Freshman Year

How to Make the Most of Your Freshman Year

The transition into college is a tough one for a lot of new students. High school doesn’t teach you a lot about the balance of a college workload and maintaining the trifecta of mental health, good grades, and a fulfilling so-cial life. College is a whole new world where suddenly a new independence is thrust upon you, and you can handle that freedom in whichever way you desire. While you may enter Monmouth afraid of making friends, managing your time, or fitting in in this big sea of new people, every other student has been there before. If you are a new student reading this article, then get ready for some weight to be lifted off your shoulders. A range of upperclassmen are here to provide their insights into the freshmen year struggle and how to make the most of your new beginning.

One of the biggest things freshmen stress out about is managing their time. Justin Robinson, a senior communica-tion student, recalls being nervous about the balance of homework and other commitments. “The biggest thing I was stressed out about was definitely time management,” he said. “Understand that your parents aren’t here, and you’re completely responsible for everything. Its all on you now.”

While the workload can seem overwhelming at first, there are many ways to utilize your time effectively and stay on track. “Have a calendar with you at all times!” recommended Bianca DiPreta, a sophomore health studies student. Maintaining a day planner, setting aside certain hours each week for focusing on studying, and meet-ing up with classmates to work together are just a few tactics to keep up with assignments without getting in over your head.

Lorna Schmidt, Director of Advising, stresses the importance of new students taking responsibility for themselves now that their parents aren’t here to help them out with everyday decisions. “Most of their challenges are going to be not having family right there. They’ve got to handle roommate problems on their own, they’ve got to handle issues with professors they don’t like on their own, and there’s not somebody there to do it for them,” she explained.

At Monmouth, we’re lucky to have such small class sizes with professors that strive to get to know their students. Because of this, it’s important to speak up in class and show your professors that you take your clas-ses seriously.  John Maurer, a junior communication student, recommends participating in class discussions. “When you enter a class, sometimes no one speaks and the professor is the only one talking, and it’s just awkward for the professor and for the class. All questions are usually good ones.”

Another way to earn your professors’ respect is to be honest. “I encourage students to take re-sponsibilities for themselves” Schmidt says. “You’re an adult now; be the person that you want to be when you leave here. If you miss an assignment, don’t make an excuse. Apologize and move on. The fewer excuses, the more respected you’re going to be. Professors will take you at your word.”

Outside of the classroom, a new stress pops up: making friends. You’ve left the comfort of your high school friends behind, and who knows if you’ll find people you love just as much? Jacqueline Giacalone, a senior pub-lic relations and journalism student, stresses the importance of not forming early opinions of anyone you meet. “Jump into everything headfirst. Don’t judge anybody because you might not expect who your best friends are going to be,” she reminisced.

Bennie Kanzler, a senior business marketing student, worked with the New Student Orientation staff for two years, and has firsthand seen what the transition is like. “A lot of students are so worried about making friends and getting involved right off the bat. But I always tell students that they just need to put themselves out there,” she explains. “Go to events they wouldn’t normally go to, join clubs they might not have joined before, and make sure you’re not hiding in your residence hall.”

Chiming in on the participation advice, Schmidt added, “Get involved! You’ll meet the best friends of your life in those organizations… it’s how you start to feel like this is home.” Monmouth has a huge variety of student led organizations, from the SGA and SAB to intramural sports and many other clubs and activi-ties. Getting involved is something most upperclassmen recommend to fully immersing yourself in Mon-mouth’s community.

Starting college can be scary—when have you ever been this independent? But something you’ll hear from any student you ask here is that everyone is absolutely in love with this University.

These are going to be the best four years of your life—so get in-volved,  manage your time wisely, and make the best of these life changing years.