Fall is upon us once more and with the dawn of this new season comes the start of another school year. For some of us, this means moving back into old dorms, catching up with friends from previous semesters, and preparing for classes with familiar professors. For others, this new semester is a gateway to the next step in our lives, with new freedoms, new responsibilities, and new experiences. To those new to our campus, and to the wide world of college in general, things can seem very daunting at first, like navigating uncharted waters. To help ease your fears and guide you into a great start to your college life, here are six things that seniors and alumni wished they knew as freshmen.
Top: Ryan McCourt, Alyssa Bramwell, and Dakota Scarborough. Bottom: Dylan Carrasquillo, Tyler Frayer, and Gina Castro.
Have you ever been told to treat your years at UWF like a full-time job? Well, according to our first senior, that’s not bad advice. Look at your years at UWF like an opportunity to work your way into your career field.
1. “You may learn many skills during your college career, but the most important of all is networking. Talk to your peers and your professors; opportunities don’t come looking for you, you find them by becoming an active member of the community.” – Senior Ryan McCourt, Software Engineering
But who says college has to be all business with no play? This alumni says the key to a great college experience is to let your hair down.
2. “College isn’t just school, it’s an experience. Focus on your studies but make sure you get out and become a part of everything that college has to offer. Join Greek life, join a club, go to events at school, and most importantly savor the friendships you make, because they may last you a lifetime.” – Alumni Tyler Frayer, Technical Theatre
On the other hand, college may seem overwhelming at first, with so many activities and so little time. This next alumni suggests that you take things at your own pace and find your own balance between classes and recreation.
3. “Slow down, we all travel different paths and we are at different points on that path. Just because someone is further than you doesn’t mean that you aren’t progressing. Also, have fun, but make sure that you set safe boundaries with others and yourself. It is important to have time to have fun and relax, but there needs to be a healthy balance of fun and work. You need to work hard, but if you don’t take the time to enjoy yourself and let go of the stress, you will struggle.” -Alumni Dakota Scarborough, Theatre: Acting
Worried about fitting in with other students? One alumni faced this problem her freshman year as well and came out of her situation a whole new person.
4. “I wish I had known how welcoming people can be if you just try to include yourself. I spent my first year as a newbie not involving myself in much of anything because I just didn’t know anyone. Once I actually tried to be more involved than just showing up, I definitely felt like I was getting more out of the program as a whole. You get out of your time what you put into it.” -Alumni Alyssa Bramwell, Theatre: Stage Management
Sometimes, the things you need to get started in college are more practical rather than emotional, like this senior’s advice on how to choose professors and when to get supplies.
5. “One tip that I learned from another senior is that, when choosing classes, always look up the professor. Sometimes you will find a professor that doesn’t fit your learning style. Secondly, always wait a week before you buy your textbook, they may not always be required and, if they are, you can either rent them or find them at the library.” -Senior Dylan Carrasquillo, Psychology
Last, but certainly not least, a piece of advice from the founder of The Argonautica, a senior herself, offering tips to stay organized, and get involved.
6. “One, always use a planner. It takes quite a load off of your brain when you rely on your planner to remember all of the due dates instead of your already preoccupied brain. Two, remember to enjoy the small stuff. After graduation, you won’t get to enjoy the free CAB events or UWF football games.” – Senior Gina Castro, Communications/English