From the NY Times OP-ED last week. Click the link for the whole article.
“College is your chance to see what you’ve been missing, both in the outside world and within yourself. Use this time to explore as much as you can.
Take classes in many different subjects before picking your major. Try lots of different clubs and activities. Make friends with people who grew up much poorer than you, and others much richer. Date someone of a different race or religion. (And no, hooking up at a party doesn’t count.) Spend a semester abroad or save up and go backpacking in Europe or Asia.
Somewhere in your childhood is a gaping hole. Fill this hole. Don’t know what classical music is all about? That’s bad. Don’t know who Lady Gaga is? That’s worse. If you were raised in a protected cocoon, this is the time to experience the world beyond.
College is also a chance to learn new things about yourself. Never been much of a leader? Try forming a club or a band.
The best things I did in college all involved explorations like this. I was originally a theater major but by branching out and taking a math class I discovered I actually liked math, and I enjoyed hanging out with technical people.
By dabbling in leadership — I ran the math club and directed a musical — I learned how to formulate a vision and persuade people to join me in bringing it to life. Now I’m planning to become an entrepreneur after graduate school. It may seem crazy, but it was running a dinky club that set me on the path to seeing myself as someone who could run a business.
Try lots of things in college. You never know what’s going to stick.”
— TIM NOVIKOFF, Ph.D. student in applied mathematics at Cornell