Moving to college or taking classes soon? Your campus is a great place to explore and get involved in. Here are a few things you should try in college to better experience the campus and community.
Register to Vote
If you’re new to college, you’re most likely in the 18-22 age range. You probably haven’t voted before. Vote! You can register in your hometown and receive an absentee ballot if your college is away from home. Alternatively, you can register to vote at your college and get involved in local politics. As a student, you are an important but underrepresented demographic. In the 2016 election, only 48.3% of college students voted. And guess what — that’s a higher number than the usual turnout. In the 2012 election, only 45.1% of students voted.
You don’t need to be a political expert to vote. Read up on the basics of your local and state elections and decide what your feelings are about ballot issues. Ask political science professors and students for explanations on complicated issues. Often colleges have on-campus polling stations or shuttles to the nearest polls so you don’t need to worry about transportation.
College is a great time to flexibly experience political involvement and hone your own ideas, plus you get to know the opinions and demographics of people you share a campus with.
Note: If you register to vote on campus, make sure to change your address when you move off-campus. In general, it’s recommended you change your address 14 days prior to a move so your important mail reaches you instead of another student.
Try Something Other Than Walking
Don’t be one of those people who scoffs at long boarders and skaters zipping around campus! Not only is using alternative transportation on campus fun, it’s a physical challenge. On top of that, you can get to class just a smidge faster.
Hoverboards and scooters have been surprisingly popular options lately, but choosing something more conventional and inexpensive like a bike, skates, or skateboard is also a great idea. If you don’t have a car on campus, having basic transportation like a bicycle also makes it easier to visit off-campus locations like the grocery store or movies. Everyone needs some time off campus occasionally.
You may also find a fun community to dabble in. Don’t be afraid to try something radically new to you. Around 11 million people say they enjoy skateboarding on a regular basis, but whether you try longboarding or rollerblading, don’t be afraid to try something completely different. Guaranteed that there is some kind of community like that on your college campus.
Help Plan an Event
Colleges offer a lot of free and inexpensive clubs and events, but don’t just participate in ready-made events. Plan an event for students and staff on your campus that celebrates some of your own interests. It can be as big or little as you like. Do something small and intimate like celebrate a holiday your family follows, host a dinner, or set up a game tournament. You could go bigger and organize a charity function, special on-campus dance, or a service trip. Not only does it look good on your resume to build organizational and leadership skills, it lets you create a niche for yourself and other like-minded people on your campus.
College is a safe time to explore interests. You have a lot of influence on your campus as an individual, and a lot of opportunities that your college is willing to provide for you if you work for them. Take advantage of your opportunities and influence, and make the most of the years you spend on campus!