New supplies, new clothes, new start. Freshman year is a chance to redefine yourself, to challenge assumptions, to lay the foundation for the rest of your life. Gee whiz, you say, I’m just 18! So we asked for help, from those who have been there, done that. Below are words of wisdom from 25 upperclassmen and recent grads. See the comments section for additional reader submissions.
As an incoming freshman I wish I’d known I didn’t need to know everything! I was so wrapped up in the idea that I had to know my major, how to navigate campus and the social scene, even how to do laundry. Sometimes the beauty is in figuring these things out organically. To be a successful freshman, you just have to be willing to learn as you go. — Grace Carita, Bucknell University, ’18
The first day of college I was a ball of nerves and I remember walking into my first class and running to the first seat I found, thinking everyone would be staring at me. But nobody seemed to notice and then it hit me: The fact that nobody knew me meant nobody would judge, which, upon reflection, was what I was scared of the most. I told myself to let go. I began to force myself into situations that were uncomfortable for me — for example, auditioning for a dance piece — and the performance was a highlight of my freshman year. Challenge yourself to try something new, something you couldn’t have done in high school. — Ria Jagasia, Vanderbilt University, ’18
DO THE WORK
Go to class! Seriously, unless you are half dead, go! — Megan Taylor, Salem College, ’15
Outline all your papers, and footnote everything. Even if you don’t “do outlines” or think they are a total waste of time, a quick overview of how the paper will be organized will help you loads in the long run. If you find yourself with a half-eaten pizza at 2 in the morning the day the paper is due (with no paper), hey, at least you have an outline. — Casey Chon, Hampshire College, ’18
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