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Opinion

Columnist offers solace for new students

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September 23, 2011

Let’s face it: the first day of high school was terrifying. You aren’t familiar with your surroundings and you barely know anyone.

Not to mention your middle school teachers spent five minutes every class period lecturing you about how high school teachers aren’t anything like middle school ones. I went to a middle school where there were about 200 kids in the entire building, and by switching to a high school with over 1,000 I wanted to faint. But congratulations, if you are at UW-River Falls, that means you survived high school.

Now that you are in college, I’m sure it’s quite the eyeopener with the new perspective of being completely independent. No one is there to tell you to go to bed, to do homework, or even to tell you when to eat your dinner. You probably also have a million questions and concerns running through your mind as you start your first few weeks of college. But no need to worry, you are not alone.

I myself have been a new college student twice. When I first started college, I went to a school with over 18,000 students. Let me tell you, with that many students, I learned quickly that you had to step outside of your bubble to meet people. That was especially challenging for me, because I can be quite shy when in a surrounding I am not comfortable with. Fortunately, the two girls across the hall from me were not shy and we quickly became inseparable.

Then I decided to transfer schools a year and a half later, which I was beyond excited about. However, when I got to UWRF, I once again found myself in the position of not knowing anyone. I started attending my floor meetings and hall activities. Due to those gatherings, I was able to meet a few people from my dorm building. My roommate helped a lot too, she introduced me to her friends and I was able to hang out with them from time to time.

A few more ways to get yourself out there and meet new people on campus is to join clubs you are interested in. For instance, this semester I decided to check out the Glee Club and help out with their events. I will admit that I am a terrible singer, but the Glee Club members accepted me with open arms. For those of you that are not interested in performing, there is a large selection of other clubs that I encourage you to look into. For example, Crops and Soils club, Pre-Med club and Student Senate. You could also explore the exciting experience of sororities and fraternities on campus. For those of you who that are sport enthusiasts, I recommend checking out the intramural sports available.

Besides establishing the social aspect of your college life, there is a slight issue of not always knowing exactly where you are going on campus. My most embarrassing moment the first semester I was at UWRF was when I ended up sitting in the wrong class for a half an hour before realizing it. In my defense, the professor was talking about literature so I thought I was good to go. That is, until he started talking about anthropology. If you ever find yourself in that predicament, which I really hope you don’t, I suggest just quietly standing up and make your way towards the door. If you are asked where you are headed, just admit that you are in the wrong class. Professors and fellow students will understand, more than likely they have ended up in a similar situation like yours before.

Classes can be a bit over whelming at first, but one point that was brought to my attention is to introduce yourself to professors. They always seem to enjoy meeting their new students and it shows them that you want to do well in their class. Don’t be afraid to ask questions either; professors want you to do well. So make use of those office hours listed on your syllabus.

I wish you all the best on your new adventure as a college student. Remember, you are not alone. There are so many new freshman and transfer students here on campus who feel exactly the same way you do. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed, and be sure to talk to your Residence Assistant if you have any questions or concerns about dorm life. College should be a time in your life you can look back on when you get older and think about what a good experience it was. So be sure to make every moment count.

Samantha Mayberry is a junior and is majoring in journalism. She is from Rochester, Minn., and loves to read, listen to music and take pictures.