Ten things I wish I knew as a first-year

Posted on Sep 14 2013 - 2:41pm by Ashley Gill, Opinion Editor

If you do not click with your wing mates or if you commute and find it difficult to make friends, that is okay. All the different things they talked about in orientation (clubs, intramural sports, activities and events) may be a little intimidating at first but they are a great way to get involved. Don’t wait until junior year to realize how many people you could have met or how many things you could have participated in during your years at PLU.

1. There are always people to meet

If you do not click with your wing mates or if you commute and find it difficult to make friends, that is okay. All the different things they talked about in orientation (clubs, intramural sports, activities and events) may be a little intimidating at first but they are a great way to get involved. Don’t wait until junior year to realize how many people you could have met or how many things you could have participated in during your years at PLU.

2. Use the resources on campus

If not for better understanding and better grades, the resources gave me peace of mind. No matter what my grade ended up being on a particular assignment, I knew that I had done everything I possibly could have done and used every resource available to me. This felt a lot better than beating myself up about not getting a perfect score.

3. Talk to professors

Take advantage of office hours and start a conversation. This can not only make the class more enjoyable by being familiar with your professor but it is a great way to build connections on campus. This can come in handy when you are looking for jobs in the future or even when you just in need advice.

4. Studying abroad is possible

PLU makes it easy and affordable to travel. It is important to start looking into it as soon as possible. Even if you are thinking of studying abroad a year from now, start looking into information about studying away as soon as possible. After winter break the process starts passing by very fast and spots fill up quickly.

5. Protect your Lute card

I went without a lute card holder for a weekend and ended up losing it twice. You need your lute card for practically everything on campus (especially if you live on campus) and it is so easy for it to slip out of your pocket or get left behind somewhere (in my case a parking lot). It can be a lot better to invest in something for your card now than pay to replace it later on or have to get it reactivated.

6. You don’t have to buy new books

Buying textbooks used, renting them or finding them cheap online are great options and can save you hundreds of dollars. Every once in a while there will be times where new books are required, normally because it is an original textbook written by your professor or the book may include electronic additives.

7. Sit in the front row

It is an easy way to immediately be noticed by professors and you can avoid being distracted by your classmates.

8. Don’t go print crazy

The amount of money we are given for printing seems like it will last forever, but it is gone before you know it. Even if you are not in any writing classes, by the end of the semester you will be rushing to the concierge desk, digging into your pockets for just enough change to print that final paper that is due the next morning.

9. Say no to on-campus extras

Many of us are away from home and don’t have our parents supplying us with food anymore. While the school does provide wholesome options, it is up to us to decide not to eat pizza every meal. It can be difficult to not give into the entire freezer case full of endless Ben and Jerrys or not take full advantage of the all you can eat meals in every way. But it can be important to find a good balance between the things we love to eat and the things our parents love us to eat.

10. Don’t give up

There will come a point when you are so overwhelmed that the community college in your home town is looking pretty nice. You will be proud you got through those stressful times though. It does not happen often but there are occasional bumps to get over. Just remember hard times will not last forever and it will get better.

We asked students to share their most helpful tips on navigating Pacific Lutheran University.