The college experience offers not only academic and social opportunities, but a variety of other unique experiences as well.
Most parents expect their college student to work hard in the classroom, and they generally acknowledge that a certain amount of socializing will be part of their experience as well. But there are many other opportunities that, while not unique to campus life, are certainly more readily available there—things like films, lectures, and concerts.
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My first recommendation is to ask your child if he or she is aware of the cultural events that are happening on campus and, if so, whether or not they've been able to take advantage of any.
My second piece of advice is to take advantage of some of them yourself, if possible. Many times, the things that are available to do on college campuses are open to the public.
If you live near your child's college campus, look into attending some of them yourself. If not, plan to attend one or two when you visit, and investigate what the college campuses near you have going on. These events are a great way to expand your horizons and be a part of a different community of people.
All week, I've been looking forward to this moment. It's the event I've been reading about on Facebook, Twitter, and flyers around campus. I look around and see the anticipation I am feeling mirrored on the faces of my friends around me. Perched on the edge of my seat, I wonder what it will be like, how I will Tweet about it afterward, and—wait, shouldn't it have started already?
No, I am not at a concert or celebrity appearance. I am at an intimate breakfast with CNN political analyst Candy Crowley, sponsored by the University of Kansas School of Journalism.
Many of my friends would say their favorite aspect of college is meeting new people, or attending sporting events. These are some of my favorite things, too, but the thing that I love most about being a college student—and one of the most unique things about college campuses, in my opinion—is the opportunity to attend countless events, lectures, and workshops that are only available to college students (and are often free of charge).
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In my first four semesters at KU, I have seen top political analysts, historical experts, touring comedians, a Tuvan throat singing group, and Bob Woodward, one of the reporters who broke the Watergate scandal story. Where else can a person attend such a wide variety of events and speak to such a wide variety of relevant people?
Many college students take advantage of sponsored events such as concerts and movies, but I'd guess that few are aware of the other cultural, academic, and career-based opportunities happening every day on campus.
So, college students, go to the sporting events, hang out with friends, waste time on Facebook, and take long naps. Do those things you can only get away with in college.
But college is also about getting an education, and I don't just mean within the classroom. So here's one of my biggest tips for college students: Challenge yourself to be curious, know what's going on around campus, and utilize the types of opportunities that are only available to you during those four years.
You'll be surprised at what you find interesting—and how much you learn about yourself along the way.