Five-Step Survival Guide for Freshman Year

30 Aug

1.  Join any clubs of interest.  As a science major, I joined Bio5 Ambassadors and the Society of Professional Engineers. These clubs fit me perfectly because I was able to meet with fellow Wildcats of similar majors and gain upperclassman advice on what classes to enroll in next year. So, sign up for all clubs that spark your enthusiasm during club fair. Since clubs require minimal time commitment, they are an easy way to make friends and connect to campus. In addition, some clubs will offer free food as an incentive to come to their first meeting. And as poor college students, never turn down an opportunity to eat free pizza, cookies, and Eegees (two more days to catch this month’s flavor, cherry pineapple).

a(Freshman year at my roommate’s club kickball tournament.  I’m the Asian, fourth from the left.)

2.  Set more than one alarm.  Professors usually start class on the minute, so it’s important to wake up on time for class to avoid missing the beginning of lecture. However, this is easier said than done. To wake up, I rely on two phone alarms and one iPad alarm, which I inconveniently place across the room so I am forced to get out of bed. My advice is to not rely on only one alarm; class attendance is crucial, so do whatever it takes to get there on time!

Six-sleeping-corgi-puppies-5(Obviously these corgis didn’t hear their alarm clock)

3.  Buy a planner.  Unless you have an incredible mind like Rain Man, relying solely on memory is a mistake.  Use a planner to create a daily to-do list and record all homework assignments in it.  The UA Bookstore currently has a fantastic planner for $8.99 that includes important UA dates (i.e. when you can Bursar and last day to return textbooks), and is prefaced with several pages of UA resources info (i.e. ThinkTank, Ombuds, etc).  Not to mention, there are coupons and stickers inside!

picstitch(I literally write down every single reminder, task, and assignment in this thing.)

4.  Don’t fall behind in class.  Just don’t.  After a rough first semester of classes, I finally made the grand discovery that I needed to ask questions if I was confused about the subject at hand. In calculus, I gave up on learning trig substitution because it was just too hard, but the consequences of that decision haunted me through the end of the semester. Not understanding one concept initiates a snowball effect for the rest of the class. That one confusing concept that you never fully understood bleeds into the next concept and the next. Before you know it, you can’t keep up and the entire class becomes a blur. Moral of the story? If you’re not getting it, ask questions. Don’t snowball down the hill to failure.

to do math(My life freshman year…don’t be me.)

5.  Don’t be afraid to go to office hours.  Seeking help from your professors can be intimidating. The first time I attended a professor’s office hours, I seriously considered heading home when I saw I was going to be the only student there.  But instead of shying away, I took advantage of the opportunity to have one-on-one tutoring, and it paid off immensely. When you attend office hours, not only do you understand the subject matter more clearly, but you also demonstrate to the professor that you are an engaged, proactive learner. It’s important to get to know at least one professor outside of lecture; you never know when you’ll need a letter of recommendation. However, one word of advice: before you show up, ensure you have attempted the homework and have specific questions prepared, so that you are not blindly asking the professor to repeat their entire lecture.


(Just keep calm and look at these playful puppies.)

–Kaelyn Garner

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