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  • Writer's pictureSachi Tolani

Advice to Freshmen to Make the First Year Count

Going to college as a first-year student can be frightening. Many of us leave our families and stay alone or with a roommate for the first time. I saw freshman year as a fresh start after high school; a time to try harder and go above and beyond. Just having that mindset helped me get out of my comfort zone and try new things. The following is some advice for freshmen to make their first year of college worthwhile:

1. Join clubs and stay active

This point is not as straightforward as you might think. In freshman year, go to the club fair and see which ones excite you the most. Listen to club leaders recite their pitches and join the ones that stand to you. Most clubs have a kickoff meeting to share the club’s values and what they do. Attend some of these meetings along with the club fair to find the right fit. I joined a couple of clubs my first semester that had values that stood out to me. Just joining a club might not be as beneficial as staying active in it. If you are active in a club, you can eventually take leadership in it as an officer. Attend weekly meetings and become as involved as you can with the clubs that interest you. Clubs are also a great way to meet new people and make friends. Every freshman is on the same boat as you, so go out there and mingle!

2. Look for opportunities - stay curious

Be open to opportunities and stay curious. You are not “inexperienced” as a first-year student; you are open to new paths and opportunities. I got hired on to the marketing committee of MA in my first semester at SJSU and received an officer position the semester after that. There is so much opportunity out there for college students like ambassador programs, on-campus jobs, club positions, internships, etc. College is a time to explore, and freshman year is the time to start the exploration. Do something different and out of your major to expand your knowledge. Once you graduate college, there might not be time to do this. Some examples are to take a class outside of your major or learn a new sport. I challenge you to do something that you’ve never done before every semester.

3. Utilize helpful resources

Universities offer so many resources to add to your college experience. There are more resources than you think. I know seniors who don’t realize until their last year that our school offers certain programs. As a freshman, it’s important to explore these resources early on so you can refer to them throughout your time at the university. Examples of resources at SJSU are the writing center, career center, peer connections, CAPS, Handshake, etc. Check out these resources during your first year to familiarize yourself with them. Talk to an advisor, an upperclassmen, or a professor about resources that the campus offers.

My overall advice is to take initiative. You are in charge of your college experience so make it worthwhile in the best way possible. If you start early as a freshman, you will familiarize yourself and be ahead of the game. Feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn if you have any questions! Good luck!


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