After four long years, I find myself approaching my last finals week at Chapman University, and graduation is creeping up right behind it. It’s well known that when something comes to an end, a person tends to get introspective and really think about the experience as a whole, and I am no different. Now, I wouldn’t call myself a professional advice giver by any means, but with my sister starting her first year of college right after I receive my degree, I have spouted out ideas that can make her time here easier and, just as importantly, more fun.
I could tell you a lot of things–don’t plan your outfit every day, use the library if you want a quiet space to work, take advantage of your professors, and keep up with your work as much as you can–but that’s all been said a thousand times before, and to be completely transparent, they aren’t pieces of advice I’ve followed enough to pass along.
What I can tell you is very simple. If you can, leap at the chance to study abroad. Take advantage of the fact that you aren’t attending college during a global pandemic with travel restrictions like I was. I was finally allowed to travel abroad in the fall of 2022, which happened to be the beginning of my senior year. It was an opportunity I had been applying for since the beginning of my sophomore year (I had intended to study abroad during my spring semester of junior year, which, if given the chance, is the optimal year to do so).
I can’t tell you where to study abroad; that’s something that will be influenced by personal factors like which school is optimal for your major and where exactly you’ve always wanted to go. Personally, I went to study in London, and it was a fantastic experience that I can highly recommend. London had a multitude of historical places to visit, such as Stonehenge, the Roman Baths, and the Tower of London, and its transportation system was relatively easy to learn. However, London is incredibly cold during the fall and winter months, so if you do decide to go there, be prepared.
If you do study abroad, take my advice and do as much traveling as you possibly can. If you end up in a European country, it’s much cheaper to travel to other European countries than it would be to do so directly from the United States. Take the Eurostar train if it’s available; it’s a cheaper option and provides a fantastic view of the countries as you travel through. Collect travel stories that you can tell again and again because as soon as you come back, it’ll be the only thing you want to talk about.