By Samantha Tyler
It has been three whole years since my first days at Union, but I so clearly remember the overwhelming feelings associated with so many new experiences. I remember attending my first class, meeting my first roommate and trying to figure out how to navigate Science and Engineering. At the time I was flustered and antsy, trying to find my niche.
In retrospect though, all the worrying seems silly. When I really think about it, mostly everything I once fretted over eventually worked out. The process of creating my niche on campus seems like a long saga of obstacles and lessons learned the hard way, though. So for all of you first-years currently experiencing all of your firsts on campus, here are a few words of advice to keep in mind as you begin your Union journeys:
1. Do not do what is expected of you.
This is your opportunity to become the real you. Try new things and learn more about yourself. Act according to your own passions and desires, not the goals set by your parents or your 12-year-old self.
Follow your own path, not the footsteps of your older sibling or your friends. Behave the way that comes naturally, not the way you think you should just to fulfill others’ expectations.
Take the classes that genuinely interest you, not the ones you’re told are easy or those that seem like they might be good to take. Your time here is a blank canvas; discover your colors.
2. Involve yourself.
Try anything and everything that interests you. Don’t just stick to the same activities you were involved with in high school. Test the waters, decide what tickles your fancy and what you genuinely enjoy doing. Become involved with groups on campus that sound like fun, not the ones that would look good on your resume. There are endless opportunities to explore at Union, take advantage of them! Remember that signing up to receive e-mails does not mean you have signed your life away; you can always attend a single meeting and then decide whether or not it’s for you. It’s also never too late to become involved in something new!
3. Balance is key.
You only have two hands and there are only 24 hours in a day. Finding your perfect balance between time spent with friends, studying, participating in extra-curricular activities and sleeping is of the utmost importance. Time management is no joke, especially with our trimester system. Remember that while working hard to succeed in your classes is important, dedicating all of your time to studying inevitably sacrifices some other aspect of your life. The same holds true to dedicating immense amounts of time to any activity; everything requires a give and take.
4. Other gold nuggets to keep in mind:
-Professors are your best resource. Don’t be afraid to talk to them.
-Taking advantage of help centers doesn’t mean you’re incapable, it means you care.
-Be willing to meet new people, even after the first few weeks of your first term.
– It’s not embarrassing to stop walking in the middle of a path just to take a picture of the Nott. Everyone does it.