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Making the most of your first semester at Krannert

Students pose for a photo in fall break trip.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Before coming to Purdue, I had so many questions. Would I make any friends? What clubs should I join? How can I use all the resources Krannert is giving me? At the beginning, it was overwhelming as Krannert, the Larsen Leaders Academy, and Purdue supplied me with tons of information on how to make the most of my time at Purdue. Throughout my first semester, I learned how to take all of this information and use it in a way that was useful, yet manageable, to me. Below are some examples of advice that I heard and ways in which I made it my own:

1. Join clubs that interest you.


For the first couple of weeks, I grasped at any call outs that sounded interesting to me. Usually, after the call out, I got a sense of what the group was all about, and I narrowed down my choices from there. Eventually, I decided on two groups, The Exponent and College Mentors for Kids. Neither is specifically related to Krannert, but they allowed me to explore my other passions. As a campus staff reporter for The Exponent, I get to talk to so many different individuals about a wide range of topics and then write articles that inform and entertain other students. With College Mentors for Kids, I am paired up with an elementary school student, and each week we hang out for two hours and do a variety of activities. My first semester would have been incomplete without these experiences. 

2. Network, network, network


Some Krannert students were born for this. Others, like myself, were not. As a Krannert student, this was one of the things that I was most nervous about before starting. Talking to strangers about my future professional career does not come naturally to me. Instead of worrying and ignoring the problem, I prepared for the things that I could. One of my favorite ways of doing this was meeting with Wendy Dukes at KPDC. She helped me craft my resume, my LinkedIn profile, and gave me advice on classes, conferences, and any other questions I had. Another way was by attending a pre-SMEF information session with LLA. We went over elevator pitches, meeting recruiters, and even got the chance to practice with other students and staff. Finally, in October, I attended the Doster Leadership Conference. There, I learned how to pull all of this information together and put my best foot forward for the future. Many of the senior group leaders, alumni who worked for many years already, were there to talk about anything at all, and it felt more comfortable than walking up to recruiters. While my experiences are unique to me, these are only a few of the many different resources, sessions, and conferences Krannert offers to their students.

3. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. 


College is all about stepping outside of your comfort zone. This is especially true when it comes to making friends. Since I came from a small school community where I went to school with mostly the same kids from kindergarten to senior year, this was one of the things I was most nervous about before coming to Purdue. Along the way, I learned that the most important part of making friends is putting yourself out there. In my case, I wasn’t the only one even on my floor that was nervous about reaching out. After the first floor meeting, a group of six of us stuck around trying to start a conversation. It was awkward at first, but eventually, we started talking about ourselves and things we were nervous about, and the conversation flowed from there. A group of us even planned a fall break trip to Kentucky and Tennessee only one month later. Another from that same group will be my roommate next year. It can be hard to reach out, but more likely than not, everyone else is nervous too, and it just takes that initial conversation.


Kim Cahoon is a first year student studying Economics and Finance who plans someday to become a corporate lawyer.

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