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!