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HANNAN: 5 Things I Would Tell My Freshman Self

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As I reflect on my college experience in my last semester, I thought of five things I wish I could tell my freshman self.

Join More Clubs – Unfortunately for me, this falls into that category of “advice I heard but didn’t follow.” I came to Marquette planning to settle into the new environment first and then join organizations once I felt comfortable. What actually happened was that I became too comfortable and didn’t want to do anything outside of my comfort zone. Don’t get me wrong, I had a lot of fun and thoroughly enjoyed my abundant free time, but I should have taken advantage of the unique opportunities that college extracurriculars have to offer. It is one of your only chances to explore and experiment with your different interests while meeting people who probably have something in common with you.

Take Cool Classes – Like many students, my main concerns while enrolling in classes have always been the easiness rankings on ratemyprofessors.com and how late I could sleep in. Although I am thankful for low maintenance classes and the luxury of sleeping in late after a long night of studying (or other activities) some of my favorite courses at Marquette have been labor intensive and early in the morning. It’s easy to forget that our main reason for going to college is education. We have a valuable chance to choose from a wide variety of topics and learn about them. Why not take classes on subjects that interest you? I promise, it’s a lot easier to wake up early for something you are actually excited to learn.

Explore Milwaukee – Not all college towns have much to offer beyond campus so don’t take Milwaukee for granted. Although you have everything you need right on campus, taking a spontaneous excursion into the city can be a perfect change to your normal schedule. I didn’t really explore Milwaukee until I had a car during my junior year, but it really isn’t that inconvenient to take the bus or even walk when the weather is nice.

Talk to Anyone and Everyone – This also goes into the category of advice I wish I had followed. Despite hearing this from many different people, it still didn’t really hit home with me until late in my college career. Classes, clubs, intramurals and events are all great ways to meet new people. But don’t underestimate the power of striking up conversation with a stranger. Whether you’re trying to be friendly to someone eating alone in the dining hall or you’re making small talk on the L.I.M.O., you never know how much you will have in common with people that you otherwise never would have met.

Enjoy College – College is full of new responsibilities and challenges. Once the “honeymoon” phase of syllabus week wears off and you have homework, jobs and (if you take my advice) clubs, you’ll probably be very stressed. Don’t let this freak you out. You’ll eventually find what works for you. While these responsibilities are important, don’t let them take over your life. College is an incredible and unique opportunity that only lasts four years. Take advantage of it. If you really are overbooked, find something less essential to cut back on (like sleep). After all, you have your whole life to catch up on rest, but your college time is already ticking. Get out there and live every second of it!

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