The Freshman 15: Things to know for your first year

Brianna Sheen

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Erin Henderson, undecided sophomore, plays trashcan pong in the green space next to the Clark Student Center Wednesday evening at the greek cookout on Aug. 27, 2014. Photo by Lauren Roberts

Erin Henderson, undecided sophomore, plays trashcan pong in the green space next to the Clark Student Center Wednesday evening at the greek cookout on Aug. 27, 2014. Photo by Lauren Roberts

1.Go to class. Lectures can be boring, especially at 8 a.m., but missing class will catch up to you. It’s easy to miss important instructions and some classes count attendance as part of your final grade.

2.Get to know your professors and adviser. When people know your face, it’s easier to talk to them when you have an issue. Build up a network of people who may one day write you a reference.

3.Take responsibility. If you arrive late to class or forget to turn in an assignment, a simple apology goes a lot farther than an excuse.

4.Don’t stress about your major. The first years at college are spent mostly on basic courses, so if you’re unsure on a major, you have time to figure it out before you start major-specific courses. Take a variety of courses each semester – not all from your major.

5.Keep track of due dates. Whether it’s in a planner or an iPhone app, make note of due dates and events. The act of writing (or typing) it solidifies the information in your brain. Block off time for studying, working and relaxing. Stick to it.

6.Get to know the people you live with. In dorms, you’re surrounded by people going through the exact same thing as you. They’re the best resource when you’re stressed, have a question you’re too embarrassed to ask upperclassmen, or need to borrow detergent at 3 a.m.

7.Do the extra credit. Most classes don’t even offer it, so if your professor gave you an extra credit assignment, do it.

8.Ask for help. Adjusting to the schedule, freedom and expectations of college can be hard. Go to your RA if you have questions. Check out the Mustangs Advising Center for academic help. Make a free appointment with the Counseling Center for personal or career counseling.

9.Expect to have your limits pushed. Even the best students can run into trouble trying to adjust to the new school environment. There will be times when you can’t get it all done. It’s okay.

10.Dress to impress. Some people can go from move-in to Thanksgiving before a trip home to mom’s washer. That’s no way to live. Make use of the free laundry rooms while you can. Turning a shirt inside out does not mean you can wear it again.

11.Get involved, but don’t overdo it. Attending events put on by the University Programming Board or joining a club can help you make friends and relax.

12.Keep an updated resume on hand. The one that got you hired in high school won’t cut it, but the Career Management Center can help you update it or start a new one. Join LinkedIn.

13.Try the right new things. College is one time where you can explore new things (mostly) free from judgment. Join a club you never would’ve considered, take an elective from a different major, say hello to strangers.

14.Get connected. Friend request people in your classes or names you hear around campus. You never know when you’ll need lecture notes.

15.Clean up your online presence. Even if you delete it, the stuff you post online never really goes away. If you don’t want your boss, professor, or grandma to see it, don’t post it.

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