Advice for Upcoming Freshmen

Or, what they won’t tell you when you start university.

I’m graduating today, which is why I thought it would be appropriate to write some advice for people who have not yet started university.

  • Grades are paramount. Seriously. Don’t party every night and blow off your studying. You don’t need a perfect 4.0, but put a decent amount of effort into your classes. Having a high GPA gives you opportunities you otherwise would not have.
  • Make friends. Not to contradict the previous point, but don’t spend so much time studying that you have no friends. That’s just sad.
  • You know all that stuff your advisors tell you, about being able to “explore new classes” when you first come in? That’s a lie. You need to have a good idea from the start about what you want to major in. If you honestly have no idea, then spend your first year fulfilling requirements. At my school, we had a writing requirement, a math requirement, and requirements in various fields. When I switched my major after first year, I was still able to use classes I had taken for my old major to fulfill my science and math requirements, so that worked out. But I never did get to take that economics class I wanted.
  • Study abroad. It is amazing. Go to a different country for a semester or a year (personally, I think summer study abroads are kind of lame, but that’s just me).
  • Sign up for a foreign language. Find one you like and start studying it first year. If you stay with it and do lots of work, you’ll graduate with a pretty high level.
  • Congratulations to the class of 2012! We have another graduation ceremony tomorrow, so I’ll post more advice if I can think of anything.

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