In an article about advice from a college senior, a senior-level students points to a blackboard while instructing a freshman on necessary things they need to know when entering college.

Advice From a College Senior

Hindsight is 20/20.
April 12, 2023
6 mins read

As a freshman, I walked into my first day in college with wide eyes and a sense of wonder. It was a huge change. There were some things that even the “self-help” books didn’t prepare me for, like campus culture, making friends and time management. I can’t lie; it was a peculiar experience. As a college senior on the brink of graduation, I have accumulated many valuable lessons to share with anyone who is in need of a little inside knowledge.

Do not lock yourself in your dorm room.

Yes, you’ll always have homework, and yes, it may feel like you can never leave your dorm room. But don’t purposefully lock yourself in there. Go outside, get some sunshine and meet some friends on the quad. If you need to finish some homework, walk to the on-campus library and do it there instead. Locking yourself in your dorm room closes you off and can lead to loneliness and burnout. Go outside, you vampire!

When you’re going to a university event, arrive early.

Whether it’s a home football game or the school-wide Polar Plunge, note that many people attend these things. The camaraderie is great and all, but if you really want that limited edition t-shirt, there’s a good chance they’re only giving to the first 200 people. Plus, if you want to sit close to the action, get there early to claim your seat! I cannot tell you how often I have been thwarted by someone else taking the spot I wanted at a football game because I arrived too late.

There is no such thing as assigned seating.

This is not high school. Quite frankly, your professors couldn’t care less about where you sit; we’re all adults who can find a chair. If you like a specific row or want to sit in the back—so your professor doesn’t see you texting your mom under the desk—getting there early results in more seating options. However, from my experience as a college senior, there is an unspoken rule that you don’t sit in someone else’s claimed “spot” in a classroom, so beware.

The campus writing center is your friend.

Believe me when I say not visiting the writing center is a grave mistake. While the writing center may seem like a scary place to go, it offers exceptional opportunities to improve your work. Your essay may already look impressive, but take it to the writing center before submitting it to your professor. You’ll be amazed at the essay you leave with. Keep in mind that going to the writing center requires planning, since most require an appointment, as well as extra time out of your schedule. However, it is well worth it when you turn in that paper and get an excellent grade on it.

Don’t drink the coffee!

Unless your dining hall or student union is attached to a corporate coffee chain, drinking coffee on campus is generally a bad idea. If you prefer your espresso unburnt and your milk without an inch and a half of foam on top, spend your $8.00 somewhere else. Since a crash course in espresso-making doesn’t translate well to a student worker who already has enough things to think about, consider going to a local coffee joint with the new friend you met in class or at the football game.

Be open to new people and a new you.

Isolating yourself in college is one of the biggest mistakes you could make. As someone who began college closed off, I had difficulty making friends when I moved to university last fall. Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic happened during my first and second years, which encouraged that behavior. Shutting yourself off from everyone pushes potential friends and colleagues away. To survive in college, you need people to help support you. I found that opening up to people was hard, but I was so appreciative that I did it. As a college senior, I now have lifelong friends with whom I will stay connected for the rest of my life. And you could, too; but you have to open yourself up to others first.

Make sure to be open to yourself too. A lot can change in four years, and embracing those changes can make you more confident, friendly and even more fun. Keeping yourself open allows you to embrace those changes and to experience things that will be valuable later in life.

If you take away anything from this article, let it be that you must keep yourself open to new people and new opportunities. They can change the course of your life for the better. College is hard, but not immersing yourself in college makes it more challenging. Go to a football game, participate in clubs, and go have fun. Take it from a college senior, make the most of your four years, because they won’t last forever.

Katie Koenig, George Fox University

Writer Profile

Katie Koenig

George Fox University
English and Journalism

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