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Sweet Tips for Incoming Freshmen

Posted: August 22, 2012

For my last summer blog, I want to pass on some good tips to incoming freshmen to help you adjust and prepare you for your new life in college!
A view of what awaits you if you're coming to University Park this fall- a tiny bit of Mount Nittany, Beaver Stadium, and Freshmen dorms at East Halls!

A view of what awaits you if you're coming to University Park this fall- a tiny bit of Mount Nittany, Beaver Stadium, and Freshmen dorms at East Halls!

Gathered from a variety of accomplished students in the College of Ag Sciences, the answers to these five questions can help you discover things you may have wondered or worried about as an incoming freshman. But don’t worry—college may be challenging, but it’s also a time for growth and having a good time, and there are plenty of people here who want to see you succeed.

What would you remind an incoming freshman to bring to their dorm?

  • Earplugs
  • Power strips
  • Air fresheners
  • Posters and pictures
  • A big rug
  • A sense of humor
  • Bed risers
  • A fan
  • Umbrella
  • Flip flops for showers
  • Band-aids
  • Your favorite stuffed animal (to comfort you when you're stressed out!)

How do you manage your time in college balancing school work, clubs, and social life?

  • A planner: Write everything down, and then you get the satisfaction of crossing out your work when you complete it!
  • Calendars: A wall calendar, desk calendar, personal planner, and one on your cell-phone. Don't forget to update them--you can never be too organized!
  • Post-it notes: You can take them down when you get something accomplished or you’ve made it through an event. It feels satisfying getting stuff done WHILE cleaning up your work space!

What advice do you have about staying ahead in large classes?

  • Sit toward the front, somewhere you can see and hear the professor. A class is only as big as the people in front of you.
  • Get to know your professor and take advantage of office hours so that when you need help, they know who you are.
  • Ask questions, because someone else probably has the same question but is afraid to ask!"
  • Take advantage of TA help: They’re students too, and sometimes less intimidating than teachers.
  • Keep up with the textbook reading assignments, even if they aren’t graded.
  • If your professor offers an exam review session, go to it: They write the tests, so they know what are on them!

How do you study best?

  • "I like to find a quiet place, free from all distractions. That means no Facebook!"
  • "I study well with one or a few classmates, but only if we’re all focused on the material and not chatting! Quizzing each other on content is good for all those involved."
  • "I use flashcards and pull material from lecture notes and textbooks."
  • "I find an empty classroom for myself in the Thomas Building. General classrooms are generally open all the time and good places to study at night."

Any other bits of advice?

  • Be early, never late, and always set a good example because you never know who is watching you!
  • Go to class. You may think your absence will go unnoticed in a large class but that isn’t what matters. Your grades will suffer if you’re not there to take good notes!
  • Take advantage of your academic adviser. They know what they’re doing and they want to help you.
  • Textbooks can get expensive. Get them online if you can to save some money!
  • College isn’t all about the school work--join clubs and organizations to get involved. Check out the College of Ag Sciences’ Club Fair on Wednesday, September 5th.
  • It’s never too early to think about leadership positions in clubs so you can build your resume, not to mention enjoy yourself!
  • Never be afraid to meet new people. You don't have to stay in your major or your club to find friends.
  • Your time in college is such a gift. Make the most of it and enjoy yourself.

Best wishes to everyone as they come in for the fall semester, and thanks for following along with me this summer! I’ll see you around--don’t be afraid to say hello if you see me on campus!