Unsolicited Advice that YOU Need to Take

I just graduated high school. The day that the scorching June sun was beating down on my cap while I awaited my name to be called to collect my diploma felt like yesterday. I had been anticipating that day for years. It’s as if that impending day of glory -- the day that signified the light at the end of the tunnel was captured in my memory just recently. People were asking about my post high school plans, to which I replied “The University of Vermont is where I'll attend”. My major? Well I had no clue at the time. Now that high school was over, I had a set of expectations that I felt college would meet. From my social circle to academics, I thought I knew how everything was going to go, but akin to everything else in life, I was caught by surprise upon my arrival in August. So, to all you soon-to-be high school graduates or to anyone planning on hitting the road for college, here are some words of wisdom from a second semester freshman.

1. College is what you make of it.

My apologies for starting this one off with one of the most cliche lines of advice, but I swear that this holds true in most situations. While I am only a freshman here at UVM, it did not take me long to realize that sitting in my dorm and seeing what other people were up to on Snapchat and Instagram was harmful. It created a toxic environment for me; why couldn’t I be doing those things? In my case, and for many others, my college experience has been a direct result of my personal efforts. My first semester here was pretty uneventful and brought me to a point of questioning everything -- from if I made the right call on coming to UVM to whether college was right for me at all. When spring term commenced, I knew something had to change; going directly back to my dorm after a long day may feel like the right thing to do at the moment, but what I personally needed was to branch out and expand my social circle. So this semester I did that for myself, and I’d say things are taking a turn for the better!

2. Get organized.

High school is nothing like college. I don’t care how you twist it -- no amount of APs will surmount your college workload. So, I advise you not enter your first semester with too much confidence, because Psych 001 is nothing like AP Psych (psst you might actually fail it the first time around)! Even if it’s as simple as spending a couple of dollars on a planner, write down everything you need to do so that you stay on top of your work! Also, I don’t know about anyone else, but getting used to Blackboard was a struggle in itself -- definitely don’t panic if you feel lost at times because you, my friend, are not alone. And on that note of getting things done, make sure that you do every assignment your professor assigns, because while skipping a one page reading may feel like appropriate because the Bachelor is on, it could mean passing up an easy A on the pop quiz your professor hands out tomorrow.

3. Best friends are hard to find. And last but not least, friends. Get off of Instagram - right now. It isn’t helping. A lesson

that has taken me a while to learn is stop settling for people that are ‘good enough’ instead of taking the time to branch out, even when it feels uncomfortable. Settle only for people that are absolutely exceptional. Granted, this process can take time, but don’t feel stuck in the mud if you are not the happiest with your current social circle. Friends are probably the biggest aspect of your social life at college -- they are your support system; you tell them everything -- from how you completely wiped out on the snowy sidewalk, to the last bio quiz you bombed -- you need your person. It takes a long time to find that one person who you inseparable from, but once you do, acknowledge that gift!

Julia Kaplansky



Edited by Annie Stibora