Freshman Year Advice

by Nicole Winkler 

As senior journalism major Kelsey Kloss prepared for graduation, she recalled all the advice she was bombarded with her freshman year. Here is what she has learned: “listen hard and be selective of the advice you take.”

Freshmen, sophomore, junior and senior students were asked what they wished they had known their freshman year. Answers ranged from receiving academic help, working more closely with upperclassmen, focusing on internships early, securing a personal bank account and crushing the fear that freshman year brings. 

Senior LeeAnn Dowd, theater performance major, assured students that, “it’s okay to not know what the hell you’re doing.”

Dowd recommended that students stop putting the pressure on themselves to figure out their life plans. As a freshman, she also wished that she knew to consult upperclassmen because they will not only help connect you with the right people, but also “mentor you and help you discover new things.”

Dowd also advised freshmen who want campus jobs to “make personal connections with people in the office they want to work in.” According to Dowd, these personal connections will make the student stand out among the numerous applicants.

Junior student government President Chris Im, political science and psychology major, wished he had known to use upperclassmen when in need of helpful tips regarding registration, classes, and financial aid as well. He hopes that freshmen recognize the resources that are available, such as the Career Development Center, academic advising, and more. Discovering the proper information and classes to take saves a lot of time and energy as one’s college career progresses.

Senior Megan Nido, business major, advised freshmen to take advantage of these resources and get an internship as soon as possible. She recognizes the importance of gathering experience because more experience is beneficial when searching for employment after graduation.

“I feel like the earlier you start to build up experience, the easier it becomes for you to get good internships and jobs,” Nido said. 

"What really matters in college is not to be afraid. Everyone here is much more accepting than you’d think,” Im added.

Sophomore health science major Jillian Fernandez agreed with Im and wished she knew to not let fear stand in her way freshman year.

“The beginning of freshman year, I was terrified that I wouldn’t belong,” she said.

Fernandez was hesitant regarding when and where to get involved. Once sophomore year began, Fernandez knew that she wanted to step out of her comfort zone and now encourages new students to join campus organizations as soon as possible.

Freshman Amanda Becker, strategic and corporate communication major, regrets that she was not more familiar with Chapman’s campus before her first day of classes.

“On top of first day jitters, it can be really stressful trying to figure out where you’re supposed to be and getting there on time,” Becker said.

As Marissa Chiechi, public relations major, prepares for graduation this May, she recommended that freshmen take advantage of dorm life.

"Living in the dorms helps you feel connected with the friends you make freshman year,” Chiechi said.

When asked about her favorite spot on campus that she wishes she knew about, she said the bathroom in Memorial Hall. Although this may sound strange, Chiechi assured that the bathroom is big and equipped with a full-length mirror and extra counter space.

“I can easily curl my hair in there and it’s a perfect spot when you need to get ready on campus,” Chiechi said.

Apart from favorite spots on campus, Kloss advises freshmen to get their own bank accounts as soon as possible.

“Learning how to pay your bills on time, pay rent, and remember to pay these are new responsibilities that students should learn,” she said.

Kloss also wishes that someone told her that it is okay to make your own routine and to “stop defining your choices as right or wrong."

Students at all levels in their Chapman careers enjoy discussing first year stories and offering advice to pass on.

“Looking back, the only thing that I would want to tell my freshman self is to be more open minded,” said recent college graduate Joshua Allen.    

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