Nov. 1, 2014

Fresh advice for freshmen

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September 4, 2014

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There are countless lists on the internet that give freshmen advice about how to succeed in college. These lists are usually a bit misleading, as they present you with several ways to prepare for college, but very rarely give you advice on how to thrive once you’ve arrived on campus. My list will offer five bits of advice, which are by no means set in stone, but which might serve as useful tips for the class of incoming freshmen.

Tip 1: Meet people.

You’re going to be thrust into an environment that is likely much bigger than your high school, so this will happen whether you like it or not. Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, meeting people will benefit you not only freshman year, but for the rest of your college career and beyond.

You don’t have to be “best friends forever” with every new person you come in contact with, but you should try to get to know as many individuals as you can. If you accomplish this freshman year, you won’t need to worry about it as much down the road.

Tip 2: How do you make friends? Be friendly.

You might think of this as a no-brainer, but that doesn’t make it less true. People like to hang out with folks who make them feel good about themselves. The more you ask people about themselves and make them feel important in your life, the more interest they will take in your life and activities. Once again, you don’t need to go way out of your way to make friends. Just offer an amiable demeanor to the folks you come in contact with regularly.

Tip 3: Redefining yourself can have pros and cons.

Many people talk about the process of reinventing themselves in college by means of engaging in new activities. However, we need to be specific in this regard, as redefining yourself can either improve your college experience or significantly detract from it. Perhaps you’ve come to college with the ambition of redefining yourself physically via dieting (which shouldn’t be hard with the food here) and regular exercise. I’d say that’s a noble and beneficial avenue of self-improvement.

Perhaps you’ve chosen to come to college with ambitions of never studying, partying five nights a week, and being that kid who throws up in the washing machine on weekends. I’d say that’s a less beneficial route to take. My point is, it’s fine to try new things, but don’t feel like you need to change the person you’ve been raised to be for the last 18 years.

Tip 4: Have an obscure or slightly nerdy interest? Congratulations, you’ve come to the right college.

If you’re interested in something no one in high school found cool, you’ll find it here without breaking a sweat. Are you a Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones enthusiast? There are hordes of twamps dying to meet you.

I’m not saying there’s an extra-curricular club for every single interest you may have but you will undoubtedly find countless students with hobbies or passions similar to your own. All you have to do is find them and, trust me, that won’t take long.

Tip 5: Enjoy yourself.

College is known as the best years of your life for a reason, as you’re experiencing freedom and activities you haven’t had access to before. Try to have fun. You are here to learn, but you’re also here to enjoy yourself.

Email Ricky Tischner atrstischner@email.wm.edu.

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Ricky Tischner

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