Video Content by Kyle Behnke
It’s that time of year. The leaves are changing, the nights are cooling, and “Back to School” sales are out in full force. For many at the UW – Stevens Point, this will be their first year of college. Fathers will carry mini-fridges up three flights of stairs and mothers will wipe tears from their eyes.
The Freshmen of UW – Stevens Point will stare out of their dorm-room windows at their new homes. This will be their life for the next four years and along with the excitement of a new beginning the feelings of anxiety can hamper a student’s first year of college.
Schoolwork can be the most daunting challenge for new college students. The high school days of turning half-page papers in late with the excuse of, “Oh, I forgot” have passed. The reality of 8 A.M. classes coupled with essay exams and speeches while trying to figure out how to upload a paper to D2L for the first time can be truly stressful but not hopeless.
The best advice for these students is to stay organized. A daily planner is the easiest and most efficient way to keep every assignment and obligation in order. The class syllabus given the first day of classes will be an immense help to these students, giving a day-by-day breakdown of what is expected of the student, all of which is easily copied to a planner. Once all the syllabi are transcribed into one place and tasks are side by side it creates a better picture of which weeks will need special consideration long in advance.
Along with staying organized, utilizing UWSP’s student resources can be invaluable for students of any year. The UWSP Tutoring-Learning Center (TLC) offers free one-on-one help to students struggling with things such as challenging reading material and has group tutoring sessions available for subjects such as math and chemistry. There is no shame in asking for help, and once a student makes that first trip into the TLC they’ll see that themselves and wish they had sooner.
Schoolwork is tough to master, but learning to interact in a positive manner with one’s professors is a necessary step a student needs to make to reach their full academic potential. Completing assignments on time, asking valuable and relevant questions, and following all classroom guidelines are the easiest and most important ways to get along with professors. Pronouncing their names correctly along with addressing them with the correct and preferred title will also help in making a positive impression.
Sending emails to professors is another easily avoidable pitfall for the inexperienced student. If an email is the only option, help the professor by leaving the correct class title in the subject. Otherwise, use their office hours. The best way to create a personal relationship with your professor is in person. Give them a face to go with your name. Socializing in the college world can also be hurdle a first-year student to overcome. Many Freshmen are paired with a stranger their first year in the dorms, and two strangers living in small quarters with nothing in common can be a recipe for disaster.
The key to having a positive and memorable dorm experience is to not worry about other people’s opinions, especially opinions about oneself. Students from all over the world with diverse cultural and social backgrounds aren’t always going to agree on everything, but learning to focus on the positive aspects of one’s surroundings and community will create a more worthy and valuable experience. Making friends with complete strangers is no doubt hard, but with patience and tolerance goes a long way in building lasting friendships.
The first year of college is hard but staying organized, making it to class, completing assignments, and treating educators and fellow students with respect and courtesy, are just some of the things that will ease the growing pains. Learning from the inevitable mistakes made and concentrating on the end goal of a degree, all while making friends and building relationships, is what will make the time spent at UWSP time well spent.