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10 Things I Wish I Knew as a Freshman | Valparaiso University

 

  1. Everyone’s college experience looks different. Going into Valpo as a freshman, I had this idea that I would meet my best friends and we would spend all of our time together. And I did meet my best friends, but our schedules are drastically different. We all have different majors, different extracurriculars, and different jobs. My college schedule looks nothing like my best friends yet we still find time to hang out and be together, whether it's a study break or a cram session. Your schedule is centered around you, so don’t worry if it looks different from those around you!

  2. Your college experience is about more than the classes you take. Yes, college is a place of education and is focused on building your knowledge for your future career. However, college is so much more than that! College is about testing your limits, expanding your horizons, and making the most out of this weird in-between period of your life. Try new things, say yes to new opportunities, and don’t be afraid to question what you thought you knew about yourself!

  3. Snacks = best invention ever. While your freshman year meal plan at Valpo is unlimited, open hours at the cafe and Founders are not. It is important to keep food in your residence hall room for any late-night cravings or quick snacks between classes! Not only do they keep you fueled and fed, it’s also nice to have your favorite snacks on hand when you need a quick pick-me-up. 

  4. Power naps power your brain. My father told me it was weird that a 19-year-old had a nap schedule… I’m telling you it’s not! Life is hectic, classes are hard, and sleep is minimal. Take naps when you’re tired! You won’t get much studying done if you’re rereading the same paragraph five times over and not understanding it because you’re sleep deprived.

  5. You are not a bother to your RA’s and RLC. These people are placed to help you. Ask them your questions; go to them for help. That’s why they’re there! They want to help you and to make your experience as good as they can.

  6. Your professors are people, too. In high school, my teachers always told me that my professors wouldn’t care about anything as long as I was a good student. This is a lie! Your professors want to know what’s going on with you — especially at a place like Valpo! If you’re struggling, talk to them. Reach out and explain what’s happening. They understand life happens because it happens for them, too. 

  7. Dress for success. No, I don’t mean ‘career-success’ or ‘life-success, I mean ‘weather-success.We are in Indiana near Lake Michigan. It gets cold in the winter. Bring a coat because otherwise you will be forced to wear a random person's oversized hoodie during a snowstorm that shuts down the entire campus because you thought you would be fine in the cold… yes, I am speaking from experience. Bring clothes for all weather.

  8. The health resources are on campus for a reason. Don’t waste your time trying to schedule doctor appointments for check-ups, call the campus health center! Mental health resources are also available! If you need someone to talk to, there are counselors available and it is covered by your tuition. Reach out to these resources whenever you need them.

  9. Joining an extracurricular will benefit your entire life. Whether it's a sport, intramural, club, activity, job, or group, extracurricular activities benefit every area of your life. They look good on resumes. They provide you with opportunities to network, socialize, and relieve stress. They give you an excuse to avoid dreaded homework, and it’s even said that students involved in extracurricular activities do better in school!

  10. Your ideas matter! Don’t be afraid to provide input in clubs, class, or extracurriculars just because you’re new! Getting involved provides experience with sharing your thoughts, and many extracurricular activities provide abundant opportunities for leadership. The organizations across campus love hearing feedback and input, so give them yours!

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