By Wiwin Hartini
I transferred from Clark College last year, and my first term at PSU was overwhelming. I was still adjusting to the longer commute, and my classes were more difficult. Making friends posed the biggest challenge.
Coming from a society where most of your peers are your age has a disadvantage. I did not know how to interact with people from more diverse backgrounds such as returning students who also work. I did not know how to make friends. I was too shy to start conversations with people, and I decided to just go home after my classes. I really want to share how it all started to change.
I learned to make good friends on campus by being involved, working on campus, participating in clubs, creating a study group, and volunteering. I started working on campus as a tutor during my second term at PSU, and it has allowed me to grow as a student. I learn from the students I meet and my coworkers as well. I worked for PSU Capital Projects & Construction as student support. It taught me about the history of each building at PSU, which I always enjoy sharing with my friends when I am giving them a tour.
One way to find “study buddies” is to actually start sitting down with different groups of students who are working on homework. I did not do this until I started taking power engineering classes where labs are part of the class. I had to talk with my peers and started getting to know their studying styles. Now, I usually study in the power engineering lab with my friends.
When it comes to volunteering, there are many organizations or events that are always in need of volunteers. I volunteered once at a different university for the MESA event to help an Intel employee who was giving a presentation about the supply chain. From this event, I got to know the presenter a little bit, and we are actually working on inviting him to PSU to give a presentation to PSU students. Volunteering not only allowed me to meet other people but also to learn from their experiences.
I would also say that students should have the ability to make their college experience fun in their own way. It’s beneficial to define and write down what one wants out of college. I love studying the technical knowledge related to Electrical Engineering, but I thought something was missing; non-technical skills. I wanted to be more involved, and joining student organizations has worked very well. ICSP (International Cultural Service Program) has allowed me to make new friends from other countries. IEEE Eta Kappa Nu allowed me to learn about organizing events in addition to attending a Student Leadership Conference on the East coast.
Which club will you join?