by Heather Kennison
Freshman year – It’s the wild dash around campus, looking for classes and dodging renegade Frisbees. It’s the hours spent doing homework, watching pinecones fall, even though they always seem to be scarce during your free time. Then there are the frantic final steps to reach the professor’s office, just barely in time to turn in the paper you probably should have been working on when you were up until 1 a.m. playing on the Wii.
Yes, everyone has been there at some point. Freshman year can be tough, but it can be equally rewarding. In the midst of being caught up between homework and freshman seminar, here are a few dos and don’ts from upperclassmen to help reduce the stress.
1. Prioritize why you are here at Whitworth.
Realize what your priorities are, and live them out. That’s some advice from junior Joshua Deal, a resident in McMillan Hall. Deal also recommends putting one’s studies first, then non-academic commitments and finally, the social life.
Prioritizing can also reduce stress when it comes to choosing classes. Specifically, senior Sarah Pollock said that filling out the Four-Year Plan provided a source of guidance for her during her freshman year.
“It’s a good idea to actually do the Four-Year Plan,” Pollock said. “It gave me ideas of what to do, versus taking random classes like I was doing.”
2. Broaden your horizons.
Interacting with a variety of people from different groups gives you a diverse perspective and experience, Deal said.
There is a wide range of places around campus designed for fostering new relationships.
Junior Hannah Tubbs thinks the key to making the most of your freshman year is to put yourself out there a little.
“Just get out there and meet people,” Tubbs said. “Sit with people you don’t know in Saga. Dorm hop. Go to the dances and break it down.”
Pollock said that getting involved early on will help you form a sense of community.
3. Fall in love with Whitworth.
“Get to know your professors,” said junior Maddy Himmel. “They’re really cool, plus the better they know you, the better letter of recommendation they can write.”
The general consensus is that going to lectures, having a “Dine With a Mind,” playing intramurals or even just going to campus events are all ways to get the most out of an education at Whitworth.
“Take advantage of the opportunities that Whitworth offers,” Deal said. “Attend lectures that you just don’t have to. Go to theme house events. Engage in deep conversations outside of class. Fall in love with Whitworth.”
1. Skip out on meals.
In the hectic rush between classes and doing some homework last-minute, it might be tempting to miss out on a meal or two. Upperclassmen advice? Don’t.
A poll done by ABC in 2005 showed that only 53 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 eat breakfast. This was attributed largely to the fact that many people between these ages have less time to eat and therefore, don’t bother.
Pollock said that she had that problem a lot during her freshman year, but when she didn’t eat a good meal before class, she regretted it later.
“Everything was kind of a blur, and none of my notes made sense later,” Pollock said.
2. Be consumed by clutter.
You know how it is. You’ve brought too much stuff from home, and now it’s taking over your bookshelves, closets and floor space.
Clutter is distracting, Pollock said. She recommended going to Walmart, Target or another store to find storage boxes.
Not only can stuff clutter up your life, so can your email accounts. You should check your Whitworth email account consistently for teachers’ comments and campus events, Pollock said.
3. Replace your social life with video games.
Tempting as it is to stay up all night playing video games or checking social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, this may actually be holding you back in your social life.
“My freshman year, I played a lot of video games,” Deal said. “I thought it was a social thing. I loved those guys, but the truth is, it wasn’t the deepest way of getting to know them.”4
Deal said he wished he had engaged in other ways of getting to know his friends early on.