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Summer update: College is nothing like high school

Hey everyone, I thought I’d give you guys an update now that my first year of college is officially over!

My first two semesters at the University of Pittsburgh were amazing, and I made a ton of friends that I know I will have for my entire life. We became very close early on in the year, and it was great having each other to help guide ourselves through our first experiences in college. We’re even planning a road trip down to Nashville, Tennessee — where my roommate lives — this summer, and we’ll be going to Bonnaroo Music Festival, where Paul McCartney, Tom Petty, Mumford and Sons, Macklemore, and a ton of others will be preforming. We’re pretty excited.

Probably the most exciting thing about college has to be the sporting events, especially basketball games. As some of you may know, Pitt has one of the top college basketball programs in the nation and features the #2 ranked student section in the country, known as the Oakland Zoo. Being in the “Zoo” is an amazing experience — everyone around you forms one large family of Pitt fans, and we do really have an effect on the game by distracting the other team and pumping up our own. The football games are a lot of fun, too, and we play in Heinz Field, where the Pittsburgh Steelers also play.

Academically, it was a great experience being able to take whatever classes I wanted and actually get enjoyment out of studying my own interests, rather than a boring high school curriculum. I made great connections with my professors and communicated with them on a daily basis. It’s important to make yourself known to professors and other staff members- you never know when they’re looking for students for valuable research opportunities!

Studying and homework in college is completely different than in high school. There is practically no “busy-work” homework, which makes up the majority of work in high school. Everything is in preparation for the exam. A night of work usually consists of downing a few cups of coffee, reading a chapter out of three different textbooks, and working on an essay due at the end of the week. The work really isn’t too daunting unless you procrastinate, something that we all know is very easy to do… In college, you CAN’T procrastinate or else you will fall behind. Classes move at a much higher pace in college than they do in high school and strictly follow the syllabus.

Getting involved in the school community is also extremely important — not only for yourself to have something to do, but to build up your resume, gain connections and get experience in your field.

I got a job writing for The Pitt News, the University’s official independent student-run daily newspaper. I am now in the editor’s circle, as the Social Media Editor for next year. For this job I manage the paper’s Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts on a daily basis. It’s pretty cool to be able to directly broadcast something to over 10,000 people with the click of a button.

I am also in the process of co-founding the University of Pittsburgh’s Undergraduate Research Journal of Economics. This summer we’ll be sending out a call for papers, getting publishing set up, building a website, and applying to become a university-recognized student organization, which includes drafting a full constitution for the club. It will be a ton of work but it will certainly be worth it when it’s complete.

I also just got a job writing for a very popular Android blog. Android OS and Google have always been a huge interest of mine, and I find myself reading these blogs all the time. I always pictured myself writing for them; now I finally get that opportunity. It should be a great experience and a lot of fun.

I participated in the Pitt Ski Club this past winter, which was a lot of fun, because I wasn’t really expecting to have the opportunity to ski again until after college because I’m away throughout all of the winter months. I also volunteered for the Obama campaign last fall, helping to register new voters around campus, which was a little boring and kind of awkward at times, but it was still a great learning experience.

I didn’t expect to become so involved on campus in my first year, but I’m extremely happy that I did. I’ve gotten a lot of opportunities that I wouldn’t have otherwise had if I didn’t become involved. For example, I wouldn’t be working on the Pitt Economics Journal if I wasn’t working for the Pitt News, because of the people I met in the Pitt News that were also interested in starting an Economics Journal. It’s sort of a butterfly effect, and it definitely works. Experiences parlay into opportunities, and other college students would agree.

Although you may feel that TS holds you back from doing whatever you want to do in life, don’t tell yourself that. It holds you back and changes your outlook on everything. If you go through life like that, you will never reach your goals. Allow yourself to spread your wings and have new experiences, taking any opportunities that may fall into your lap. Don’t shy away from trying something new — you might end up loving it!

I’ll update you guys later in the summer of how Bonnaroo was, how all of my jobs are going, and about my plans for next year! Good luck with the rest of the school year and enjoy the summer!

HarryK

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