1. Your professors are here to help, not intimidate. If you ever feel uncomfortable with a topic or just want some extra help, that’s where your professors come in. Go to their office hours and befriend them, since the closer you get, the better your academic life will be down the road. (I promise, they don’t bite). They are also more likely to go the extra mile for you if they just get to know you.
2. Visit Dr. Porterfield! Go to his office hours and you might just find some free ice cream. How many other people can say they get to hang with the president of their colleges/universities. You don’t want to be another face in the crowd, and all it takes is one meeting for you to check something off your college bucket list (or just brag about to everyone). Plus, it’s really cool to think that the president of your college knows so much about you and gets involved in your events!
3. It’s okay to not know what you want to major in/change your major. No one expects the 18 year old you to have your whole future planned out, so that’s why you have a year and a half to declare your major. Take a variety of different courses to see what you like. You may just end up with a completely different idea of what you like or you may find your new passion in life. That being said…
4. Take classes outside your comfort zone. Hard core science person? Try an English class for a change. Never been outside the U.S.? Take a foreign language class or a history course on a foreign culture. When you take classes outside your comfort zone, you open your mind to new and interesting things. The seemingly random classes that you take often times come in handy later in life. (Plus, you do have to get rid of those requirements).
5. Make sure you have plenty of comfortable shoes. Yes, those heels may look cute with your outfit, but at F&M, you’ll be doing a lot of walking. Keep your feet happy and wear some pretty and comfy shoes!
6. Sometimes the weather can be really strange here, so make sure you’re prepared for any challenges it may throw your way. Pack those short shorts and sandals for the beginning of the year, but don’t get shocked if you want to bundle up in early November. Fleece blankets tend to do the trick for those colder Lancaster nights.
7. You can work hard, but make sure you have a good time as well. Join clubs or organizations that interest you and make you happy, and don’t feel bad if something doesn’t click right away. It may take you a while until you find the perfect clubs, sports, or organizations for you, but it will be worth the wait. Don’t let anyone influence your extra-curricular decisions but yourself. You want to be able to have a good time doing your extra-curricular activities so that it’s not like doing chores or homework.
8. The people here want to know who you are, so feel free to say hi to that girl you sit next to in class when you see her at dinner, or your professor when he’s at common hour with you. You will make a good impression if you say hello at the very least, and it definitely helps to break the ice when trying out something new.
9. Don’t show up late to class, and especially don’t show up late to class with coffee. Your professors might get the impression that you think your coffee addiction is more important than making their class on time. It’s definitely not the best way to win them over, and some professors even lower your grade if you’re consistently late.
10. Don’t forget you have people rooting for you everywhere. Your parents, family, and close friends (even those who don’t go to F&M) can be your biggest cheerleaders when the times get tough. Don’t ever feel funny about calling someone up when you just need a good pick me up. We all have those days.