Here I am, starting my final year at UNA. As I sit back and think of my first three years, I try to remember what I would have liked to know as a freshman starting in a new place very different from high school. I did not want to be lectured to, rather I wanted advice. So here is my advice to the class of 2019:
1. Talk to your professors
The first few weeks are prime time to get to know your professor. As the semester begins and classes become more challenging, they will always help you, but it helps them to know who you are and how you learn. They are not to be feared as they want to see you succeed — it does not benefit them to see you fail, but they want you to take the first step to successful adulthood.
2. Pace the Dining Dollars
Too many semesters I’ve run out of dining dollars halfway through. While you will come to see Towers as a blessing in disguise, taking a break from buffet-style food to enjoy a pizza or bagel can be immensely satisfying — but not if you’re doing it three times a day.
3. When in doubt, ask a librarian
This is probably the most important advice I can give. I went two years without going to a librarian and my junior year I discovered the raw power of knowledge in a meeting with Librarian Leigh Thompson. The librarians can help you find information for your paper from the three floors of books and can guide you through the ominous and overbearing amount of online sources provided through the electronic database.
4. Balance, balance, balance
You are embracing being on your own, and I get it. But understand being on your own includes feeding yourself, clothing yourself — for God’s sake cleaning yourself — among other responsibilities. There is time for playing pingpong in the Lion’s Den Game Room. There is time for playing a game of basketball in the Student Recreation Center. There is time for work. There is time for study. If I had used a planner my first semester, I would have been much less stressed trying to balance everything in my life.
5. Utilize your resources
UNA is truly a unique school in that the faculty and staff want to see you succeed. Use all they offer, whether you go to the Center for Writing Excellence for tips on writing a paper, meet for tutoring at the University Success Center or learn more about the Freshman Frenzy, or attend a FOCUS Mathematics Learning Center session with other freshmen. Engaging these resources early can help you make an A and if you could make an A, why settle for less?
6. Talk to your roommate
I have had five roommates during my time at UNA. My first year, I was very stuck in my ways and closed-minded. I felt my roommates had nothing in common with me and I was not interested in seeing if they did. Roommates can be helpful, insightful and provide assistance with classwork, social life and just general conversation.