Michelle Reynolds, Staff Writer

While there are some students who are celebrating their last semester of college, there are also some who are celebrating their first semester. They say college is a completely different ballgame from high school, but don’t panic. Here are three simple tips to help you navigate your freshman year.

Saying hello is always a good idea. In college, you will have the potential to meet tons of new people. You’ll meet everyone from best friends, weird roommates, a life-changing mentor that one professor you’ll always remember, ex-lovers, study partners and future LinkedIn connections.

On the first day of class, introduce yourself to the person sitting next to you. It’ll be good to know someone if you need help with the class, if you miss a certain lecture and need notes or simple to get a new friend. Listen to the people who participate in lectures and see if you agree or disagree with them and talk to them about it. Use class as an initial ice-breaker to chat and get to know each other.

Talk to classmates for the same reason you accept random people requests on LinkedIn, you simply don’t know who the person might know or how they can affect your future either now or down the road.

“Use all of the resources that are available at the University. Reach out to your professors and graduate assistants to build a relationship with them. Ask for help. Become friends.” says University of Missouri–St. Louis professor Dennis Ganahl.

Get involved on campus. School is not just a place you attend class. Most colleges, especially UMSL, offer a variety of clubs and events, you just need to know where to look.

A great way to see upcoming events such as a career fair, an UMSL basketball game or a free movie, is by looking at the flyers and banners posted around the Social Science Building and the Millenium Student Center. There are numerous events happening, one is bound to interest you! If you’re looking for a club, a great place to explore is TritonSync. TritonSync is a place where clubs can engage with and keep their members up to date on upcoming meetings and events. Joining a club is the most common advice given to incoming freshman and for a good reason. Clubs are a great way to get involved in school, it looks great on a resume and it surrounds you with like-minded students.

If you’re looking for a job or internship, Career Services is a great place to visit. Working during school may sometimes cause extra stress, but you will thank yourself for the hard work. The extra experience on your resume (and not to mention extra money) will be a huge advantage when you graduate.

Stay on top of where you are. There are a couple of things that need to be in order before graduation: your resume, a decent GPA, a good LinkedIn profile, and a portfolio depending on your major. Why not get a head start on those instead of waiting until the last minute? The world will seem to be spinning your senior year, so everything you can do earlier to help ease the chaos will be much appreciated later! Working hard your freshman year gives you a strong platform to build on the rest of your college life. Do you know how hard it is to be ready to graduate and realize you’re overall GPA is a 2.3? Even getting all A’s your last semester isn’t going to help. Put in the hard work on the general educations classes to help give you some cushion for when you take the harder senior level classes.

Debating if you have time for that job or internship? You do! Working during school shows employees how determined and hard-working you are, plus it gives you more experience and builds your resume which will be an advantage when you graduate and are looking for a job.  “College is one of the best times of your life, enjoy it and seize every educational opportunity that comes your way,” says College of Arts and Science advisor Sylvia Harris.

Overall, college is what you make of it. This will be one of the rare moments where you will be surrounded by so many diverse people, events and resources. You’re going to be here for roughly four years, might as well make the most of it.


Resources for freshman to check out: