Advice to freshmen


GVL / Katherine Vasile

Zack Goodrow, Editor-in-Chief

The transition to college from high school varies for everyone. Some are nervous and stressed, and some aren’t fazed at all. As a senior at Grand Valley State University, there are some things I wish I had known to ease the process from a small high school with fewer than 100 students in my graduating class, to one of the top universities in Michigan. For first-year students of every variety, background and major, these are some things to know and use during the next four years. 

To start, you must take advantage of all the opportunities the university offers. You pay for it, so use these resources. Take the time to go to your professor’s office hours. Get to know them on a more personal level and get to know your strengths and weaknesses in classes. 

Make sure to join clubs that match your interests. It’s a good way to spend time outside of your dorm doing something productive with fellow-minded students. It’s also a good idea to look for internships early in whichever field you’re majoring in. It will give you experience in the workforce and add to your confidence in the classroom. 

Take your general education classes early. Don’t make the same mistake I did. Even if you know exactly what you’re majoring in, don’t load up on those classes. Taking chemistry, math, or Spanish three years down the road will be a struggle. You’ll forget almost everything you learned about the subject in high school, making these classes harder on you. 

When taking classes, it’s extremely important to keep in mind that your goal is to learn, not just to pass. Let’s face it, the majority of us procrastinate sometimes. That’s fine, it happens. However, even if you’re just trying to get a project or paper done, make sure it leaves a valuable impact on your education. 

You might find yourself scrambling to read a chapter of a book right before a class starts. Make sure to digest what you’re reading, however. The same thing can be said in the classroom during lectures. Make it a point to listen and learn. Yet again, it’s your money, make the most out of what you’re paying for.  

The last point of advice I have is in my opinion, the most important. College isn’t just about classes, part-time jobs, consistently eating frozen pizza and having fun on the weekends. Perhaps the most valuable thing about college is the connections you make. 

Make friends. Not just with your roommates and with people in your dorm building, but with people at work and in the classroom. From my own experiences, the most lasting and best connections you’ll make are with those people you grind with at work every day or the people that share their precious time working on something constructive in a club. 

Be sure to network as well with students and professors. You may only be at GVSU for four years, but your connections can last a lifetime. 

These are things that I wish I’d known not only in my freshman year at GVSU but in my early sophomore and junior years as well. College is a valuable experience and you decide how beneficial it really is.