Getting the most out of college

Hi! My name is Jenna and I am a senior at Whitman College majoring in Sociology and minoring in Spanish. I grew up in Davis, California. I work as a Senior Admission Intern at the Admission Office. As interns we support the admission officers with their tasks, interact with prospective students, and put on different programs for prospective and admitted students. After working in the Admission Office since my sophomore year, I am excited to be an intern and develop new skills and relationships in this position.

Many people in my life, including adults and friends already in college, were eager and ready to impart their wisdom and advice as I was preparing to go to college. Sometimes it’s difficult to know who to listen to or what advice really helps when individual college experiences can be so varied. Depending on what kind of school you go to or the type of experience you’re looking to have, some opinions are more or less helpful than others. Something I really appreciated being told was that college is not high school. In some ways high school is about preparing you for college, but college is about preparing you for life. And more importantly, it is about preparing you for the life that you want to have. While academics, GPA, and college transcript are certainly important, especially depending on your path post-undergraduate, I believe it matters a lot less than it did in high school. Graduate programs and jobs you apply for want to see what experiences you had, what skills you developed, and how what you learned in college has prepared you for what you want to accomplish. College is about cultivating those parts of you that make you shine and give you passion and energy in your life.

There is advice I wish I had known before starting college that no one ever really told me. Don’t try to do everything. There will be so many activities you want to do, new things to try, and experiences you want to have. Whitman has such a vibrant community with a lot going on, it’s easy to get wrapped up and overwhelmed with everything. Pick a few things. Try those on for fit. And then go from there. You have four years to experience things, take your time and enjoy it. Also, don’t forget the importance of networking. Networking with other students, staff, faculty, alums, and other figures you meet during college can make your college experience richer and help with the transition post-college.  Even if it’s just going to lectures by speakers you’ve never heard of or on topics you’ve never thought about. You never know where you’ll find your passion in life. Networking is your best friend. I was nervous to make those connections, but the more you do, the more you learn what is important and inspiring to you. And don’t ever forget to have fun. Four years of college goes by in a flash so really take the time to appreciate all the experiences and opportunities, both academically and socially.

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