freshmen

5 Pieces of College Advice for Freshmen

As a senior I’ve been thinking back on my college career and there are a bunch of things I wish someone told me. I’m the oldest child so going into school I was completely unprepared. Here are a few pieces of college advice I wish someone gave me before freshman year:

1. Make Friends in Your Classes

5 Pieces of College Advice for Freshmen

Even if it’s awkward to put yourself out there sometimes, it’s awesome when you make friends! There are many benefits to having a friend or two in a class. If you miss a class you can get the notes you missed, you can gain a study buddy and if the class is boring you have someone to suffer with (misery loves company)!

2. Communicate with Your Roommate

5 Pieces of College Advice for Freshmen

I can not stress this enough. Communication really is key. There were so many fights I could have avoided had I just expressed my feelings to my roommate. Start by saying “This make me feel like this” instead of “You did this and you did that.” You don’t want your roommate to feel like you attacking them. If you can’t resolve the issue I suggest you look to your RA for guidance. It’s a bonus if your roommate is also your friend. You wouldn’t want to lose that opportunity over a small argument.

3. Read, Read, Read

5 Pieces of College Advice for Freshmen

Any class that requires you to read, DO IT. I know it’s boring and time consuming, but I promise it will help you greatly. Not only read, but keep up with it meaning as the professor assigns it do it. Don’t wait until the night before the exam to read. You most likely won’t be able to do it and you won’t be able to retain the information if you do get through it.

4. Hand Write Your Notes

5 Pieces of College Advice for Freshmen

In today’s society computers are all the craze. There are positives of typing notes but the negatives are far greater. The internet is full of distractions from online shopping to online games to social media. A lot of professors put their PowerPoint slides online so there is really no reason to type them out. Handwriting notes has been proven in multiple studies to be a better way to learn and retain information. It helps to have the PowerPoint slides up on your screen and take notes on paper about what the professor says.

5. Work Now, Party Later

5 Pieces of College Advice for Freshmen

You’re going to be in school for four years. That means four years of parties and fun. Do not make the mistake of getting wrapped up in the party scene. The reason you’re there is to get an education. I know you’re probably hearing this from your parents and family members but it really is important. Is going out to that party more important than failing that exam? Probably not.

I hope these pieces of college advice can help you during your college career. I know they would have helped me four years ago! Have anything to add? Drop them below.

How to Spend Your Summer Before Freshmen Year

How to Spend Your Summer Before Freshmen Year

Congratulations, you did it! You roughed it through four possibly awkward, possibly tiresome, and hopefully meaningful years of high school. By this time you’ve already made your decision on where you’ll be heading in the fall and whether it be near or far, you’re probably feeling something between the lines of panic and complete excitement. However, despite the possible restlessness of wanting to (or perhaps not wanting to) start freshmen year of college as soon as possible, it’s important not to wish this actually very important summer away. Here’s why:

As a soon to be college senior, I’m constantly thinking back to points in my college career and wondering how I could have done things differently. Although I don’t regret too much, I do wish that I hadn’t spent the summer before freshmen year of college wasting away and waiting for the day that I could finally move into my new dormitory. And yes, normally summers are for resting, and considering you’ve just spent the last few weeks (still are spending) preparing for finals, finishing up senior projects, stressing about prom, and anticipating graduation, you’re probably exhausted. So by all means, take a rest, but also take into consideration that this summer is the best time to discover some great things about yourself before the impending stress that college and preparing for the real world take over. With this being said, use this intermediate time between graduating high school and starting college to solidify yourself before starting the next chapter in your life.

One of my biggest suggestions is to try new things. If you’ve wanted to learn an instrument, do it now. If you have an interest in photography? Start taking pictures! Like writing? Try out all of the genres! Finding something that motivates you separate from school, work, and your social life is one of the best things you can do for yourself, regardless of what it is or how good you are at it. By enjoying something and watching yourself improve at it, It allows you to achieve a stronger sense of self-efficacy. The reason why the summer before college is a crucial time for finding or strengthening this interest is because colleges offer a haven for interests. Whether it be classes, clubs, or lectures, you’re bound to meet people who share your interests as well as having a space to take this hobby to the next level with a multitude of resources and support. So use these months to enjoy your skills or find new things you love doing because it will pay off.

Another important thing to do before starting school is spending as much friends and family time as possible. No matter how annoying your family is, you’re going to miss them more than anything in the world once college starts, especially if you’re going far away from home. And you’re obviously going to miss your friends. When you’re away at college, no matter how great of a friend you are, keeping in touch is difficult. With school stressors and trying to make new friends, it’s easy to lose touch. This summer make sure to collect as many great memories as possible. Hang out with your dorky parents, make time for your grandparents, travel with friends, and most importantly, take millions of photos! You’ll thank yourself come autumn.

Last but not least, use this summer as a time for self-reflection. The past four years of high school shaped you as a person. Consider all of your accomplishments as well as your downfalls and piece together how they sculpted the person that you are today. Learn to appreciate everything that you learned in high school, and not just the lessons that you were taught in the classroom, because they’re going to truly help you adapt in college. The way you interacted with others, how you learned to deal with stress, and anything else that challenged you made you, well, you. And soon you’re going to deal with so many other things that will inevitably shape you even more. Use this summer as a moment to take a breather and recognize yourself before things start moving too quickly again.

So kick back, try new things, make time for friends and family, and recognize yourself because this summer might be one of the last summers before taking on a lot of responsibility. Most importantly, enjoy it and never wish for time to pass faster!

Considering Your Future Through Each Stage of College

Freshman Year:

 stage1

 This is your time to explore. Take a variety of general education classes and see if you discover a subject you never thought you’d have an interest in. Your freshman year is a great time to expand your horizons. It’s better to figure out what you really want to do sooner rather than later, so you have enough time to graduate on time if you make any changes to your plans. Sure, you might be coming in to college knowing what you want to do, but you never know. You could take a gen. ed. at the end of your junior year and realize your passions might lie elsewhere. Take advantage of the variety of courses available to you to make sure you know all of your options before you commit to anything.

Sophomore Year:

 stage

Continue exploring, but start narrowing it down. You’re usually expected to declare your major by the end of this year, so you should start to seriously consider your passions so you feel more comfortable committing to a particular field of study and/or career path by the end of your Sophomore spring semester. Figure out if you want to take on a double major or perhaps some minors and certificates. Do your research to see what the requirements are to make sure you have enough time to complete them so you can plan accordingly. Talk to your advisor throughout this process, he/she can be very helpful. This is also a good time to start thinking about the campus organizations that can be useful for your future career once you start to figure out what you want.

Junior Year:

 stage 3

You might be able to get away with waiting until the middle of this year to officially declare your major, but you should be paying close attention to the requirements of the major or majors you are considering. If you want to be able to graduate on time, this is crucial. This is a good time to start applying for internships if you haven’t already. Internships have basically become a necessity for college students hoping to get full time jobs after graduation. You should also be figuring out what your options are for after you graduate: Grad School? Medical School? Law School? Straight into your career? Take a year off to travel? Get a job teaching English abroad? You should look into all the options you’re interested in so you know what you have to do to make it happen. Look at the application process for different programs and/or jobs. Do all the research you can and there will be fewer surprises. You’ll be much more relaxed if you’re prepared.

Senior Year:

 stage 4

At this point, you should be pretty clear about your plan. There’s still some time to make decisions about your post-graduation plans, but don’t put things off for too long or you run the risk of delaying your progress. There are deadlines for a lot of your options and you don’t want to miss them or you might have to wait a year. Make sure you’re keeping up with your current academic requirements so keep in touch with your advisor so you stay on track. Make sure you do everything you need to do for graduation so it will be less stressful. Graduation can be an emotional time so minimizing your stress will make the whole process less overwhelming.

How to Score an Internship

College students are hard pressed for time; that’s why it’s so difficult to prepare for events a few months in advance. Although school keeps you busy, just remember that the main reason you’re attending college is to get a better job after graduation. Besides good grades and extra-curriculars, a part-time internship is one of the best ways to make yourself stand out from the rest of the applicant pool. Internships allow students to get a taste of what it’s like to live in an office and understand the ins and outs of the workplace. Although a lot of degrees require an internship, it’s never too early to head start (that’s right, I’m speaking to you Freshmen). Having more than one internship under your belt makes you look all the sweeter!

You can always go to your university career center for advice on places to intern. However, if you are anything like me, you have no idea where the career center is, and don’t have the time to schedule an appointment to talk about your interests with a random adviser you’ve never met. There are many different ways to find an appealing internship, even if you don’t know what career you want to delve into. Here are a few tips and ways to find internships between eating ramen and cramming the night before a test:

Make a Flawless Resume and Cover Letter. In order for employers to take you seriously, your resume must be written to perfection. If any grammatical errors exist, you will more than likely not even be considered. Don’t freak out though (it’s only your future career at stake), just take some quality time on it, and have others (that you trust) make suggestions/corrections to create the best resume you can. Consider the same steps for your cover letter, making sure you are showing this possible employer you can fulfill their needs.

Networking. This is one of the most important things you can do while in college. Knowing someone in a company you’re interested in can easily get you a foot in the door. Network through previous employers, teachers, friends, and even other family members. If face-to-face doesn’t suit your style, there’s a little thing called social networking. Use LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and/or Google+ and talk to people about what position you’re looking for. There is bound to be someone along the way who can send you in the right direction.

Attend Job Fairs. Employers know that there are students looking for jobs, especially those who are Juniors and Seniors. Make sure you stand out at these–no, that doesn’t mean you should wear a plaid suit–by showing employers your interest. Be confident and do your research on the companies that intrigue you. Asking the right questions about a company will make representatives remember you, rather than just being a name in a stack of papers.

Look at Multiple Job Site Search Engines. There are plenty of websites out there such as CareerBuilder.com, Monster.com, LinkedIn.com, SimplyHired.com, Craigslist.com, etc. These will give you an idea if any particular employers are looking to hire, what kind of job postings there are, and what jobs are available in your area. These are great resources for finding opportunities you may have never considered.

Happy Hunting!

 

Willhelm

I’m reading Campbell Biology