Freshmen are encouraged to prepare for college experience

I’m sure the last thing you all want to hear is more advice about going to college.

You’ll soon find, though, that some of it really is helpful. And in a few years, you’ll probably discover that giving advice to incoming freshmen is actually a lot of fun. So if you’re expecting anything other than an advice column from me, you might as well avert your eyes right now.

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re probably living in one of Gannon’s freshman dorms. Sadly – or maybe happily, depending on who you talk to – I have been a commuter student through my time at the university, so I have no advice for coping with your roommate’s slightly less than pleasant odor.

I do, however, have advice on the rest of your college experience. Unless you’re a math major – forget that.

In case you haven’t heard this yet, go to your classes. Just do it. Even if you stayed out way too late last night, or you think you’re smarter than your professor and don’t need to go, you never know when you might learn something. And if you’re not looking to learn, then you’ve probably made the wrong choice in coming to Gannon.

I have never regretted the decision to come to Gannon, and I hope that most of you will be saying the same thing in three years. It’s a wonderful school, and we’re all lucky to have been given the opportunity to come here. So take advantage of it. Join clubs, play sports, write for your beloved newspaper; but most importantly, do something.

Another piece of heartfelt wisdom is this: Don’t expect to come out of college the same person you were when you walked in.

Looking back, I can hardly recognize the person I was in the fall of 2009. I was a 19-year-old with no self-confidence who barely talked to anyone and didn’t think she was particularly good at anything. I never thought I would change.

Like in most cases when I think I’ve got everything down pat, I was completely wrong.

Change, I did. In that first year of college, I somehow transformed from the mild-mannered outcast I had been in high school to the ego-driven know-it-all I am today. I still can’t tell you exactly how it happened, but I’ve never looked back.

I came here with the intention of becoming a high school English teacher. Now, as I start to prepare myself for my final year, I have the intention of doing… something… when I graduate. That something is yet to be determined.

It’s a scary place to be in, to be honest. But since we’re being honest, I have to say that it’s a lot less scary than doing something I know I don’t want to do. Being a high school teacher wasn’t the right plan for me.

And I think that by this time next year, a lot of you will agree with me. No matter how good your intentions are when you leave high school, for most of us that’s way too young to be making huge life decisions. Life is a learning process.

If you take nothing else away from your experience at Gannon, take this advice. You’re not just here to learn how to become a nurse or a teacher or a journalist – you’re here to discover yourself. Don’t put that part on the sidelines.

If you don’t know what you really want to do, that’s OK. Heck, I don’t know what I want to do, and I’m on my way out the door. Just be true to yourself, and the rest will fall into place.

And write for The Knight. That makes everything better.



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