A Fresh(man) Start- Lessons From The Quarter Mile
It is now your turn to pass on the highschool senior baton, moving forward into a momentous rite of passage while balancing on the teeter totter of youth and adulthood. The transition into college is an exhilarating next step towards your future, where you might just be pursuing dreams that you didn't know possible prior to RIT.
For many, high school marked the beginning of a transformation. You established core morals and discovered passions that attributed to your teenage identity. College is now the opportunity to take what you’ve learned about yourself, expand on it with new interests, and apply it to the “real world” you.
Here are some of the lessons that I believe had the biggest impact on my happiness and success as a first year at RIT. Now granted, I have much more to learn during my next three years here. But my hope is that what I encountered will benefit all incoming freshmen across the diverse spectrum of majors, living arrangements and backgrounds. Sooo, get ready, get set, ROAR!
Tip #1: Speak Up
Make the effort to introduce yourself to those who you otherwise wouldn't get to know, such as the person behind you in the food line. Don’t hesitate to use the seemingly obvious questions like “what’s your name?” “what’s your major?” or “where are you from?”. These conversation starters are simple yet engaging, and they'll often lead to more personal (and interesting) topics. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself caught in a web of six degrees of seperation (your roommate knows the guy in your OA group, who happens to be friends with a few art students in your major, who live on a floor with your mechanical engineering friend, who also knows your roommate...and so on and so forth).
You’ll surprise yourself with all the people you’re acquainted with before you even begin your first class!
Tip #2: “Easy A” Classes Aren’t So Easy
At some point during college, you will have someone tell you not to dwell over a certain course because it’s an “easy A”. Just a warning, there are no easy A courses in college. Even if your professor has a laid back approach to the curriculum. Even if you have perfect attendance, do well on assignments and even participate frequently. In order to get the grades you believe you deserve, you will have to put forth the time and effort that is required every step along the way- because college isn’t highschool. You can’t expect to get an A just by hoping your professor likes you (although it doesn't hurt to step into office hours once in a while!)
Tip #3: Mental Notes
With freedom comes responsibility. Make a schedule each day, even if it's only in your head. Plan out the key items you hope to check off before hitting the hay, whether it is going to the gym, meeting with your advisor or grabbing lunch with a friend. Hold yourself accountable to these tasks as if they were a class. This way of thinking will tune your productivity, independence and self initiative skills. When the sun starts to set, you will feel relaxed and accomplished; ready to start the next day with a bang!
Tip #4: Utilize RIT Resources
Here are some superlative ones to keep your eye out for, I even supplied you with the links to their sites!
- Center For Residence Life
- RIT Leadership Institute & Community Service Center
- Center For Student Innovation
- Magic @ RIT (it's brand new!)
- Bates Study Center and Sol Study Center
- Co-Op and Careers Office
- The Wallace Center
- No Voice Zone (learn ASL in a fun environment no matter what skill level you are, sorry no website!)
- The Writing Center (soon to be added into 1st floor of library)
- Study Abroad Office
...and many, many, many more!
Tip #5: Keep An Open Mind
In a matter of weeks you will be immersed in a city and campus rich in culture and tradition. You will learn sign language so you can communicate with your classmates and floormates. You will browse through the club fair with endless options for involvement awaiting you. If you have always wanted to pick up a new hobby, learn a new skill, or play a sport you’ve never played (quidditch, anyone?) now is the time to do so. Relish in the fun of orientation week- it's the best of both worlds, as you are considered a college student, but substitute schoolwork and studying with carnivals and free trips to the Red Barn. Reach out to your OA and your RA. Introduce yourself to your professors the first day of class.
I can still remember the words of wisdom given to the incoming freshmen last August from our former president, Taylor Deer. He harped on the theme of opportunity, and how RIT offers it’s students so much, if we only are willing to grab on.
So keep your head straight, mind focused, and breathe deep, because you are now running a fresh new race. Soon you will be crossing that well earned finish line, but for now, enjoy this moment as Ritchie passes you the baton.
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*Photos are not my own, all from RIT.edu and Google*