The jump from high school to college can be a tough one. Even at a great school like Union, the transition can be overwhelming. I, and nearly everyone I know, have things that we wish we had known as incoming freshmen, and I’ve compiled some of those for you here. Read on, new Bulldog, and take comfort in the fact that others have done this before you. Here are six students’ pieces of advice for incoming freshmen:
“It doesn’t really matter who you were in high school or what group you were a part of. College is a fresh start and everyone is looking for friends, so take advantage of that! Be friends with that person who you don’t really have a lot in common with, stay up late talking to your roommates that you just met and get involved in something new. My favorite thing about Union is the people, and even though I will be leaving Union and Jackson soon, I can take all the amazing friendships that I have made with me. The Union community is so unique and you only get to be a part of it for a short time, so really invest in it!” -Kaylene Portell, senior social work major
“Never say no. There are some things you should actually say no to, like immoral things, but if it’s just a pity invite to Taco Bell, just go. Some of my best friends came from pity invites.” -Allen Bradley, senior accounting major
“Get involved on campus quickly but do not be pressured into getting involved before you’re ready. Everyone wants YOU to join their group or club. Take time to let the ‘we are the perfect club for you’ front fade and see the organizations during normal days. You will easily find out where you fit in on campus because there is a group for everyone, but joining too soon can bring frustration and missed opportunities. Get to know your roommates, neighth ors and RAs (as they are hopefully trying to do the same). It establishes a comfortable place on campus early on and is one less overwhelming aspect of freshman year to conquer. Get to know upperclassmen. This will happen naturally as the year progresses because it’s a small campus. However, getting to know ‘those who have gone before’ may give you advice on who to/to not take for a particular class, which sometimes can be the difference between an A and a B. DO NOT GO HOME EVERY WEEKEND. High school is over and mom is not here to do everything. The ‘fight or flight’ sense is kicking in, but mom is only a phone call away (and will still be there on breaks). There are plenty of reasons to stay and things to do on/around campus. Leaving will only stunt your Union experience. Take advantage of the resources and opportunities around you; you’re paying a lot of money for them anyways. Lastly, be yourself. College is a chance for a fresh start. Be true to who you are, and you will find a place where you can thrive for the next few years of your life. Do not try to be someone you are not — you will miss opportunities, and it’s a bad idea for a first impression on a small campus. College will be ‘the best years of your life.’ Seize every opportunity because the next thing you know, you will be walking across the stage as a senior, wondering what your legacy will be at Union after you leave.” -Andrew Hicks, junior cell and molecular biology major.
“Don’t seek contentment. That’s probably contrary to everything anyone has ever told you about entering college. Many college students just want to join enough clubs, make enough friends and earn enough good grades so that college seems less scary and finding contentment can be achieved in this crazy new realm of life. But I encourage you not to fall into this trap. Never stop interacting with new people or trying new things. Never stop expanding your knowledge. And most importantly, never stop searching after your Creator who will reveal more to you than you could ever fully imagine.” -Caroline Davis, freshman social work major.
“Always wear shoes. Even if it’s called ‘Barefoots,’ always wear shoes.” -Hannah Willis, junior accounting major.
“Union has plenty of things that students should consider doing in their spare time. If nothing else, though, you should be involved in the building you live in and a local church. These two things have helped me grow, get out of my comfort zone, make friends and feel at home since coming to Union. Focus on the Lord in your everyday life and in your studies. We are called to do everything in the name of the Lord (1 Cor. 10:31, Col. 3:17) and for his glory. If you can view the classes you’re taking as another opportunity to serve the Lord and glorify him, you will find such a change when learning new things. And worrying about the perfect guy or girl you may meet while at Union should be the furthest thing from new students’ minds. There will be plenty of time for students to meet ‘that person.’ God wants to mold us all and if we aren’t growing our relationship with him and giving him that which we cannot control, then we are not completely surrendering to him. A somewhat good grasp on college work and relationships with friends are so crucial to have especially as a freshman. Don’t worry about ‘ring before spring.’ God will take care of that in his perfect will and timing.” -Jake Leach, sophomore Christian ministry and missions major.