College is one of the best times in life to meet new people, learn more about subjects that interest you and repeat the same ill-advised behavior that those who came before you engaged in.
However, even at a small campus like Slippery Rock it can be difficult to keep your priorities straight. As a college freshman last year, it took me awhile to find my footing and manage a hectic schedule when I first arrived on campus.
After a year of sometimes rather humorous trial and error, I’m now a know-it-all sophomore with the desire to help incoming freshman adjust to the college lifestyle seamlessly. These are the five most important pieces of advice I can offer you as you make perhaps the biggest transition of your life so far.
1. Get Involved. I cannot stress enough the importance of getting involved in clubs or organizations while here at Slippery Rock. From intramural sports to the SRU Film Society, there literally is something for everyone on campus. On campus organizations are also great for making new friends early on. The Clubs and Organizations Fair is a great place to find out which club is best suited for your interests. Come to the quad during common hour on Tuesday, September 5 to check out each organization as they present what they’re all about to the student body.
2. Get out of your dorm room. Aside from joining clubs or organizations, Slippery Rock and the surrounding area offers many opportunities for recreation. The Aebersold Student Recreation Center- more commonly known as the ARC- is a great place for you to exercise and avoid the very real Freshman 15. The ARC is also a great place to play sports like basketball or volleyball with friends. SRU has an expansive and challenging on-campus disc golf course that has hosted national tournaments in the past. Moraine State Park is close by and has great trails for hiking and a large lake for those who enjoy fishing and boating.
3. Make as many connections as possible. I know it is tempting to avoid your professors outside the classroom, but building a positive relationship with them can go a long way towards helping you succeed. Visiting them during their office hours and getting involved with campus organizations where they serve as advisors is a great way to get to know those who stand at the front of the classroom. Your professors could serve as references later on when you apply for jobs upon graduation, and may have connections in your desired field of study.
4. Use resources on campus that are there to help you. It is more than okay to admit that you’re struggling with the pressures of college life. It is not always an easy transition for incoming students to juggle class with their newfound abundance of free time. The Writing Center at Bailey Library is a great place to find help with the class your struggling thanks to their tutoring services. Visiting and building a relationship with your professors also serves as a great way to seek their help and advice on how to improve your grades. Try become friends with other students in your classes so you can form study groups and avoid getting behind on your work. It is important to do well early on too; you don’t want to be relying on a final exam for whether or not you pass the course.
5. Learn to say no. This is hands down the most important thing I’ve learned so far at college. You will undoubtedly make a lot of new friends and share great times with them over the course of your time here at SRU. One of the toughest things to do is to say no when they ask you to do something in conflict with school. It is much easier to blow off school work and procrastinate with your buddies. But it’s just as easy to fall behind and watch your GPA plummet as a result. Don’t get me wrong, it is vital that you make time for yourself and have fun with your friends, but school has to come first if you want to succeed. If you follow these five tips, your freshman year will be a great start to what will hopefully be a successful tenure here at Slippery Rock.