Freshmen: it’s not all about you

Lanthorn Editorial Board

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Congratulations, freshmen! You just moved onto campus, you finished up Transitions and you’re (hopefully) ready for classes. We know that the first week of college is stressful, and we also know you’re probably sick of having advice thrown at you. You’re supposed to go out, get involved, talk to your professors and make friends with others in your dorms. But freshmen, we have something to tell you: it’s not all about you. 

This week, thousands of Lakers are returning to campus. Upperclassmen, non-traditional students, international students and transfer students will be walking the campus, riding the 50 and sitting in classes with you. GVSU has a total of 21,680 undergraduate students, 2,997 graduate students and over 300 international students from all over the world. 

Talking to other freshmen seems like all the rage. Your RA’s tell you to keep your doors open and your Transitions leaders made you all do icebreakers. And sure, talking to fellow freshmen can be comfortable. You’re all in the same boat. None of you are truly sure of what you’re doing here. None of you have found your place yet, so it can feel safer to approach them.

But you should stretch outside your comfort zone and talk to students outside of the freshman class, whether they are students that were in your same position a few years ago or students whose journey looks completely different than yours. College is all about learning who you are and what you want to do, and one way to do that is to broaden your social circle.

Talking to older students in your major can help you understand if it’s really what you want to do and the best ways to foster your skills as you go. Talking to older students outside of your major can open your eyes to things you’ve never even thought of. 

Campus Life Night can be overwhelming, but sometimes you’ll hear about that club you’ll stick with all four years from a tired senior taking their last gen ed. Even if you haven’t thought much about studying abroad, getting coffee with an international student can open your eyes to an unfamiliar culture. And maybe that non-traditional student in your six-to-nine can share a few things about being a “real adult.”

And sure, maybe there are some students who think they don’t have time for some bright-eyed freshman, but I think you’ll be surprised by the friends you can make once you venture out of Kleiner and into the larger Grand Valley community.

So, freshmen, while you are the newbies at GVSU and the next round of Lakers ready to take on the world, it’s not all about you. It’s about every Laker you meet.