(Orientation) Opinion: What I wish I knew as a freshman

Israel Galarza III

It’s my senior year at Kent State; this means it’s time to reminisce. As I hop into my time machine, travel and look back to my freshman year, I have zero regrets. I’ve realized that with hindsight, everything in life happens for a reason.

Every experience I’ve encountered up to this moment has served as a lesson, making it possible for me to speak on this subject with an enlightened mind.

With that being said, there is a natural learning curve that occurs due to the nature of being “fresh meat” on campus.

I know there are a few critical things  I know today that I wish I knew back then that would have served me well. Let me specifically dive into what I wish I knew as a freshman in order to assist incoming freshmen on how to maximize their experience.

Think of this as a guide, to succeed as a freshman, comprised of a recollection of my personal experiences.

I want to start by stating that I did not realize as a freshman the significance of getting involved in university organizations early and often. It’s never too early to pursue your passions; this sense of urgency is something that will greatly benefit you later down the line.

When it’s time to graduate, earn your degree and enter the workforce, there will be no need to juggle multiple commitments before graduation causing mental, physical and spiritual anguish all the way to the end.

Time is not infinite, it’s alright to begin getting involved in organizations that interest you the very moment you come across them.

Another thing I wish I knew as a freshman was the importance of maintaining your grades from day one. You don’t want to be the individual who decides to make the third week of the semester their first time to attend College Writing I class.

Not only will your grades quickly plummet if you neglect your attendance, but you will soon realize the amount of hard earned money being wasted on your negligence.

This isn’t high school anymore. If you are being assisted by your parents or grandparents and you genuinely love them, then you will focus on grades, complete assignments, study for exams, and try your best to diligently make it to class before you fall too far behind. College is about creating an experience, but it’s also about earning an education.

Now saving the best for last. As a freshman, I wish I knew how to put into perspective the sheer amount of students enrolled at Kent State.

In other words, with more than 20,000 students enrolled at the main campus, there is a double-edged sword that each freshman is inevitably faced with.

On one side, there is no legitimate excuse for any freshman to feel alone, apathetic or uninterested with the student body because there is a friend for anyone among 20,000 individuals.

On the other end of the spectrum, as a freshman there will be a plethora of new faces which can be distracting for most because of the anxiety that comes with making a fresh start. Never let your new, large group of friends lead you down a path of failure.

Choose your friends wisely. Just because there are more than 20,000 students doesn’t mean every one of them is conducive for your personal success. And, after all, that’s what we’re after.