Word From the Wise – aka “First Year College Student”

As you may remember from my fall entry, I theoretically designed new flyer for my high school college counselor’s bulletin board with three things I wish I would have known prior to stepping foot onto my college campus. Now, having completed my first year as a freshman, I’m looking back on January when my high school hosted a “College Life Panel” held for the juniors and seniors. It consisted of a dozen students from my graduating class who attended a variety of institutions for college. I attended a big state school along with a few other students on the panel; a few private schools were in attendance, as well as a few highly selective schools.

 We shared with the juniors and seniors our experiences as a first semester freshman, “back at the bottom of the totem pole,” as my college counselor said. The most common remark from my classmates was regarding relationships with professors. All twelve students stressed to the high schoolers that taking charge of your education is key. Sit in the front row. Go to office hours. Talk to your professors. Take initiative, don’t just wait for your grades to “get better.” It’s in your hands.

The panelists also spoke about Greek life, having cars on campus, handling a college workload, and meeting people. One of my favorite pieces of advice given by the panelists was to put yourself out there. It seemed like simple advice to me, maybe even common sense, until the panel. If I hadn’t gone to dinner with people in my residence hall, gone through sorority recruitment, and joined a few committees, I can honestly admit that I would have probably been miserable. My college friends are my backbone; they encourage me to focus on my academics but also know when we should take a step back and de-stress a bit.