A Senior's Advice to the New Freshmen

College. Everyone says it is supposed to be the best four years of your life. What they don’t tell you is how it goes by faster than lightning speed. Being a senior, I have been around Appalachian’s block a time or two and throughout my time and experience here, I have gained some wisdom that I feel a duty to pass on to the new youths of the university. Whether it be social, academic, or just plain life advice, you’ll want to know these things moving forward throughout your college years.

1. Take advantage of campus resources

One of the things I wish I would have done was take more advantage of the resources available to me that were included in my tuition. I have used the campus gyms a handful of times, but I wish I would have been more involved in the group fitness classes that are offered. You can choose from yoga, zumba, cardio dance, HIIT, the possibilities are endless. 

Another really good resource is the university writing center. The people who work there can help you with any writing skill you need. They can edit your papers before you send them in or help you write a paper you are struggling on. It is really helpful to make sure you are on the right track with a really important paper that has to be perfect. 

 

2. Care about your schoolwork

The ultimate reason you are in college is to get an education. The decisions you make freshman and sophomore year can really affect your GPA in the future, so make sure you are staying on top of your schoolwork. I know that it can be really tempting to hit up a frat party in the middle of the week when you have a test you need to study for, but missing one party won’t be the end of the world. You will feel much better when you ace that test and then go out to another party on the weekend to celebrate. 

3. It’s all about balance

It is so important to stay on top of your schoolwork, but don’t make it your whole life. Make time to hang out with your friends too. School can get stressful, and you need to be surrounded by friends when you feel like you are going off the the deep end. Having that support at school makes the transition to college life so much easier. The friends you make in college will be your lifelong friends and they will be your family away from home. 

Make time to go out and have a good time. Parties are part of the college experience and everyone should go to at least one. Me personally, I got all of that out of my system freshman year, and now my ideal night is drinking wine and watching movies with my best friends. Whatever floats your boat, just make time to do it. You’ll go crazy if you don’t.

4. Don’t go home for a couple months, and not every weekend

The biggest mistake you could make is going home the first weekend you are here. Leaving home for the first time is really hard, but the people you meet in the first few days of your freshman year could end up being those lifelong friends I talked about before. Being in college is so much fun, but it is only what you make it. If you go home every weekend, you won’t get to experience all of the extra fun Boone has to offer. The hiking trails are amazing and you just won’t be able to get enough of those breathtaking views. Boone also has cool and quirky places to shop, eat, and just hang out all over the town. It has so much character and it is literally the best possible place to live in college. Make the most of your time here.

5. Get involved

Like I said, your college experience is what you make it. The easiest way to make friends is to join a club or sorority/fraternity. App State has hundreds of clubs and there is bound to be one where you would make a perfect fit! Any interest you have, there’s most likely a club for it. Whether it be hula hooping, writing, fairy hunting, or art, there is a place for you. Her Campus is always looking to expand the team, so why not come give us a try?! Joining a club that matches an interest you have automatically surrounds you with people who share those interests and it gives you something to do other than school. 

6. DO NOT USE OR WEAR A LANYARD FOR YOUR KEYS!!

It may seem so practical and great to carry around campus, but just don’t. Get an ID wallet that you can attach your keys to, keep them in your book bag, or even put them on your belt loop, but for the love of all that is good and holy, do not use a lanyard. That is a sure sign of a freshman and although it may seem silly, upperclassmen will make fun of you. Don’t put yourself through that.

7. Wear practical shoes and clothing

Boone is a very unique town. So unique, that you can experience every single season in one day, AND you get the pleasure of walking uphill no matter which side of campus you are on. Wear comfortable shoes. Yeah, wedge booties are super cute to go with your blanket scarf and vest in the fall, but your feet will murder you if you do it. Heels and wedges are a no go on our campus. Most people will wear Nike shorts or leggings and a t-shirt with tennis shoes or Chacos. In high school, that is a “bum day,” but in college, that is all you can manage some days, and that is okay. Don’t feel like you have to go overboard every single day to impress people here. Be comfortable and practical. 

8. Don’t buy every book, you don’t always have to do all the reading

App State is a beautiful place where you can rent your textbooks for free! Take advantage of that, but also know that the books that aren’t rentals that you have to buy may not always be worth the cost. If one of your books isn’t a rental, don’t buy it until after the first day of class. If you are going to have to read it for every single class, then get it. If they say, “It is for your reference, and you will probably need it for more help on your term paper,” DO NOT BUY IT. I have plenty of experience with not buying the textbook and still making an A on the term paper. You will be fine. 

Teachers love to assign a lot of reading. I am here to tell you that if you read every single thing and take notes on it, you will be working on one night’s worth of homework until you graduate. Learn to prioritize the readings you have to do and skim. Your new best skill will be skimming 37 page articles. Also invest in a highlighter. When something jumps out at you as you are skimming, highlight it, jot some notes in the margin, and call it a day. 

9. Budget your money

College is expensive. Living in general is expensive. Do not spend money on things you don’t need. What I like to do is when I think of something I want, I wait a few weeks. If I still want it, I will prioritize it on my wish list and when I have a little bit of extra money, I will buy it. Get rid of the mindset of shopping to reward yourself for finishing homework or doing well on a test. You will easily realize that your shopping habits will not match up with the current lifestyle you are trying to sustain. You also do not have to go off campus to eat somewhere else for every meal. Cherish your meal plan. Love your meal plan. Use your meal plan. When it is gone, you WILL miss it and wish you had one again. Trust me. You do not want to check your bank account and end up looking like the dude above.

10. Plan ahead for next year’s living arrangements

Boone is a very small town with limited housing, which means the apartment complexes fill up pretty quickly. If you know you will be living off campus next year, start touring and applying for places before Christmas break to ensure that you will have somewhere to live next year. Be careful who you live with as well. You will quickly learn that your dorm or apartment is your haven. It is where you live and sleep and relax, so make sure you live with people who share the same standards of living as you do. Make sure you guys set ground rules and expectations at the beginning of the year and hold each other to them. It makes for a much better living experience.

 

There are a million more little snippets of advice I could give you, but some things you just have to figure out for yourself. Take it all in. These are about to be the best four years of your life and you will cherish these memories for the rest of your life. It will be hard sometimes, but know you will get through it and live up to your dreams. Good luck, and go App!

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