By Noah Goldberg
The start of another school year at DeSales University brings with it many new beginnings: the start of a new sports season, a fresh chance to make friends and an opportunity to grow in your career development and on-campus activities. Of course, if you are a freshman, then most of these ideas are completely new to you and you are beginning from square one. It is my hope that I can offer some insight on how to begin college on the right track in general, and more specifically showcase how to make your first experiences as DeSales students as great as possible.
The number one priority for most new college students is “Who are my friends going to be?” The task of forming strong relationships with complete strangers may seem daunting, but I believe it should be an easy and stress-free process. Rather than giving a broad tip such as, “Say hello to three new people every day,” I suggest looking for people that you share interests with. It is easier now more than ever to plant the seeds of a strong friendship considering that everyone around you is also brand new to the school. One piece of advice specific to DeSales is to attend Campus Activity Board (CAB) events. Many of the group’s events are very low pressure which make striking up a conversation with a stranger much easier.
Choosing a friend group in college is also similar to discovering what activities you want to participate in on campus. Like most universities, DeSales offers a wide range of clubs and organizations to join where you can make meaningful contributions to campus life. My suggestion for anyone unsure of what groups to join would be to join a bunch of them initially and then dwindle the list down to the few you really enjoy. Rather then spreading yourself too thin across a bunch of clubs you do not enjoy, dedicate your time to two or three organizations that truly garner your interest. Having more time to give to a select few activities will allow you to grow in said organizations and eventually take on leadership roles that are not only personally rewarding, but also benefit your career aspirations.
Along the lines of career development, making small steps as a freshman to prepare for post-grad life will make your later years at DeSales both easier and more enjoyable. Although it is never too early to find an internship in your career field, I would suggest focusing on finding a satisfying part time or work study job. When considering what type of employment you desire, there are three main factors to consider. First, the pay rate from an on-campus job will most likely be less than a traditional part time job. Second, working a part time job will mean regularly commuting off of campus. Finally, it will most likely be easier to find a job on campus that is related to your field of study. These three factors will be valued differently in every individual’s mind, however, so there is no right or wrong choice.
One of the more overlooked aspects of being a DeSales freshman is the importance of budgeting. Perhaps the most important advice I can give to on campus students at DeSales is to use your flex appropriately. I made the mistake my first semester of college by having $600 dollars of flex left on the last day of finals. If you don’t use a lot of flex daily, I suggest finding something that you can buy in bulk and start using the money as soon as possible.
The final and most important aspect of your first year of college is, of course, the classes themselves. I understand that everyone has different methods for succeeding in school, but I have two specific guidelines that have truly benefited me. Firstly, show up to class every single day and actively listen to the lecture. Excellent attendance and participation can help boost your grade in just about every class at DeSales. The second tip for succeeding in class is to write down everything you have to do in multiple locations. I make sure to write down every assignment on both my computer’s calendar and in a notebook. This method allows me to never forget what assignments I have due at any given time.
Even though freshman year of college seems like a complicated maze at first glance, in a matter of weeks, almost all the unique aspects of living at DeSales will seem familiar and comfortable to you.