One of my favorite things about my time at MC has been my community within the English department. Walking through Jennings Hall (the English building) is a cool feeling, because I'm surrounded by people that love words as much as I do. There's a bond that happens with someone when you're struggling through the same classes together. No matter what you're majoring in, finding community within your major is a vital part of learning and growing.
This seems like a pretty basic thing, but it will help you start your major classes well. One of my favorite parts about taking major-specific classes is the opportunities that the smaller class sizes give you to meet people. Introduce yourself not just to classmates that you don't know, but also to professors you don't know. Simply introducing yourself and saying "hey" to people in your department goes a long way to show them that you care, and that you want to build community.
Engage in Class
Upper level classes are usually more discussion-based. Even if you're not the type to normally talk in class, make a point to speak up. This is your major, so be as engaged in class as possible. Class is a place to be able to learn and process your ideas; don't be afraid to be wrong. Leave your identity at the door, and remember that your performance in class does not define who you are.
Get to Know Your Professors
One of my favorite things about the Writing department is the relationships that I have with my professors. These relationships didn't automatically happen, and they weren't formed solely in the classroom. Talk to your professors outside of class. If you see them on campus or in the grocery store, say "hey." My professors have given me wisdom and encouragement not just about writing, but about life. Get to know them as people. Don't assume that just because you've had a professor for a class that they'll be willing to write you a recommendation letter. These are men and women that you want to have in your corner; learn all that you can from them.
Get Involved in Your Department
Your department will likely have events throughout the semester that are a great opportunity to get to know people within your major. Whether it's special lectures, service projects, or honor societies, take advantage of the opportunities provided. For whatever field you want to go into, being involved in more than just classes looks good on your resume and can also lead to connections for internships and jobs.
Find Your People
There will be people in your major that you naturally connect with. You'll be taking most of the same classes, and you'll find yourselves spending hours at coffee shops together studying and writing papers. My people in the Writing department are Ashton (fellow blogger) and Alexa (my best friend). Last semester, we had several classes together and developed a solid system of reading and critiquing each other's writing. We've written papers, diagrammed sentences (it was as miserable as it sounds), and studied for tests together. So many of my favorite experiences in the Writing department involve Ashton and Alexa. Just like I've found my people, I'm confident that you will find yours. It may take time, but it will be one of the best parts of your major.
I know that everyone's experience in their major will be different, but I also know that getting involved in your major is worth it. Your department surrounds you with people that have similar passions and goals. This is a special kind of community that you'll only find during these four years. Embrace this community and learn all you can.
introvert, blogger, English major