By Martina Glab
For all the incoming first-years, the introduction to college can be a very thrilling yet somewhat nerve-wracking experience. With a range of various changes, everything from sharing a room with a complete stranger to being surrounded by a sea of new faces, there are many dramatic adjustments that need to be made in the life of a first-year student.
While the exploration of one’s independence is an exciting and vital component of development for entering the gateway into adulthood, it may also pose as a severe threat to a first-year’s academic performance.
The transition from having a daily, eight-hour class schedule in high school to suddenly having copious amounts of time inbetween a few classes in college can be very unsettling. Limited amounts of routine structure (or lack thereof) can easily disrupt various areas of student life, including academics, extracurricular activities and social life.
While the struggle in developing time-management skills is prevalent throughout all colleges across the country, it is particularly challenging to face in institutions that operate on a trimester system, like Union. At schools that implement three 10-week terms instead of two 14-week terms (as at other universities), students cannot afford to miss class or allow themselves the freedom to procrastinate.
“At Union, it’s just not possible to leave your work aside for later,” said a source. “You’re going to have to set up a system for yourself—some kind of routine—especially when you do sports or are involved on campus. If you spend too much time going out or getting distracted, you will lose track of time without realizing it and pay the consequences.”
Many first-years are likely to underestimate the amount of time they are given in the course of 10 weeks due to a number of reasons. For one, 10 weeks may simply appear to be a fair amount of given time to be in school.
Furthermore, this is coupled with the fact that each student is required to take only three courses a term, leaving many first-years to believe that the load is very manageable, when in fact it truly requires a dedicated and persistent effort.
In consequence of inefficiently tracking the available time they have, first-years are potentially left vulnerable to an array of serious problems, such as negligence, the development of unhealthy habits and getting behind in classes. Ultimately, these problems can lead to the incompletion or failure of a course.
While poor academic performance can certainly hinder a student’s future goals and academic standing, it can also potentially take away from many numerous, exciting opportunities offered at Union. Such opportunities include studying abroad, as well as joining different organizations on campus, such as sororities and fraternities. Since many of these types of experiences involve a GPA requirement, it is critical to maintain steady grades to take in all that Union has to offer.
Though the stakes are high for students who do not manage their time efficiently at Union, there are ways to avoid the potential disasters that can come as a result. Liana Nunziato ‘15 shared some of her personal advice to first-years: “When I get assigned to a project, I’m likely to do well the earlier I start it. If you wait until the last day to do something, then you are less likely to have time to go back and revise it.”
In conclusion, first-years should know that despite the gleaming appeal of fraternity parties and the vast degree of independence they are faced with, they have a responsibility to maintain a healthy work ethic and make the most out of their education. When done right, they will find joy and success in all the areas of their new collegiate life!