To the college student

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Since I graduated from college, I have had a few students ask me what college was like, and specifically what my college, the University of Richmond (UR) in Richmond, Virginia was like. So, I thought I would share my response with the blog.
Dear student,
I am glad to see that you are thinking of going to Richmond. I am going to give you some overall advice and share some stuff from my experience in Richmond that I hope will help you wherever you choose to go. First and foremost, I loved 90% of all the classes I took at UR. The professors in the sciences were excellent and it is easy to form a personal relationship with all of them. They make themselves accessible outside the classroom, and UR as a whole is really open to working with you to make sure you learn more about whatever it is that you want to know. I started out as a Chemistry major and preMed, but through following new interests, I finished as a double major in Biology and Latin American and Iberian Studies (Spanish). The social life at UR was not great though. The campus feels very isolated and small at times and it is extremely easy to get so involved with your frat or sorority or club or clique that you can lose sight of the big picture.
All that being said though I had a great “net experience”. College is what you make it. You are going to have good times and bad times. College offers so many opportunities and new perspectives that it can be overwhelming at times, but if you can come through it with a couple of things that you are truly passionate about, then you look back and remember more good than bad. This is what I mean by a good “net experience”. Awesome shit (interesting lectures, good friends, relaxing times, good teachers, getting a good grade when you know you worked for it, parties) minus the bad shit (stress, failed relationships, blackouts, bad teachers) equals a net experience.
Do not get too caught up in being preMed and forget to experience college. Richmond offers great preMed advising and services. Because of many of these programs, I got into all of the med schools I applied to in Texas, although I decided not to go.
What people tend say about college is that it was the best time of their lives. I think this is not only sad but untrue in many ways. First of all, and forgive me for the cheesy cliche, but you should strive to make every day great, even though every day won’t necessarily be great. Find what makes you happy and do it, or more realistically, find what make you happy then get a job that can help you support it. This is a daughting task, and it is really hard to do at first. In fact, in the digital age it is becoming increasingly hard just to leave your desk, couch, or from wherever you are starting at this screen.
 To find what you are passionate about, you really have to put yourself out there and try new things. I love rock climbing. I found it in college and had never even considered it before, but I hope I do it for the rest of my life. If you are doing community service, don’t do to for your resume, find something you like and stuck with it. Help others find some happiness.  I worked with the same class of middle school students with learning disabilities for three years, and it was incredibly rewarding whenever I saw a smile on one of their faces.
Additionally, to reintegrate college is a “net great experience in your life there are shit times and good times, but hopefully more of the latter. It is the same if you choose to study abroad, you are out of your comfort zone a lot, but you see so many things that you never would have had you not just gone for it. As mrs frizzle says “take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!” Experiment! As long as you stay positive and open (to a limit, which you must figure out for yourself) you will look back on college, as a whole, as a great experience. Just don’t get caught up in having the best time all the time. There will be shitty moments. But there are so many great ones once you look for them.
It won’t be easy, but there is almost always something to be gained from every intellectual, spiritual, physical, and emotional challenge. So, challenge yourself.
I wish you both all the best!
-Brian
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