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Making the most of your freshman year

John Schaefer

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There is an old saying that goes something like this: The only things that are inevitable in life are death and taxes. Well, I’d like to provide a new addition to this otherwise ancient mantra. I feel that it is necessary to account for the fact that each year, around 18 million young adults leave for institutions of higher education stationed all around the world.

Their reasons for attending are various. For some, their recent enrollment may be evidence of a direct relationship with their desire for additional education or to become a strong future job applicant. For others, they may be paying tens of thousands of dollars to bask in a four-year dopamine-fueled joy ride consisting of nonstop excitement and fuzzy memories. Lastly, many prospective students see going to college as something that everyone must do in their path to entering the “real world.” These individuals are attending merely to join in the formality.

Regardless of students’ motivations to attend college, one thing is for certain and that is: college is a critical period in the development of an individual.

It is now my goal to pass on some advice that I wish someone would have given me as an incoming freshman.

The single biggest piece of advice I can offer is to acknowledge that no one cares. No one cares about your past achievements or failures, no one cares if you go to class or not and no one cares enough to judge you before they get to know you. College is truly the one time in your life that you are able to hit the reset button if you so choose and be the person you truly are. I’m not saying that everybody should and will do so, but if ever there was a time, it is now.

Additionally, you need to take responsibility for your own life. I have personally witnessed classmates fail to meet academic standards, lose scholarships and, in the most severe case, be forced to take a leave of absence from the institution. This is not high school anymore and no one is going to be able to hold you accountable more than yourself. Go to class, do your homework and move on.

Additionally, college is about so much more than school. Take advantage of all the opportunities that are presented before you. I highly recommend trying to convert any of your prior interests into on-campus organizations. That is the primary reason I got involved with The University News.

Funnel your time into doing things that are meaningful to you. If school is important to you, which it should be, block out time in your schedule to do homework. Be very goal oriented so you aren’t wasting more time studying than you have to.

Once you’re done studying, explore the city, visit Forest Park, support SLU athletics, go out to eat in The Loop and Central West End and keep an open mind.

I recently was having a conversation with a friend who said that he approaches every situation with the mindset of “If it will make for an interesting story, definitely consider doing it.” I have tried to adopt this mindset in my life, and it truly makes a difference. When you decide to step outside of your comfort zone and open yourself up to all that the world has to offer you, the possibilities are endless.

Above all else, find your balance and what matters to you. For most, the summer after high school and before college is one of the most difficult transition periods that one will face in his or her lifetime. With that being said, it is easy to get wrapped up in the crowd. No matter what happens, stay true to who you are and you will find others with similar values.

If you come across individuals different than you, accept them for who they are and try and learn something from them. You can never have too many friends and it makes life a lot more fun when you can walk down the center of campus and see familiar faces and exchange formalities.

College is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to find out who you are as a person. Work hard with school during the week, go out on the weekends and soak in as much as college has to offer. Cheers to the next four years and making them the best

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The Student News Site of Saint Louis University
Making the most of your freshman year