Experts dish out advice to freshmen

Nedda Pourahmady

Starting a new life on campus, balancing a budget and not being able to keep up with coursework are just some of the problems freshmen face.

For many new students, common worries include how to find classes and what work is required, said Amy Thompson, assistant professor of health education and promotion for the department of adult, counseling, health and vocational education.

She said new students are concerned with such matters as managing their money and having to deal with living on a budget.

“A lot of them are debating what to do with their lives,” Thompson said.

Pamela Farer-Singleton, chief psychologist for University Health Services, said most freshmen are more worried about the social aspect of changing environments versus the academic aspect.

Additionally, some other common concerns freshmen have are adjusting to being away from home, getting along with roommates and making new friends, Singleton said.

Freshman justice studies major Nathan Lee Beaver said he’s concerned about the amount of work he’ll have making the transition from high school to college.

“I’m not used to what’s going on,” Beaver said. “You go from the top to being at the bottom again.”

Time management, along with being in complete control of what to do, is a main concern for freshman exploratory major Andrew Choi.

“My worst fear is getting in trouble for something stupid,” he said.

Thompson said as students learn how to balance their lives and manage their time wisely they should also make school their priority.

Additionally, she said students can use what are called coping mechanisms to handle their stress. Such mechanisms include exercising, walking, bike riding and spending time with family.

“Learn how to deal with stress in a positive way instead of using alcohol or drugs,” Thompson said.

She also said upper classmen can serve as mentors for the younger students, giving them tips for classes and how to budget their time.

“They can show them the ropes of the university — where things are and how to get around,” Thompson said.

The key element for students succeeding is not falling behind in their work, Thompson said.

“It’s important to do the things you need to do first,” she said. “It’s better to over-budget rather than under-budget.”

Singleton advised that students should be ready for what’s ahead of them.

“The better prepared we are, the better we can handle the challenge,” Singleton said.

Both Singleton and Thompson agreed it is essential for students to get adequate rest, eat balanced meals and exercise regularly.

Singleton said new students should get a routine in place and then consider what’s most important to them.

“Take advantage of the living environment as well as the learning environment,” Singleton said.

In order to adjust, Thompson said students should make sure to touch base with advisers and get involved with student activities.

Nevertheless, she said students should block out time for themselves.

“You have to hit the pavement running,” she said, “and embrace the university setting early on.”

Contact student life reporter Nedda Pourahmady at [email protected].