Madeline Hudson is majoring in law and public policy at the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs in Bloomington, but her college experiences have taken her beyond the classroom.
She has traveled through study abroad opportunities to Cuba and India, and is philanthropy chair of Alpha Delta Alpha, an international pre-law fraternity. She’s also a member of IU Model United Nations and has traveled as a delegate, as well as chaired the IUMUN Commission on the Status of Women at its conference for high schoolers. She chose those activities because they support her overall career goals—to work as a policy analyst or research fellow, or perhaps at a nonprofit that does work for people trapped in the criminal justice system—and also because being involved makes college life more interesting.
“Being involved has made my college experience really positive and fun,” she said. “Also, I am consistently floored by how cool my professors are and the amazing work they have done. Professors love students who are engaged and when you foster those professional relationships, you open yourself up to really amazing opportunities for further learning.”
Her advice? “First, stop freaking out. I applied to about 12 universities, including ones I really had no interest in. In hindsight, that was so much unnecessary work,” she said. “Reflect on your reasons for choosing to apply to specific schools.”
Hudson said she had only one criterion for choosing a college, and that reasoning changed after her freshman year. Ultimately, IU—a school she hadn’t seriously considered—was a better fit.
“In high school, I was determined to go to school out of state because I felt like it was more impressive. I succeeded in going out of state, but the school I chose was not the right fit for me,” Hudson said. “I made the mistake of focusing so much on the city I was moving to that I didn’t think about the type of campus community I wanted.”
Adjusting to college isn’t always easy, but is worth it in the end, she said.
“It can be weird and scary to be away from everything you know and are comfortable with but just remember that everyone else is just as scared and uncomfortable at first,” Hudson said. “No matter where you end up, you will eventually find your place on campus and find things to do that you really care about.”