A Senior’s Guide Through Freshman Year

Upperclassmen Give Tips to Freshman for Their First Semester

guide_through_freshman_yearThe first week back to college: a week of reuniting with friends, catching a few more beach days, and relaxing before the semester’s work begins.

For freshman, the first week can be a little different. In fact, it can be overwhelming, scary, and very, very confusing. They might not know their roommates, they definitely don’t know where their classes are, and this is probably their first time living away from home.

Walking around campus, especially as a senior, I can spot freshman off the bat. They look a little more lost, confused and panicked than the rest of us. They also look much younger. Did I look that young three years ago? No. Definitely not. Probably.

For a moment I felt the nostalgia of high school, being the oldest on campus. Except being a senior in high school meant you were off to college soon. Being a senior in college means you are off to the real world soon. Not as cool of a feeling.

As a group of freshman walked past me, lanyards around their necks, frantically looking from schedule to building, I smiled. I remember being in that position. We were all, at one point, in that position. So fear not my freshman friends, it definitely gets easier. Just to help you out though, here are some things I wish people told me.

Go out of your way to meet new people. I know, this is obvious; of course you will meet new people. You have a new roommate, you have multiple classes full of new people, and you see new faces at parties. If you came to college with a group of friends, you might stick to them for comfort and think hey, I have my group of friends. Don’t get me wrong, this is awesome and they will have your back when things are tough, especially in the beginning. But it definitely doesn’t hurt to reach out and find new friends too.

People say you meet your best friends in college and it is absolutely true. I have met some of my best friends here. It might be a bit awkward at first, but think about it, if you feel awkward, chances are everyone else does too. So talk to the person sitting next to you. Ask them where they are from and what they think about the class. If someone new invites you to the dining hall, go with them. You’ll probably have more things in common than you thought.

Get involved. This is huge, especially at a smaller school. Getting involved helps you meet new people (see above) and experience things you wouldn’t have otherwise. There are so many things to do in college and there is probably a club to fit any interest you have. From Greek life, to outdoor clubs, to team sports, you can get involved in anything if you go out and try.

This is something I wish someone told me. Or, maybe more so something I wish I listened too. My parents definitely told me to go to events and to see what was out there, but freshman year I had a “too cool for school” attitude. I thought I didn’t need to do anything but go to parties and take naps in my twin XL dorm bed. Nope. Wrong. If anything, being involved makes freshman year much easier and much less stressful. And hey, it doesn’t hurt to put on your resume that you were involved in something all four years of college.

“Take advantage of going to the beach while it’s still warm out!” says Michelle Levash, a senior English major. “How many people can say they go to school just down the road from the Jersey shore?”

Seriously. Go to the beach! The beach is beautiful all year around, even when there is snow covering it. In fact, a snow-covered beach is really cool to look at. I have also found that the beach any time of year is extremely peaceful. Whenever you are feeling stressed out, especially mid-semester, take a walk. Take a breather. Get your thoughts sorted out. Trust me, it works. And enjoy it while you can, not too many people get to live down the shore all year long!

“Prioritize; it will make or break you,” said Malik Johnson, a junior communication major.

Short, sweet, and to the point, but probably the most important lesson there is. Don’t be like me and procrastinate. Don’t be like me and wait until hours before a paper is due to start it. If a paper is due in a month, look at it beforehand. Research it a little more than necessary. I promise you will get a better grade this way, and I promise you will save many sleepless nights.

You might have received a planner the first week of school, and if you are like me my freshman year, you might have thrown it out. Do not be like me and throw it out. Write in that planner. Keep track of homework, assignments, quizzes and papers due in that planner. Take that planner to class with you. Make that planner your friend! This planner will help you prioritize and help keep track of what is due, when. Keeping track of everything gets very stressful, especially if you try to do it all in your head. If you write everything down, you will be organized and your life will be easier.

“It ends,” said Aaron Fergason, Associate Communication Professor. “You better have a plan as soon as you start, don’t wait until your done.”

I could write an entire book on tips for freshman year, but I think I should end this off with the final tip being enjoy it. Freshman year really is the best year in college. This is the time to meet some friends that you will keep forever. This is the time to go to parties and have fun and live on your own without too much responsibility. This is the time to start your life.

You will learn so many things and have so many new experiences that will shape and change you. And it is all amazing. Enjoy it while you can, before you know it, you’ll be a senior too. And it’s okay everyone, I still get lost between Edison and Howard too.

PHOTO TAKEN by Kiera Lanni