Freshman Tips

Rosemary Lausier, Crier Staff

The beginning of a new school year can be both exciting and daunting. Upperclassmen return to campus eager to move into their dorms, see their friends, and start classes again.

However, for incoming freshmen, a new year can bring various questions: will I do well in class? Where will I study? Who is my roommate? What if I don’t make friends easily?

Students here at Saint Anselm College have all had to deal with these concerns as new students. However, there are many tips and advice that one can take to make this new transition into college life easier.

There are various guidelines about how to be successful in college. Websites such as Huffington Post provide lists of tips that can help students with various aspects of college life. Dr. Brian Harke, Dean of Students at University of Southern California, gives a lecture of tips to his students each year to ease the transition.

He shared some of his most important ones in a blog he wrote for the Huffington Post. These include guidelines regarding student involvement, relationships, and succeeding in classes.

First point that Dr. Harke makes is to go to as many Welcome Week events as possible and to get involved in clubs on campus. Each week, Student Activities sends an email out to all Saint A’s students about all the sporting and entertainment events on campus. This gives students great ideas for fun things to do throughout the week.

Becoming members of clubs allows students to meet current students and faculty with some common interests.  This can have multiple benefits. Not only will you make new friends, but joining a club can put you more at ease with your new surroundings which can help with homesickness. This is also a way one can get connected around campus.

Kristen Van Uden (’16) President of the Chamber Music Ensemble and Secretary of the History Society highlights the benefits of being in a club. “I’m so happy that I joined one. You get to spend time with like-minded people with the same passions. You get to do what you love while you build skills with others.

With academics, Harke elaborates on the various ways in which one can succeed. These include finding the place and time to study, getting organized, and meeting instructors. Professors Lupo (Communication), Norton (English), Pajakowski  (History) and McGuiness (Business) are some of the professors that students around campus have grown to love while studying here.

Senior History major Melanie Powell says it is important to take advantage of your teacher’s office hours because “they can help you the best if you’re struggling in class. Their job is to help us succeed in our studies and they take that very seriously. Some will even take that into consideration for your participation or final grade because they see you’re trying. It is better to ask for help from the expert than to see your grade suffer.”

It can also be important to take advantage of your school’s Academic Resource Center (ours is located in lower level Cushing). Junior Alanna Tremblay says the Academic Resource Center (ARC) is “a great place to study and get tutors. The writing center specifically is very helpful for editing and getting ideas for papers.”

Along with the ARC, the library has various quiet areas where one can get work done as well as Joseph Hall and the New Hall; places where one will be able to focus, keep track of upcoming tests and papers, and seek extra help to prevent falling behind.

One issue many freshmen face is picking their major. A piece of advice that many will give is that it isn’t necessary to choose one right away, and that it is always easy to switch. According to Dr. Harke, “College is the time for you to discover what you like and what you are good at. Your interests may change as you take more classes. Don’t declare a major if you are not ready.”

Lastly, there are many tips provided that will help students succeed outside of the classroom; how to deal with roommates and seeking time for yourself. Every student experiences the new idea of having a roommate. Thus, it is imperative to set ground rules with him/her.

Conversations about cleaning, having friends over, and sharing space are all very important things to consider. Even if they seem unnecessary at first, they may become issues later if you don’t talk about them up front.

It is also important to voice problems that you may have in order to maintain a comfortable living situation all through the year. Keep in mind that your roommate may be very different than you, and its a good roommate’s job to compromise so that both of you can be comfortable.

Seeking time for yourself outside of your dorm room will help alleviate stress and allow you to enjoy your college experience. According to World News, there are a few ways to alleviate stress: getting sleep, exercising, doing something with friends, or counseling. You will not only feel better, but you will be able to focus better and be active outside of the classroom as well.

If one would like to get off campus, Manchester has many shops and restaurants that students enjoy going to. Livy Ashburne (’16) says “there are great places to get food in Manchester such as the Red Arrow, The Cotton, and The Puritan. They’re good places to check out if you want to eat off campus.”

The Mall of New Hampshire and the Verizon Center are also popular places that students like to go to off campus. In the past the Verizon Center has had a lot of big artists visit; Luke Bryan and Maroon Five, to name a few. They offer discounted tickets quite often for students.

The Dana Center, located on campus, also offers various opportunities for students to see shows at a reduced rate.  You do not want to get too distracted from your work; however, it doesn’t hurt to take a break once in a while. The important thing to keep in mind is to know how to balance your life in and outside of school.

The beginning of a new year in a new place can be stressful for some. However, if you try to keep a positive mindset, focus on your classes, manage your time, and take advantage of the various activities and opportunities on campus, you will surely succeed. Keep some of these tips in mind, and you will certainly enjoy these next four years at Saint Anselm College.