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Op/Ed: Freshman Survival Guide

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Photo credit: Nalani Keeslar

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Written by: Communicator StaffMay 07, 2014

College is a great time for learning new things, self-discovery and creating new experiences, but it can be rough. Being away from home and fending for yourself is exciting, but it can also be a huge adjustment. So, from a super senior to all of you new students, here is a Freshman Survival Guide to help navigate your first year at IPFW.

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1. Introduce yourself to people. Getting involved with campus events is the easiest way to get to know people and develop lasting friendships. My freshman year on campus I went to a commuter school much like IPFW, but I wasn’t from the area. I was having a really difficult time meeting people because it felt like everyone went to campus for class and then scurried home as quickly as they could. When I joined a campus organization, though, I felt like I was becoming acquainted with students in a similar predicament, and we developed lasting friendships founded on causes we believed in.

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2. I used to think that to be really involved on campus and a great student I had to dedicate 100 percent of my time to being on campus. I rarely left the campus and that was detrimental to my well-being. I began to forget about the world outside of campus. So, I got a job off campus and began developing contacts around town, and it was the best thing I ever did. You need a balance of feeling like an involved student and being aware that there is a world outside of your environment. Try to get off campus and immerse yourself in the culture of Fort Wayne. It’s an interesting time of development in Fort Wayne, so why not involve yourself with it? It’s a great way to build contacts for post graduation, as well.

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3. I got my eyebrow pierced freshman year, and I’m so glad I got that out of my system. When you’re a junior or senior, there seems to be pressure to begin acting professional. So, if you’ve ever wanted to do something crazy with your appearances and haven’t had the chance, try it now! Caution: I wouldn’t advise permanent alterations like tattoos that are highly visible without some deep consideration.

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4. Get creative with cooking. Always eating out gets expensive and a bit unhealthy. Trust me, after a while pizza rolls and ramen will start to be the most disgusting thing ever. So, get a cooking book and learn some healthy brain food meals! Try to take note about how certain food makes you feel to help yourself create a nutrition plan.

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5. I think I might have been a bit overly ambitious the first two years of college. I was always trying to schedule too many classes and have them start too early. I thought I could train myself to be a multitasking, early-rising super-student. Well, none of that happened. I did learn, however, that I am really neither of those things and trying to be is counter intuitive to my success. Schedule your classes realistically. If you’re not a morning person, I wouldn’t advise scheduling all morning classes. Likewise, if you’re really involved with work and extracurriculars, I wouldn’t advise trying to take 18 credit hours. Be realistic with your schedule to ensure better results.

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6. A lot of my friends tease me about how many times I changed my major or transferred colleges, but I don’t regret it. I took classes, learned a lot about what I did or didn’t enjoy and structured my life accordingly. I was asked if I was worried that I’d never graduate and I wasn’t. An extra semester of classes seemed worth it to me to make sure I was getting into a field that I liked rather than tolerated. Don’t be afraid to change your major. Don’t let the fear of staying an extra semester keep you in a major you don’t love. Your whole life with a degree in a field you don’t love is a lot longer than one more semester of college.

Logan Hursh