Raka Ghosh Dastidar
Freshman, Environmental Engineering

Freshman year of college is exciting, demanding, thrilling and frustrating, all at the same time. There are so many things to do, but not enough time to do them all. You’ve got new classes to take, new lecture times to adjust to, new friends to make, new rooms to live in, and most of all, new food to palate to.
It’s often very easy to fall behind in your courses and lose track of your goals, amidst all the chaos going on outside and within you.
But here are a few tips I wish I’d known my first semester.
Firstly, don’t forget to keep in touch with all the amazing people you meet. Facebook is a highly convenient to do that, and it’s much easier to send someone a Friend Request on Facebook, than it is to ask for their phone number. Making friends is incredibly crucial in your initial days, as it’s always fun to have someone to go to classes with, have your meals with, or simply hang out with.
Secondly, always attend the first lecture of the semester. Professors often talk about things that are very important, but easy to miss, like exam schedules, office hours, TA/LA sessions and opportunities for extra credit. Often, some courses use special websites for online homework and screencasts that you may have to pay for separately, but you may not know about them until you’ve missed the deadline for the first quiz!
Thirdly, if you’re freaking out about which clubs to join, from the hundreds that were tabling around you and handing you flyers, start with three – Sport, Leadership and Co-curricular. Easy, right?
Joining a sports club is always important as it keeps you fit and healthy, besides improving your memory and attention span.
For leadership, try being an active member of your Residence Hall Council, for example. I know from personal experience that it’s a lot of fun because you work with people who live around you, and you get to plan and organize events for your other dorm-mates.
And if you’re wondering what a co-curricular club would be like, it could be anything you’re passionate about, like Photography, Debating, or even Graphic design!
That way, you’ll have some amazing things to write about in your Resume, and your future employers will know what an all-rounder you are!
And speaking of resumes, start your job search as soon as you feel ready for it. It doesn’t have to be a paid position, but neither should it mean serving in the dining halls. When you graduate, (and you’ll be there sooner than you thought!), the only thing that will set you apart from the hundreds of other students who have the same degree as you, are the internships and training sessions you’ve had related to your major. So start early; you never know if the company you intern for likes your work and decides to hire you after you graduate!
As a closing thought, just remember to be yourself! No two people have the same experience as a Freshman, but if you prepare well, then it’ll definitely turn out to the most amazing time of your life!

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