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Tips for Incoming Noles From a First Year Student

This time last year, I was wrapping up my senior year of high school with my two best friends, all of us ready to take on new adventures at three separate colleges: University of North Florida, University of Central Florida, and me, at Florida State University. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but before I knew it, I was all packed and ready to move into my very first freshman dorm in Azalea Hall for the Summer C session.

For someone like me, being seven hours away from home without a car was a little frightening at first, but I had the chance to take two classes over a six-week course with less than half the normal population of the school. In those first few weeks, I found myself exploring the campus. The Summer C session is typically for incoming freshman and is probably the best opportunity for a new student to get to know Florida State’s campus before over 30,000 students take over the school. I found my study spot at Strozier – the booths at Starbucks – and became familiar with most of the buildings, like the SLC and a plethora of dining options.

When the fall semester rolled around, I had my eyes set on getting on the Dean’s List and joining a club. FSU has over 700 clubs and organizations on campus and I was bound to find one that I would like to join. In high school, I took part in Dance Marathon and I luckily got involved with it this year as an InspiratioNOLE Leader. Dance Marathon opened up so many opportunities for me and I met so many incredible people who I probably wouldn’t have become friends with if I hadn’t joined the organization. Joining an organization, whether it’s a club like Dance Marathon or a sorority or fraternity, can lead to lifelong friendships and open many doors. Not to mention, being a part of an organization also looks amazing on your resume.

Every semester, I try to make a few friends with people in all of my classes. College is all about learning new things and meeting new people, so why not befriend someone you’ll see for an entire semester? Knowing a few people from each class is also helpful when you miss a class or you want to study with someone before a big test.

The fall semester is also one of FSU’s busiest times for football. Although I’m not much of a fan of football especially with our lack of wins this past year, I absolutely loved attending football games in the fall. The atmosphere is one of a kind and the games are usually pretty amazing to watch, even if we do end up losing. However, if you’re not much of a football fan, FSU has alternative options to keep you busy on the weekend, like watching a movie at the Student Life Center or going to a University Housing event on Landis Green, where you’ll typically get free food and shirts.

Before I came to FSU, I learned that meal plans were optional, but I knew that having one would be the best option for me. However, I learned the hard way why the meal plans aren’t required for freshmen. Although I told myself I would go to the dining hall as many times as possible, it didn’t happen. However, I took advantage of the meal swipe option, which takes off $6.45 once a day at any restaurant on campus, such as Chick-fil-a and Subway. Most meal plans also come with Flexbucks, which you can use anywhere on campus. If you plan on eating on campus majority of your first year then I would recommend getting a small meal plan option, because you can use the meal swipe once a day and save more money than if you were to go off-campus or order from UberEats.

As my first year at Florida State comes to an end, I look back at all of my achievements so far – adding a second major, joining three organizations and making so many amazing memories with my friends. While the first year at college can seem daunting, if you make an effort to have fun, make friends and keep up your grades, I guarantee you’ll love your first year at Florida State.

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I'm a senior double majoring in Media Communications and Editing, Writing, and Media at Florida State. I'm passionate about writing and have an unconditional love for books and fictional characters. In my free time, I love to go to coffee shops, see movies, and go on adventures with my friends.
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