Move to a big city; challenge your narrow mind.
The need to “get out” of your hometown isn’t always simply the desire to move away from your parents: into a dorm room on a college campus where you can essentially do whatever and whoever you want. This need can stem from the realization that your circle of friends are just like you: they’re from the same cultural and racial background, share the same economic and political footing, and often agree with every last opinion you have. Your life has become stagnant and fixed; you need to get out, to learn.
Join Debate and realize that you’re never going to be a lawyer.
One of the first things I did when I arrived at BU was attend SPLASH in the heat of an early September Sunday amongst a sea of overly eager freshman. I signed up for debate club. It was one of the few clubs presented that was self-explanatory and familiar (considering my father is a lawyer, I knew he and my family would encourage this activity). The days, months, and years went by until I finally realized that I had been blindly attending the meetings and tournaments; there was no passion in this activity and I could no longer stay.
Serve the community and understand just how much social justice, fighting for the underdogs means to you.
One of the best things I believe I have done at BU—for the community, and for myself—was volunteer at three very important organizations: Compass On the Bay (a retirement home), MCI Framingham (a women’s prison), and Black and Pink (a pen-pal system for incarcerated adults that also advocates for prison abolition). My time spent volunteering with the CSC and the coordinators of these organizations made me realize just how important it is to fight the institutionalization of stigma.
Go abroad and come to the conclusion that America was never meant to be a forever home.
Studying abroad shaped me. It threw me to the wolves more times than I can count. For example: my wallet was pickpocketed in Madrid, my two friends and I had to find our Air B&B on a French map with no help from a GPS, I had to teach an English class to refugees in Dublin, etc. It was in these moments that I realized I love learning about myself and more importantly, I love learning about new things in foreign countries; I can’t stay put.
Meet relatives that don’t speak a word of English and talk to them for five hours.
Croatia, thank you. The country that has my heart. Croatia introduced me to my “long lost” relatives who didn’t speak a lick of English but, nonetheless, still wanted to know everything about me and my father, people who greeted us with a platter of meat fresh from their butcher block; when they found out I don’t eat meat, they didn’t understand my American morals at all but still made me my own personal platter of Croatian cookies.
Take classes outside of your major and find one that sticks.
Literature, a.k.a. English—I cannot recommend it enough. The class sizes are small, the professors vigorously interact with the students, and the conversations are dynamic, often times a stark difference from more common majors and minors at Boston University (in my case, Psychology).
So, in summary, Boston University boasts of its academic prestige, but it should be most proud of the experiences and the “accidental lessons” it creates for students. It’s a saying as old as time; it’s also a true one: ”the most important lessons are the ones not learned in school,” and these lessons shape you, they become memories and experiences that stand the test of time, unlike high school and college GPAs.
featured photo credit: SGPhotography77 <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/53191569@N04/10154918515″>B – Day 276/365</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>