A Letter to Freshmen
I won’t start this off as one of those stereotypical “Odyssey” letters you see posted all over Facebook, but it might behoove you to read what I’m about to suggest. Freshman year of college, for me, was incredible. Being placed in a new environment, joining clubs, meeting all different kinds of people and being on my own for the first time was a thrilling experience. However, I recognize I’m in the minority in this view. College life can be intimidating, no doubt about it, but you can survive, and I’m about to explain how.
As an Orientation Adviser, I know first hand the amount of sessions you had to sit through that were based on involvement on campus and how boring you probably thought they were (not to mention all of the icebreakers). Every session you sat through and every ice breaker we did was for a reason; to help your adjustment into college be as painless and as smooth as possible. I sat through them too, and at the time I held the same view you probably did. I’m pleased to say that looking back at my orientation experience as a sophomore, I’m grateful for having so many of those sessions. I’m not going to tell you that those sessions are what made me as involved on campus as I am today, because that just isn’t true. What I’m hinting at is these sessions planted the seed in my mind and made me want to become more involved, and I’m incredibly thankful for them. As of right now I am a writer for The Factory Times, an Orientation Advisor, vice president of Poly Pride; and a member of a few other clubs. My confidence came from these sessions and icebreakers that you’re all forced to participate in. Without them, I can honestly say I wouldn’t have run for the three leadership positions I currently hold, nor would I have become such an active student on campus.
If you’re taking FYS, you may be thinking “This is stuff that I already know.” However, that class gave me valuable information about things I hadn’t given much thought. As a new student, it’s okay to feel confused, overwhelmed or lost, and as much as I wish I could tell you these things will go away within the first few weeks, it’s simply untrue. What I can say is that FYS helps diminish these feelings. In my short time assisting an FYS class, I’ve learned that the information taught is strategically planned to help your transition. The reason for attending club meetings or the club fair, convocation, etc, is so that you can see how to get involved and how beneficial it can be. I know you might see it as a hassle to attend these things and break your normal routine, but try to enjoy them. If you go into these events with a positive attitude, you may learn something and find something you really like! Getting involved on campus and taking advantages of such opportunities has shaped me into who I am right now, as cliche as it sounds.
Going into college, many expect the experience that you see in the movies: being best friends with your roommate, attending frequent parties, having a tight knit group of best friends right away, the list goes on. I’m here to tell you right now that most of those expectations aren’t accurate for anyone, and that’s entirely okay. You don’t have to be best friends with your roommate, sometimes getting along and respecting each other’s boundaries is good enough. Not having a tight knit friend group within the first semester of college isn’t necessarily a warning sign. Think of all the friends you made in high school. You probably didn’t become best friends within 2 months, it takes time. Don’t worry, you’ll cycle through so many different friend groups throughout your college career. Take it from me, I’ve been through quite a few.
My final piece of advice is to relax. Everything will fall into place eventually. College is meant to be a learning experience. If you don’t take advantage of the opportunities it presents you might miss out on a great adventure. Take some time to become involved, go to that CAB event, join The Factory Times, go to that club meeting, make new friends; and learn something new.
A previously overwhelmed freshman