Make the most of your college career
As my career at Rensselaer comes to an end, I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on the lessons I have learned over the past four years. I hope these takeaways provide some guidance for those of you looking to optimize your time at Rensselaer or even induce some productivity.
I cannot stress enough the importance of becoming involved in your department. This is one of the best ways to network with professors you have yet to take a class with or upperclassmen who are already two steps ahead of you. Make your face known; show up to department events; join a club centered around your department. Get to know the people who embody your curriculum. This is something I was encouraged to do myself as a freshman and it made a world of a difference in my undergraduate experience. I met wonderful, caring people in the department administration, got advice on courses from upperclassmen, and joined a community I would have otherwise missed out on.
If your main department is large, seek out a smaller community to join. This leads into my next piece of advice —try new things. Whether that means joining a professional society, or pursuing a dual major or minor, you should widen your skillset. Although having a specialization in your field of engineering, science, etc., is valuable, it’s just as important to strengthen some tangential skills that would differentiate you from others. This will enable you to meet new people, exercise different parts of your mind, and learn new skills.
Lastly, stay active and prioritize doing so. Take care of your well-being and destress with a workout. Doing something active doesn’t need to take place in a gym. Take a yoga class, go skiing, go on a hike, swim. Give your mind the time to focus on something non-technical and improve your mood. I couldn’t recommend this enough. My largest pitfall has been prioritizing coursework or Netflix over a workout. The truth is, I gain more from a yoga class than from cramming for an hour.
Perhaps my advice can be categorized in one phrase: don’t be lazy. These four years at RPI will be over before you know it. The worst thing you could do as a senior is reflect on your college career and think of regrets.