The Do’s and Don’ts of freshman year

Dear Freshmen,

Here are a couple of tips for you to make the transition to college easier:

Figure out where your classrooms are the day before class:

Listen, college professors aren’t as scary as people make them out to be. If you try hard and you come to class and participate sometimes, they are usually pretty nice. But you don’t want to be that freshman who walks into class late on the first day, because you couldn’t find your room. Everyone one will stare at you, and though that eventually won’t bother you, it will your first day.

Don’t wear your ID around your neck:

Yes, everyone puts their IDs on their Gannon lanyards. And you might think it’s convenient, or even a badge of honor, to proudly to display it around your neck. It’s not. The only people who do that are freshmen and tall basketball players. Basketball players can get away with it. To all you other freshmen, just tuck it in your pocket or stick it in your bag. It’s a little way to blend in with the upper classmen

Don’t clog the halls with big groups:

I know you’re really excited to hang out with your 15 new best friends, and I don’t care what you do in the freshman halls.

But when I’m on my way to class, I really don’t feel like having to veer around big groups of people.

If you feel the need to stand around in Palumbo or wherever, do it in small groups and off to the side, so people can easily get through.

Go to the clubs and organization fair, and sign up for SOME things:

Extracurriculars are important in college, and this is coming from someone who loathed the idea of joining silly groups when she came here. Go to the fair, and sign up.

For one thing, every table has free candy. In fact, sign up for a few things. Not 20 things. You will need time to study, and socializing is very important. But joining a few things that you are actually interested in can be a great way to make friends and figure out what you want to do with your life.

Don’t feel pressured to sign up for something just because the person at the table is nice. Trust me, he or she won’t be offended if you don’t.

Clubs want people to get involved who actually want to be there, and everyone has a thing they want to do. If you don’t know what it is now, you’ll figure it out eventually.

But don’t rush:

I didn’t join The Knight until the end of my sophomore year, and I’m glad I didn’t. I wasn’t ready before that to get really involved in a club. You will be surprised how much you change and grow in college, and part of that comes from being open to opportunities. But you have time.

I don’t care what your mom, or your high school guidance counselor told you, you don’t have to rush into anything.

There is no blueprint for what your college experience should be like, so throw away all those college guides and advice you got from people who knew better. College is what YOU make of it and what YOU want. And you’ll figure it out.

Temporarily forget the people at home:

I don’t care if your boyfriend is the most awesome guy in the world. I don’t care if the two of you were prom king and queen. I’m not saying you should break up with him, but check your girlfriend/boyfriend/best friend at the door. Right now you’re here. So be here. Instead of calling that person every night, hang out with your roommate. Maybe they seem foreign to you right now, but eventually they may be the best friends you have ever had. You’re here for four years, and your boyfriend isn’t.

Don’t be afraid to make different friends:

The older you get, the more you will realize that the people you should be friends with dress in a variety of ways and like a variety of things. Be open to being friends with people you weren’t in high school. You aren’t going to be best friends with everyone, and that’s fine. But don’t be afraid if your friends come from unexpected places.

Be yourself:

It’s the lamest phrase in the book; but it’s true. Everyone is trying to fit in and be liked. Just be open and friendly, and realize that everyone else is in the same boat you are.

Don’t expect to be best friends with your roommate:

It may happen, it may not. Certainly, don’t immediately decide against that person, but don’t worry if you just don’t click. There are many opportunities to make friends elsewhere.

Try something new:

Always wanted to try out for the school play, but afraid your jock friends would make fun of you? College is the perfect time to finally go for your dream. In high school only certain people are allowed to do certain activities, but in college it’s cool to be renaissance men and women.

Figure out a way to study:

All freshmen have to enroll in a first year seminar where some geezer will stand up in the front and tell you all the right ways to take notes, blah, blah, blah. Personally, I think you’re all smarter than that.

If staying up all night works for you, do it. Some of you may never study; some of you may study all the time. Some of you may find college easy while other may find it hard.  Just make sure to listen to yourself.

It may take time, and your first semester may hit you hard, but eventually you will find the methods that best work for you.

TESSY PAWLOWSKI

[email protected]