Success from the Start: Our Top Advice for an Amazing Freshman Experience
Starting college can be both exciting and a little intimidating. Here are 7 things to consider before beginning your journey at Suffolk:
1. Being undecided is okay
There’s this expectation out there that we need to know exactly what we want to do for the rest of our lives once we start college. This is simply not the case. College is all about new experiences and figuring out who you are and what you enjoy. So, slow down a bit. Take your time. Choosing your major is a big decision. This is what free electives are for. Take a couple classes that sound interesting to you and see if they spark anything. You may just find your passion somewhere you never thought to look!
2. Keep an open mind
Make sure you keep an open mind when deciding your major. Sure, maybe you’ve been in love with marine biology since you were five years old and know that’s what you want to pursue, but it is important to be open-minded about all the possibilities in front of you. If the major you initially picked isn’t right for you after all, it’s okay to change it. I switched my major three times before I realized I wanted to be an accountant. Maybe you were right all along, though, and you stick with marine biology. That’s awesome, too. As long as you keep an open mind, you’ll be more likely to find your passion.
3. Don’t pick your roommate
The thought of living with a complete stranger for the first time can be either exciting or daunting. After all, this is the person you’re going to be living with for the next year. Before you think you know whom you want to live with, take some time to think about it. College is about meeting new people. Choosing to live with someone you don’t know forces you to make new friends. You may also find that you and the friend you chose to live with change in different ways when confronted by all the new experiences college presents. Being roomed with someone randomly might sound intimidating, but it’s a great opportunity to meet people, while rooming with someone you already know may hold you back from new experiences. Some people even end up becoming best friends with their randomly selected roommates.
4. Make the most out of orientation
Orientation is a great experience. Suffolk Orientation Leaders and other staff organize a schedule packed with information sessions and fun activities. Orientation is about exploring Suffolk and making some friends before the school year begins. Take advantage of all the activities offered—no matter how tired you are! Although orientation is a fun experience, it can also be quite the information overload. Suffolk supplies a notepad and pen when you arrive, so make sure to use it to take down lots of notes. You’ll be grateful later when you forget what a Master Promissory Note is.
5. Look for your classes ahead of time
Suffolk may only have a few academic buildings, but don’t be fooled. Some of those buildings can be really confusing at first. Freshman move-in day is a couple days before classes actually start, so go and explore the campus a little more. Print out your schedule or put it in your phone and look for your classes. You’ll be happy you did when the first day finally comes and you’re ready for class a few minutes early. Your professor will know you’re serious about their class and it makes for a good first impression.
6. Wait to buy textbooks
So many freshmen make the terrible mistake of spending $700 on textbooks they only use once. I certainly was one of those freshman my first semester at Suffolk. If you want to try to save some money (and who doesn’t want to save money?), wait until your first day of class and see what your professor says about the textbook. Unless your professor emails you ahead of time telling you to bring it the first day, just wait. The library has two copies of every textbook on reserve for students to use for up to two hours at a time. So if there’s a book that you only need for homework and not in class, consider just using the free copy at the library.
7. Step out of your comfort zone
This is probably the most important thing to remember before coming to Suffolk. College really is a time to do things you’ve never tried and be open-minded to all the possibilities around you. Go to the freshman events. Meet some new people. Join some clubs that you might find interesting. Talk to your professors, especially if you’re having difficulty in a class. Get to know your RA (Resident Assistant)—they have a lot of knowledge and can help you adjust to college life. This is a new and exciting step in your life, so make the most of it!
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The Center for Learning and Academic Success (CLAS) is proud to host our 12th final exam preparation event, iStudy! Our theme this year is Super Mario Brothers. See the details below on how we can help your students take their finals to the next level!!
DATE: April 24th, 2014
TIME: 10am – 4pm
LOCATION: 9th Floor of 73 Tremont Street
COURSE SPECIFIC SUPPORT:
Our Peer Tutors and Study Group Leaders can help students study for the following classes:
THESIS & ARGUMENT :: RESEARCH & CITATION :: STRUCTURE & GRAMMAR
We can help with any and all writing assignments for any Suffolk course!
Our Academic Coaches can help students create customized study schedule so they can manage their time effectively during finals week!
We are kicking off our great Start hunt in celebration of the upcoming iStudy event.
The Great Star Hunt: What you need to know
On Thursday, March 20, members of the CLAS came together for the first all-employee meeting of the spring semester. The focus of the meeting was to learn about stress management tips and techniques for tutors and tutees, and how they can apply these methods to their busy lives. During the beginning of the meeting, program coordinator Hillary Ornberg gave a presentation that revealed both surprising and unsurprising statistics about stress and its overwhelming impact on college students.
After the presentation, students chose which stress relieving activity they wished to participate in: art or yoga. For the students who chose to participate in yoga, relaxation and quiet time were the key components. Participants indulged in calming music and utilized breathing techniques and slow stretches like “Child’s Pose,” “Dog and Cat,” and “Mountain,” to achieve relaxation. Ornberg, who helped lead the yoga exercise, said the purpose of the activity was for each individual to focus on their own bodies, comfort, and general self. The idea was for students to not get caught up in doing each move perfectly, or to worry about how they were doing in comparison to others. “We get in our heads and it stresses us out. Focus on what you can do and do it as well as you can, and have that be perfect in all of its imperfections, because that’s the beauty of it,” said Ornberg.
For the art participants, markers and paper were distributed so that students could draw the things that stress them out. Money, employment, school, friends, and relationships were some of the most common things drawn. Students were then given another piece of paper and were told to draw the things that de-stress them and bring them happiness. Afterwards, in a rather symbolic and therapeutic style, the students ripped up the papers depicting the stress-inducing things. “It really helped to put down on paper what has been stressing me out because it forced me to confront it,” said writing tutor Mia Knausenberger, “It actually felt very stress-relieving to rip the paper up afterwards!”
In reflection, Ornberg had some words for students seeking to successfully relieve their lives of stress. “Go into it with the intention of relaxing and focusing on you. Give yourself permission to be present in that moment and you’ll be relaxed.”
Allison Foley, Tutor
The CLAS Blog was created with several purposes in mind: to serve as a resource for tutors and students alike, to be a creative outlet for CLAS employees, and to further engage and promote our services to the university. We would like for the blog to complement the services that we provide, creating a hub of helpful resources, such as tips and study skills that tutors use themselves. Beyond this, we will also seek to provide thoughtful, interesting, and relevant commentary on topics both inside and out of the world of academia.
Our vision is for this blog to become a lively center for the minds of Suffolk University to meet, and to facilitate the interactions between students inside and out of CLAS on a more personal level, going beyond the academic services CLAS provides. We hope to regularly post interesting content, and welcome feedback from any and all readers.
We asked some CLAS tutors and staff what CLAS means to them:
Jason (grad fellow): CLAS means helping Suffolk be better, and creating community.
Valerie Ryan (writing tutor): Tutoring makes me joyful.
Siobhan Sullivan (CR): CLAS is a great place for students, more than just a place to go for tutoring.
Fran (Reception Manager): Like the cartoon Voltron, they all come together and become one big thing. Or the Justice League. The unification of different services.