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New student hacks

First-year college student? Here's what you need to know.

by Heather Rodriguez ’04

Your first semester at college will be challenging. For many, it’s their first time away from home for any extended period of time. For others, it marks the beginning of adulthood and all the challenges, responsibilities, and struggles that come with it. Never fear, the College of Liberal Arts is here to walk you through this. For starters…

1. Create your own community…

They say that friends are the family you choose—so choose wisely.  Whether you’re seeking academic camaraderie (Freshmen Innovation Group, Common Ground Reading Initiative, Regents Scholars Initiative), want to become active on campus (Liberal Arts Student Council, Freshmen Liberal Arts Reaching Excellence), or want to challenge yourself (Aggie Agora), you will find your place in Liberal Arts.

Gif from movie "Stepbrother" of Brennan asking Dale if they just became best friends. Dale replies, "Yep!"

2. …But make time for yourself.

College is a great chance to get to know yourself, and establish your sense of identity. Find what you’re passionate about and run with it. Take a trip abroad  and learn about other cultures as much as yourself. Visit the George R.R. Martin exhibit at the Cushing Library or the J. Wayne Stark and Forsyth galleries in the Memorial Student Center. And keep an eye on the Liberal Arts events calendar for free film screenings and performances throughout the year.

Gif from show "Parks and Rec" where Donna tells Tom Haverford, "Treat yo self."

3. Realize that you may not pass your first test, and that’s ok.

Your first exam is in no way an indicator of future college success, but now’s the time to turn it around. Take advantage of the resources on campus—they’re here to help! From the University Writing Center to peer tutoring  to academic advisors to supplemental instruction, don’t hesitate to learn from some of the brightest minds out there. And make sure to visit with your department advisors to hear about various first-year retention programs.

Click here for a full list of student resources.

Gif from movie "Clueless" where Travis receives his report card and has a tantrum at his desk.

4. Get some rest.

Studies show that students who get less than 8 hours of sleep are more prone to physical and emotional health risks–so make sleep a priority. If emotional stress is keeping you awake at night, visit student counseling services. If your financial situation is costing you some Z’s, try getting a part-time job at Jobs for Aggies (particularly with the College of Liberal Arts *wink wink*) or visit the financial aid office or an advisor to discuss potential needs-based scholarships. If nothing else, since physical activity promotes sound sleep, swing by the Rec Center before plopping into bed.

And, you know, don’t drink a gallon of coffee every day.

Gif of dog going into his crate and pulling his blanket over him, evidentally to go to sleep.

5. Stay in touch.

You should never forget where you came from. Social media is a great way to keep in contact with your loved ones, whether they’re across the country, overseas, or just one town over. Use the open access computer labs located all over campus if you don’t have access to a computer or phone. While you’re there, check out what’s happening in the college through our Facebook, Instagram, and twitter pages.

Although sending a handwritten letter is nice too.

Gif of Lionel Richie's music video for the song "Hello," where whe says "Hello?" into the phone.

6. Live in the moment.

For better or worse, know that you will never have this time again. You are young, idealistic, and surrounded by fellow Aggies. So grab your new besties and go make some memories!

Gif from the movie "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" with Ferris saying "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it."