The Do's and Don'ts of Your Freshman Year
Published: Sunday, September 9, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
Finding yourself freshman year is at the forefront of everyone’s mind, but as the years go on, it is still a troubling question for students. After freshman year, a student definitely does not have all of the answers. Sophomores are still teetering between possible majors and finding themselves walking into the wrong classroom for their 9 a.m. classes. Although some things, like navigating campus, become easier, all of the answers don’t come with time.
“Set the world aflame” is a motivational and inspiring phrase meant to evoke pride in Boston College students, as well as give them a sense of camaraderie and encourage them to pursue whatever they so desire. This phrase is thrown around often, but planning how you might do this yourself is a daunting task, to say the least.
Freshman year is a confusing time period. After all, we are thrown out of the comfort of our homes and into the insecure environment of strangers—expected to form raw friendships from scratch, navigate the territory, and avoid too much Late Night. So how does one balance all of this? Though we may receive a freshman handbook, there is no foolproof formula to solve this problem. There is a lot to learn from those who have come before us at BC. Here is just a bit of advice:
Number 1: Talk to your professors and advisor. An email can have much more of an impact than you would think. Although you may be in a huge, intimidating lecture hall, getting your name out there and letting your professor know you are serious about doing well, working hard, and learning can go a long way.
Number 2: Actually read, or at least skim, the emails you get from various BC faculty members. There are some extremely interesting lectures and events around campus that you may miss if you immediately delete every BC email that enters your inbox. Last year there were free burritos in the Quad….
Number 3: Get involved. As stressful as first semester is, try to muster enough energy to write your name down for a few clubs and activities that you will actually follow through with. Don’t drown in extracurriculars, but definitely don’t shy away from the opportunities that could be extremely rewarding. If this means getting proactive about one club or going on one service trip, that is okay. Be inspired by the service environment on campus, but don’t feel pressured or intimidated by it. I have met a lot of my good friends through mutual activities that we have been a part of.
Number 4: Remain open. Don’t box yourself into anything. Sit with different people in the dining halls, and introduce yourself to people in your classes. As the months and years go on, it will become slightly less accepted to walk up to a random stranger on the steps of Gasson and shake their hand. Freshman year is all about trial and error. Don’t miss the opportunity to try.
Number 5: Head into the city. One of my biggest regrets of last year was not going into Boston enough. It is a truly remarkable city with so much to offer, and there is no reason not to take advantage of it on a beautiful fall Saturday. Explore the Boston Common, go the Museum of Fine Arts, carb up in the North End, and get lost on the T.
Number 6: Don’t buy into the hook-up culture just because that is what “everyone is doing.” Don’t let the “norms” at BC shape who you are. There is nothing wrong with being a relationship person or not wanting to go out four nights a week.
Number 7: Don’t be afraid to admit it’s tough. One of the hardest things about coming to college is the conception that you will immediately find your best friends for life, meet your future husband or wife, and get straight As. There is no doubt that the beginning is difficult, and the worst way to cope with this is to hold it all in and not admit that hard times do exist.
In addition to all of the positive advice, there are many things that freshmen should avoid at all costs. The “faux pas” of freshman year to avoid, if you will. Dining hall trays have one single purpose—sledding down hills in the winter. A tray shall never be used to carry food in the dining halls. It does not matter if you have to take multiple trips to carry your loot—the use of a dining hall tray is your ultimate tell-tale sign as a freshman.
Speaking of the snow, when it is in the negative degree range, freshman ladies, please don’t wear a mini skirt, especially when in groups of ten or more. We all know you are freezing, and you look like a freshman too. Though I am not suggesting you sport a huge parka, though it would be smart, you need to protect yourself against hypothermia at the least.
Also, the Bookstore sells super practical lanyards to carry your freshly printed BC ID. Don’t buy one. Not only are they a “freshman thing,” they will definitely snap your ID in half and you will have to struggle to Lyons to get a new one. It’s a complete waste of time.
So skip the lanyard, try not to travel in huge packs, enjoy the days when it is okay to prop your doors and meet new friends in your dorms, go to on-campus events, talk to your professors, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and start planning how to set the world aflame!