Free Advice for Freshmen

As a recent UNF grad, I’d like to think I have lots of valuable advice to share with all the new Ospreys. For the incoming freshmen, this is an exciting time in your life, a new chapter. You are officially on your own, making your own choices and decisions. Although I’m sure you will be just fine, here’s some free advice I wish someone would have given me four years ago.

  1. Cutting class causes more stress later in the semester. GO TO CLASS.
  2. Go to your professor’s office hours when they are offered. You’ll thank yourself later. Not only will they be able to get to know you better, you can form professional relationships with them. A good recommendation letter from a professor who knows you is priceless down the road.
  3. Read the syllabus. I repeat, READ THE SYLLABUS.
  4. Your new favorite word is free. Go to the events with free food. They are great places to meet people. And for some reason if you don’t meet anyone, hey, free food.
  5. Learn how to say yes to hanging out with new people and trying new things. You will never look back on your freshman year and regret the times you said yes, I guarantee it.
  6. If you’re unhappy with your major, don’t be afraid to change it. I had a close friend who changed her major four times and still graduated on time. Even if it puts you a year behind, isn’t it worth it to major in something you enjoy?
  7. Make time everyday to work out, walk, bike or do some form of exercise. Your health is important and being active will always make you feel better (and help keep off the Freshman 15).
  8. You’re going to feel sad and you’re going to miss home at times. This is OK; it’s normal. There are a lot of people surrounding you who feel the same way.
  9. It’s OK to go home on the weekends if you want, as well. There will always be other parties, beach days or lunch dates with your friends.
  10. Make at least one friend in every class. That way you have someone who can help you out with any notes you missed or be there as a study buddy during crunch time at the library during finals week.
  11. Be nice to your RA, say hi and be friendly. You are going to need his or her help during the semester, guaranteed. You will forget or lose your dorm key at least once.
  12. Explore Jacksonville — there’s so much to do here! Find the hole-in-the-wall taco restaurant, a hidden running trail, a secluded beach or a cool candy shop.
  13. Say yes to spring break trips and random road trips — those are some of the best times in college. If money is an issue, just pack a lot of PB&J sandwiches.
  14. The workload is a lot different from high school. Make sure you have a study system and study habits that work for you.
  15. Call your parents at least once a week. Don’t be too cool. They miss you and you miss them too.
  16. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  17. Invest in an umbrella and bring it with you on campus. Welcome to Florida, where the sky can go from happy to angry in 0.2 seconds. The worst thing is getting caught at Osprey Café in a thunderstorm when you have to walk back to your residence hall room at the Crossings.
  18. Get an internship. Then get another internship. Get as much experience as you can in your field.
  19. Find a balance between work and fun.
  20. Don’t forget to use your student discount everywhere! You can usually save a few bucks at certain restaurants and other stores by flashing your student ID.
  21. If the opportunity presents itself, study abroad. A semester spent in a different country and culture is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and you’ll learn more than you ever will in a traditional classroom. My travel abroad trips are some of the best experiences of my life.
  22. Be studious.
  23. Be spontaneous.
  24. When you’re working on a paper or project on the computer, press save — a LOT. Trust me, you will not regret this. Back everything up, all the time.
  25. Don’t beat yourself up when you miss a deadline or fail a test. You are in college to learn about yourself and grow as an individual. You won’t grow if you don’t make a few of your own mistakes along the way.

Take all the opportunities you can, Class of 2019! Because before you know it, you will have walked the graduation stage, turned your tassel and find yourself reminiscing about the good ole freshman days of staying up too late and making friends in the dorms. So as you begin the best four years of your life, I wish you the best of luck, ospreys. SWOOP!


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