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Four Things Every Freshman Should Know

As Welcome Week comes to an end, the feeling that you are at summer camp wears off and you realize that you still actually have to go to college. Before getting into the swing of things this year, there a few things you need to keep in mind. Don’t risk saying as a sophomore that you wish you had known more as a freshman. Follow these four tips as to what to do this semester and you’ll be set for not only freshman year, but for all four years of college.

Get involved. So many students often look back on their freshman experience and realize that there were so many activities, clubs and sports on campus that they never knew existed.

Rather than risk not getting involved until sophomore year (which is sometimes too late) try checking everything and anything by exploring what TCNJ has to offer at the Student Activities Fair on Wednesday Sept. 5, from noon to 3 p.m. With a prime walking location at the Brower Student Center, you can’t help but see the insane things that our school has to offer. Leave for class just a few minutes early and be sure to talk to everyone, from the Club Flag Football Team to the Alternative Break Club and everything in between.

“When I was a freshman, I signed up for a bunch of clubs [at the activities fair] and tried them all out for a couple of weeks,” says sophomore nursing major Caylee Harrington. “After that I narrowed it down to the ones I actually wanted to get involved with, such as Lions EMS. It is one on campus organization that fit what I was looking for.”

Stay Organized. It can be difficult to stay organized when you transition from a high school schedule of the same classes everyday to only four classes spread out throughout the week. For junior mathematics and secondary education double major Julianna Leonard, keeping herself on track took a lot of work.

“I took AP and honors courses in high school, but it was still hard to get back in a routine at college,” says Leonard. “I started using a planner and color coordinating my notebooks, folders and books for class.”

Rather than struggle with remembering your schedule and assignments by heart, utilize the materials in the campus bookstore. With planners, calendars, folders, notebooks, and pretty much anything and everything that you need for you classes and your desk area, you will end up being better prepared for your new college routine than some of the College’s seniors.

Utilize your Community Advisor (CA). Every freshman that lives on campus has one and they are often not utilized to their fullest potential. The Community Advisors at TCNJ are trained upperclassmen that know more about not only policy and procedures, but also about the campus in general. Don’t know where a building is? Find a CA. Having trouble with your ID or student account? Find a CA. Having issues with your roommate? Find a CA.

“I had a couple issues with my roommate my freshman year,” says Jen Toth, a junior finance major. “But I was able to overcome them by talking to my CA.”

For Jen, it was a simple talk with her CA that allowed her to make the best of a bad situation and even motivated her to become a CA too.

“I ended up becoming really good friends with my roommate because of it and I also applied to become a CA the following year and am now a part of the department,” says Toth.

Take care of yourself. In college, there are no parents to give you medicine at night when you are sick or make you a healthy dinner. The responsibility is on you. Don’t risk missing a class by catching a cold or gaining the freshman 15. Instead learn about the resources on campus that can help you stay in line.

“In high school, when I got sick, my parents made the doctor appointment for me,” says senior marketing major Spencer Davis. “But when I got sick freshman year, I had to figure out when I needed to go to Health Services and see a doctor. Once I learned how to do that, it was a lot easier from then on.”

Utilize Health Services and the on-campus dietician in order to learn about healthy living habits that will allow you to eat what you want (in moderation), get enough sleep to function and still have a social life and prevent you from getting sick so many times that you have to retake a course.

Follow these four simple tips and freshman year will be a breeze. Before you know it, it will be over, so don’t let it pass you by and be healthy, smart and safe this year.

Hilarey Wojtowicz is a senior Journalism/Professional Writing major at The College of New Jersey. Hilarey works for TCNJ's Residential Education and Housing Department as a Community Advisor, but is truly aspiring to be the next Carrie Bradshaw. Not only does Hilarey love writing for her campus's chapter of Her Campus, but she enjoys writing about sports for local newspapers, as well. A true Jersey girl at heart, Hilarey is definitely not from the Boston area, but is a huge fan of the New England Patriots. You can find her interning in New York City this Fall at Woman's Day Magazine.
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