you’re exploring, you’re also trying to fulfill some general education requirements. Perhaps history was your favorite high school class, but the amount of reading required for college-level history turned you away. Well, at the end of the day, you still fulfilled that history requirement needed to graduate. By branching out, you’re guaranteed to find some classes you frankly don’t like, but at least you’ll fulfill course requirements, which is important if you plan to graduate.

5. There will always be plenty of social activities to keep college fun, but varying the classes you take can make the work-related side of college more fun too. With a schedule that contains three or four classes of all the same subject, even if it’s your major or favorite subject, it’s bound to feel monotonous by the end of the semester. So do yourself a favor and mix-up that course load while you can!


— Keith Gillogly, DormCo

For more college- and dorm-life tips and insight, follow DormCo’s blog at Check out for all your dorm-shopping needs!


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