Hook up your computer. Get your college ID card and the key to your campus mailbox. Find the closest ATM that takes your card and the best place for your morning cuppa joe.
All are important tasks for arriving freshmen, says Emily Shumaker of Bremen. But first and foremost, they need to meet and greet.
“I’d tell them, that first weekend they come in, to make as many connections as possible, to say hi to as many people as possible,” said Shumaker, a junior physical therapy major at Walsh University. “Even if you’re not the most outgoing person in the world — try to be.”
The first day of classes at area universities is Aug. 26, and some students have already begun moving in. When we asked upperclassmen for advice for incoming freshmen, the older students tended to emphasize attitude rather than tasks.
“I wish someone had told me to relax,” said Melissa Melnick, a Malone University sophomore from Salem. “I’d want (freshmen) to know they don’t have to worry, that it’s going to be fine.”
Chavela Cantu, a residence adviser at Walsh, encourages new students to join campus clubs.
“A lot of times, it’s their first time away from home and they want to go home every weekend. I’m trying to get them to stay on campus, to get involved on campus,” said Cantu, a senior from New Philadelphia. “Their best bet is to get to know as many people as they can. In the freshmen dorms, they leave the doors wide open and they get to know each other. The floors get really close — it makes the college experience so much better.”
Cantu suggests students get organized so papers and projects get turned in on time.
“Some might like to keep a calendar or a planner, some like a dry erase board, some like sticky notes,” she said. “We do a program on it — Organizing 101 — that’s a big hit.”
Paige Showalter, a sophomore at Malone from Barberton, advised getting a jump on being organized by taking care of some details before you leave home.
“I felt a lot better that I got all my books before I arrived,” Showalter said. “My roommate hadn’t got all her books when we got to campus — she was stressed out. And if you order ahead of time, you can get the best prices.”
Showalter also suggests freshmen check in with the registrar and the financial aid office to make sure financial paperwork is in order.
Get a campus map and figure out where your classes are so you won’t get lost. The next step, Cantu said, is to actually go to class.
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“It’s not high school — they aren’t required to go to classes,” Cantu said. “Now they have to make the choice — going to class, staying up late, deciding to skip. It’s important to get their priorities in line.”