Make the Most of Your Auburn Experience
Evan tells us about his Auburn experience and gives tips to help you make the most of yours!
Last week I was driving down Glenn Avenue on my way home from ultimate practice. As I approached the College Street intersection and my car slowed to a stop, a thought hit me. I realized I am in my penultimate year of college. How could this be? It wasn’t that long ago when my family dropped off a misty-eyed, anxious freshman at Aubie Hall. A few blinks later, and I have only three semesters left. As all of these thoughts fill my head, I can’t help but wonder -- have I made the most of my time at Auburn University? Have I wasted any of my time here? How can I improve my Auburn experience in the time I have left?
Looking back on my first year at Auburn is a blur of strange first year core classes, a million new acquaintances and a few new friends. Lucky for me, I was more than prepared for the workload of college classes, so that was never an issue. Instead, I found myself with a lot of extra time on my hands. I would go to class, get homework done, and sit around or sleep until my next class or ultimate practice. In hindsight, I wish I would have spent my free time building relationships with people or finding another hobby other than snoozing. However, it did lead to a pretty stress-free first year. Oh, how quickly that would end.
My major, industrial design, only accepts 45 undergrad students a year. To be accepted into the program, you have to have one of the top 45 GPAs in your class following an excruciating and difficult summer semester. The year I applied, there were around 100 students vying for the coveted 45 spots. In sum, it was the most stressful, emotional and exhausting time of my life. I struggled through most of it, excelled at some of it, and worked the hardest I’ve ever worked through all of it. To put things into perspective, my grandfather died that summer, and I missed his funeral to avoid failing out.
I say all of this in hopes of relaying the full impact that summer had on me. I finished the summer semester above the red line and was accepted into the Industrial Design Program. While it was certainly the worst summer of my life, I can also say that it was probably the single most important 10 weeks of my time in college. In those weeks, I learned an invaluable lesson about valuing free time.
When I came back that fall, I got my life back, I got my friends back, and most importantly, I got my sanity back. Because of that summer, I began to treasure every moment of free time or time spent with friends. From that mindset, I built friendships that will last a lifetime and made memories that will never fade.
A year later, I’m sitting at the red light at College Street and Glenn Avenue, trying to figure out what it’s all been for. I hope to use my experience here to positively impact other students who will soon be in the same position I’m in. If I had to say one thing about making the most of your time in college other than “work hard” or “join a club” (although both of those are good pieces of advice), it would this:
Do not be afraid to be vulnerable. Branch out. Talk to new people every day. Talk to your friends about personal things, beyond the surface. Listen to other people’s beliefs so you can either challenge or solidify your own. Do not let fear of failure or awkwardness conquer your ability to invest in relationships with people. As always,
Be well, Auburn.
Photography: Julia B.