Advice to College Freshmen

College life slideshow
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Meet People

Meeting new people is THE key to a successful undergraduate experience. If you came with old friends, branch out. Whether you came with a friend or two, or you came alone, find an organization you can join. Take up an intramural or recreational sport. Get comfortable with being the one in each of your classes who introduces the idea of swapping contact info in case you have to miss a class or clarify your notes. It's no fun to be out sick and docked for the work if your prof doesn't want to be bothered.

Professors, administrators, TAs (Teaching Assistants), and peer mentors are important contacts to utilize for college success and for career networking later. Don't be afraid to introduce yourself to the Dean of your college, or the department chair of a field you are interested in. Your advisor is there to help you select appropriate classes, help you plan a timely graduation strategy, and can direct you to other campus resources as well. Those letters of recommendation you will need will be worthless if they can't remember you, but powerful if they can.

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Cake Walk

Oddly enough, sometimes the classes you think are a waste of your time and money prove to be some of the most valuable for both immediate and long-term success. If you are fortunate enough to attend a university with a freshman learning community program, take full advantage of it. Remember too, that although that Chemistry or World History course seems more important to your success and worthy of 130% your effort, you might be wrong. Study skills and other seemingly remedial courses are not high-school level. Another paradox is that the brightest high-schoolers often need these courses the most, because they often got by without having to develop consistent and effective study skills.

Travel Abroad

The best time on many campuses to travel abroad is during Sophomore year. You will be able to use the money normally spent on a dorm contract to defray expenses of housing abroad, while still fulfilling university residency requirements. Travel abroad will help jump-start your personality development, making you less insular in your thinking and better able to relate to others.

Equilibrium is the key

Play Hard

Make sure you allow your body and mind to relax. Keep yourself in peak physical condition to guarantee peak mental condition. Unite your inner "geek" with your inner "jock"!

Learn Hard

Work smart. Use good note-taking skills. Turn off your cell phone when you enter the classroom, and while studying (Don't take my word for it: research the research on it). Block out time to study away from roommates, friends, and other distractions. Research has shown that studying in different places helps memory retention, so don't rely on one favorite spot. Make use of your professor's office hours. Go in prepared to ask where your notes are lacking, or with other relevant questions. Early in the semester, go in just to introduce yourself. Not only will it help your grades, it will help when opportunities arise for internships, scholarships, etc. Remember those recommendation letters I mentioned?