Do explore different majors, Chicago and who you are.
Your next few years depend on the type of choices you make and who you become. It is time for you to explore and learn more about yourself. If you came with a major, is that really what you want to do? Do you know what type of work you will be doing once you graduate? Do you know which classes you need to take beyond the core classes?
Below are a few questions you can ask yourself. You might not know all the answers, but by asking the hard questions early on, you give yourself plenty of time to explore.
What are alumni with this major doing now?
Which classes does the major require?
What kinds of internships have upperclassmen done?
Does this major and/or career track feel like a natural fit? (This is a big one - prepare to ask yourself this one many times!)
If you didn't come in with a major, don't worry. It's perfectly normal to not know what you want to do. If you are in UIC Business, then you know the majors and minors that are available. Start from there. Pick one major and research it, talk to advisers in the Business Career Center (BCC) or talk to upperclassmen who are in that major (How to meet them? See suggestions about student organizations below).
Part of your tuition pays for your CTA U-PASS, which gives you unlimited use of the CTA throughout the semester. Check out restaurants, parks, comedy clubs, meet-ups, museums and any of Chicago's 77 community areas. When you do not have classes or deadlines take the Blue Line into the loop and explore.
Do make genuine friendships
In a new class, everyone's nervous to build friendships, not just you. Strike up conversation, grab coffee or lunch. Seldom can you meet people whose interests and goals are so close to your own. Classmates can become lifelong peers.
Do visit the career center
You are in college to choose the skills you want and start building them toward a career. A visit to the career center is a great first step.
Don't come on campus just for classes
Nearly 80% of UIC students commute, and the longer the commute, the less time for campus involvement. If anything, join at least one student organization. Don't feel bad if you can't make every event; try to pick at least one event every two weeks, and make sure to keep in touch with the members of the organization, even if only via social media. Need suggestions for student organizations? UIC has plenty to choose from.
Don't come to class just for lecture
Don't forget, you share a lot in common with your classmates. Find opportunities to study together and discuss coursework. These discussions can propel your education far beyond the classroom.
Don't come to lecture just to take notes
When the professor is lecturing, participate in the class. Ask questions - your own uncertainties might be those of your classmates as well. Interacting in class is an art. The sooner you start practicing, the sooner you can reap the benefits, which include stronger relationships with your professors and classmates.
If you have any questions or suggestions please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org