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6 Things I Wish I Would've Known as a Freshman At OU

By Claudia Moreno
On April 24, 2017

Photo courtesy of: The Odyssey Online 

The semester is coming to an end, and so is my career at Ottawa University. I am only two weeks away from walking across the stage and starting the next chapter of my life.

Looking back now, however, there are some things I wish I had known. If I could go back in time and tell myself a few basic tips, I think my time at OU would have been much easier. So, I am going to tell you instead. Here are a few things that I wish I had known at OU. If you think they are helpful, make sure to share them with your freshman buddies and make their time here a little bit easier and more enjoyable.

1. Attend Student Activities

Did you know you pay an annual $600 student benefit fee? All activities that occur on campus are your dimes and nickels. Campus Activities Board, also known as CAB, puts on several activities each month. At these events every student is given the opportunity to win prizes, with some prizes ranging from 54-inch TVs, to Beats by Dre! Are you feeling lucky? Simply attend the events and you have a 50/50 chance of winning something. In addition, you will gain a great college experience with your peers.

Other activities include free Subway night, free movie night, build-a-stuffed animal day and finals week food runs.

Make sure you watch the television advertisements in the dining center, library and administration building, or read the centerpieces on the cafeteria tables: They let you know when special events are happening.

2. Study Habits

It is important to remember that you are in college for a reason. Staying on top of your studies and doing assignments when they are assigned will save you time in the long run. When you are a freshman, it is important to create proper study habits because they will give you a stress-free college experience. Cramming and doing procrastinated work will pile up, and it is imperative to take the stressful burden of homework away sooner rather than later.

A good way to create great study habits is to keep your life as organized as possible. When you are doing school shopping, buy yourself a simple planner and keep it close by. Whenever an assignment is handed out, write down the due date in your planner and check it frequently. Want to take this a step further? Plan out your next day every night before bed- this limits opportunities for procrastination!

3. Parties are not everything

It is okay to miss a weekend outing! Keep your priorities straight and get your schoolwork done on time. It is easy to fall behind when you are not aware of how to balance your social life with your student life.

If you are an athlete, dry seasons are a serious matter. If you are susceptible to peer pressure, separate yourself from temptations and stay dedicated to your team. You will have all the time in the world to party, just learn to balance your life in a manner that allows it.

4. Friends

In college, you will meet your lifelong friends. This is absolutely true. It is important, however, that you choose your circle of friends wisely. Surround yourself with prosperous people who share the same values, work ethic and aspirations as you. It is easy to get mixed up with the wrong crowd. Remember to guide yourself along a path with the people who help you grow as an individual.

You are who you surround yourself with. Do you want to be successful? Surround yourself with people who want to be successful as well, and grow with each other. Create a garden of friends!

5. Enjoy your youth

Don’t be in a hurry to grow up. Enjoy your years in college and make memories. You only have college once, and you will have the rest of your life to adult. Enjoy the four years and make it memorable. Make endless memories with your friends because you will miss seeing everyone everyday, I promise!

After college, people will go separate ways, wherever life takes them. The true friends, and the memories, will be all you have once your time here is over. Someday, student loans will kick in, you will find yourself working in the field you went to school for and you will look back and remember how great college was because of the experiences that you allow yourself to enjoy.

6. Pep up!

When life gets stressful, it is easy to shut yourself down. You might walk through campus like a zombie and occasionally whisper something like, “I’m dying” or “I’m dropping out.” It is important that you remain inspired or your time here will continue to be miserable. While you are a freshman and your classes remain relatively easy, find ways to inspire yourself and keep that list continually updated. Use the motivational skills that you create now for the rest of your college experience and the rest of your life! There are going to be moments when you completely lose your muster and you will want to give up, but you must keep going.

Create a playlist, exercise, hangout with friends, go get a coffee, do something to give yourself some clarity.

Those are some tips that I think are important for every freshman to hear. It is easy to give yourself completely to one side of college or the other -- the studying, or the partying -- but, as with everything, balance needs to rule all. As you go through life, it is absolutely necessary for you to prioritize, organize and conceptualize the future. Where do you see yourself going? How will you get there? Think of this always and you will do great.

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