Explore, grow, socialize: tips from a veteran
It has been a daunting task for me to develop some words of wisdom for the incoming freshmen class because I am well aware that I do not have all the answers. As a Wash. U. student, I am constantly learning new things that shape the way I view myself, my education and the world, an experience I am sure all of you will have.
When I entered Wash. U. two years ago, I had a vision of what my college experience would be, a vision that is drastically different than the experience I have had so far. As an incoming freshman, I knew what I wanted to study and where I would focus my extracurricular time. However, over the course of these two years, my vision has been abandoned and a new reality has set in. The onset of this new reality has led me to develop what I feel to be the most important advice for an incoming college student: to keep your eyes open for new possibilities and to be willing to take chances.
Growth, both academic and personal, is the end goal of college, but in order to grow you have to be open and willing to try new and different things. With regards to academic growth, take advantage of the plethora of amazing courses offered at Wash. U. by experimenting with a class outside your intended area of study. Personally, I changed my entire course of study and found a new passion as a result of taking a Freshman FOCUS class that had little to do with my intended major. Also, it is important to make an effort to learn from the brilliant group of people you will encounter while at Wash. U., both professors and students. Sometimes students get so caught up in the minutia of their studies that they lose perspective of their overall goals. I encourage you to engage the people you meet and learn from them by tapping into their personal knowledge and wealth of experiences.
One of the best aspects of the freshman experience is living on the South 40 on a freshmen floor. On your floor, you will make friends that you will have for your entire college experience, but all too often freshmen miss out on new opportunities and friendships by cloistering themselves in the comfort of their floor friends. I have found that one of the great assets of Wash. U. is the wonderful, friendly people at the University, so I encourage you to take a chance and get to know as many people as possible. Also, a potentially rewarding component of student life is extracurricular activities. Get involved in an activity you are passionate about and you will meet like- minded people. Get involved in a new activity and find a new passion.
My last piece of advice is simply a reminder: a person cannot grow and change without taking advantage of his or her opportunities and without taking some risks along the way. I hope you have a wonderful summer, and I look forward to seeing you all in the fall.
Paul is a junior in Arts & Sciences..
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