OPINION: College advice for the Class of 2022

A fan cheers on the K-State men's basketball team playing Texas Tech in Bramlage Coliseum on Feb. 10, 2018. The Wildcats lost to the Red Raiders 66-47. (Logan Wassall | Collegian Media Group)

Upon entering my first year of college, I had no clue what to expect.

I was an out-of-state, first-generation college student. How was I going to pay for college? What classes was I going to take? How would I make friends?

The questions grew day by day, but when I stepped on campus for the first time, it all made sense. I wasn’t entering college with all the answers, but I was entering with an open mind.

For some of you, you may be a first-generation college student. Some of you may have been raised in purple and surrounded by Kansas State your whole life. Whatever the circumstance is, this opportunity is completely yours.

As a current junior at K-State, I think I have figured out this university, so now I impart my wisdom to you, the class of 2022.

1. Be open-minded

For many, you are going to be introduced to new ideas, new people and a whole new environment. Whether you were raised in a big city or a small town, you will experience so many new things.

My freshman year, I lived in the residence halls and was exposed to people from all walks of life. I switched roommates, I joined Greek life and I found my best friend within the span of two months. I was going through so many changes and felt like I couldn’t keep up with it all, but I decided to remain open-minded.

I’m telling you this so you understand that you will face many new obstacles, both good and bad, but you must be adaptable and prepared for these new opportunities.

2. Get involved

Yes, the residence halls are wonderful, and eating at the Derby Dining Center with your floor mates is exciting, but you also need to branch out.

Write a list of activities you like or want to try out. Attend a career fair at K-State. Go to different organizations and meet new people.

My first semester, I wanted to meet people who wanted to challenge themselves academically and wanted to make memories of a lifetime. I got involved in great organizations and made amazing friends. I joined a sorority, got involved with campus leadership positions and started doing undergraduate research.

I think it’s important you also understand that it is OK to say no. Not every organization is for you and that is okay. Whatever you do, I encourage you to get involved your freshman year.

3. Appreciate Manhattan and all it has to offer

In the midst of all your studying, you need to take time and pause. During this time, I encourage you to explore everything Manhattan has to offer.

Go to the football games and cheer on the Wildcats. Eat all the free food that you can get around the Student Union. Drive up to Manhattan Hill with your friends and share stories over half-price drinks from the Sonic Drive-In.

Find a place to volunteer and serve the community. Search for the perfect coffee shop so you can study there on any given night. Hike through the Konza Prairie to watch the sunrise with your friends from your residence hall. Hammock at Tuttle Creek and have a bonfire with old and new friends.

Whatever you decide to do, appreciate your four years in the place that will capture your heart forever.

As you begin this new journey, I encourage you to fully experience all that K-State has to offer. You have the power to change a generation and make a name for yourself, so pursue the life you want and don’t look back.

Monica Diaz is the social media editor for the Collegian and a junior in mass communications. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

I'm Monica Diaz and I graduated in May 2020 with a degree in broadcast journalism and Spanish. I severed in several roles while working for the Collegian, but most of my work focused on rebuilding the Collegian digital brand with an increased social media presence. I also worked on KKSU-TV and appeared as an anchor on MHK All Day in my last semester on campus. In my spare time, I enjoy a good cup of coffee and spending time with family. I have a passion for journalism because I believe that everyone deserves to have their voice heard.