Dalton: What I wish I knew as a freshman
**Editor’s note: This story first appeared in the Emerald’s “Back to the Books” edition, which is currently available in locations throughout Eugene.**
Freshmen year inevitably includes an abundance of firsts.
It’s your first night in the dorms, your first college class and your first time doing laundry. But what truly makes this first week scary is the undeniable realization that your life is in motion. The purgatory of high school has ended, and your decisions suddenly matter in the grand scheme of life.
In the beginning, these thoughts are terrifying, but freshmen year will be unlike any other. As a tribute to my confused freshmen self, I’d like to offer some advice for your first year of college.
Take care of your body and your mind. For many, the freshman fifteen is not a myth. Luckily for you, the University of Oregon has a fantastic Recreation Center. Use it. More importantly, don’t hate yourself over a few extra pounds. Our teenage metabolisms are failing us all.
Take care of the person you share your space with. Having a roommate can be challenging, but it’s a lot of fun. Be mindful of their alone time and never assume they know your boundaries. Roommates often turn into forever friends, so be kind to them.
Don’t be too quick to judge the people you encounter. Initially, I hated some of the people I met at school, but they later became dear friends. Being in college will give you the opportunity to create relationships with people you may otherwise have never met.
Professors are assets. If you like your professor when they are speaking to 300 people, you will love them outside of class. Even if you don’t have questions, visiting office hours can be extremely beneficial to you. Professors have ample knowledge and they want to help you succeed. Go to office hours often and get to know your professors. You won’t regret it.
You will have plenty of time to complete your requirements. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to be undeclared. Take all the classes you’re interested in and browse your options. If you put yourself on a one-way track to a psychology degree, you may never discover that you have a passion for political science.
Your major will shape the way you view the world, so do something you love. Stop worrying about which majors have the highest starting salary. If you love philosophy, be a philosophy major. My friends and I spent countless nights crammed in a dorm room stressing over majors. Little did we know, it is not a decision that can be made by reading descriptions.
If nothing else, be bold. Since it’s a year of firsts, it will not be flawless. Have an open mind in everything you do. We are here to learn, even when we aren’t in class. A significant portion of the knowledge you gain in the coming four years will be from your experiences. So, never shy away from an opportunity. The misadventures are as crucial as the triumphs.
Education is absolutely priceless. You have four years to figure out who you are. Enjoy all of the firsts, even as they become mundane.
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