Advice for 2013 Freshmen

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I’m not even going to pretend to know what it’s like to be a college freshman in 2013. Life is so much different now than when I first set foot on the campus of Southwest Missouri State back in August of 1993.

All the status updates about freshmen starting college make me reflect a bit on my undergrad years. Again, I’m a 38 year old dude, so freshmen? If this doesn’t in any way apply to you and your life, just chuck it.

College is an experience. Like life, it’s not meant to be tolerated, but explored and enjoyed and embraced. This is YOUR time, but please know learning in college is just the beginning. Learning is a lifetime experience. Not just academically, but emotionally, socially…all that.

College is like anything else: you get out of it what you put into it. If you wait for someone to come hold your hand and invite you along, you are going to miss out on an expansive college experience. Don’t wait for an invitation…if you want the experience, go out and have it. If there’s a campus club or organization you want to try, don’t wait for a friend to go with you…just do it. Like Nike says. If there’s one thing I wish about my undergrad experience, it’s that I would not have waited for an invitation.

There are resources and experiences galore on campus. Use them. That’s what they’re there for. Don’t be intimidated to ask for help or guidance. Everyone wants you to succeed. Help is everywhere. Use it. Communicate with your professors regularly. Talk to your advisor. Stop by his/her office just to chat for a minute. Everyone has a vested interest in helping you reach your goals.

If you’re off to college and so, so glad to be done with all the high school drama…guess what? It’s not over. But, you’re more easily able to isolate yourself from it in college. By that same token, don’t let your high school friendships go stale. Stay in touch, but just be sure you’re living in the college moment, not pining for the past. You’re going to make friends. It may not feel like it in the early days, but you will. And chances are, you’re going to find someone (friend or otherwise) you never knew you were missing. Embrace and be open to that probability.

Be smart. College is meant to be explored and enjoyed, yes. Just be sure that nothing you do endangers your life or the lives of others. Make a plan. Always have a plan. How to get home safe, to protect your friends, to protect yourself.

Go to stuff. Concerts, lectures, performances-go to everything you possibly can. Even if it sucks, isn’t it better to have had that experience than just sit around watching reruns of Friends? You shouldn’t be expected to agree nor disagree with everything you witness. But, I’d really encourage you to be open to the experience. If you have strong religious convictions, but you refuse to go to a lecture because the speaker has a different set of beliefs…again, you don’t have to accept what you witness, but don’t be afraid of being exposed to new things.

Lastly, have fun. It’s college. Even if you don’t go on to grad or post grad work, you have this time in life to learn, evolve, grow and grow up…accept it. Embrace it. Live this awesome opportunity you’ve been given!

And, as always, if you can think of anything I can do to help you, by all means, get in touch. Good luck!

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  • Faith M.

    So glad I found this link on Facebook! I will be a college freshman in September and I’m already freaking out. We started buying stuff for my dorm and with each new item I get, it’s like reality is sinking further and further in! I admit I’m in denial haha. Thanks for posting this!

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