How to Own Your Freshman Year and not look like a Noob.

By Garret D Walton

This week marks the third week of school, and while this blog is usually devoted to Public Relations stuff, I’m going to do a public service (which is technically PR so it loosely works, stick with me) for all of our incoming freshman. Now I personally have been on this campus for four years and have seen freshman all over the scale of making or breaking their first year experience.

This week’s blog is going to take on a list format and be called “How to Pwn Your Freshman Year and not look like a Noob” And if you aren’t a freshman, don’t worry. This is a pretty good list of making the most of your time at IUPUI that you have left.

1.       Dress up a little, and blend in with the big kids. 

Now college may seem like the first break from a dress code that you’ve had in a while, so you’re tempted to get away with as little as possible. Please, please, please, avoid doing this. Regardless of how you dress, you’re going to leave some sort of impression. While a sports bra, short shorts, and a shirt that covers next to nothing (yes ladies, I’m mostly talking to you) may be comfortable at the start of fall, it’s also a good chunk of your professors’ first impression of you. This is irreparable damage that cannot be undone.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying go all out and wear a pantsuit every day, but maybe something more sophisticated than ‘I woke up and this was comfortable.’

And guys this can apply to you too. A shirt with cut off sleeves and gym shorts may be comfortable, but it’s also more comfortable to fall asleep in. Wear jeans or (not gym)shorts and a t-shirt without stains. Still comfortable, but you look better.

Finally dressing a little better than the average Wal-Mart shopper will let people take you more seriously, and you’ll also find you take yourself a bit more serious as well. As a last note on the subject, stop wearing your high school hoodies and shirts. Nothing screams ‘I’m a freshman’ more than those.

2.       Get Involved.

My freshman year at IUPUI sucked. I didn’t get involved in anything at all. I went to class, sat in my car between classes, and went back to my apartment anytime my schedule allowed. I didn’t make many friends and didn’t explore everything the campus had to offer. I wanted to transfer or quit out of frustration.

Finally at the start of my sophomore year, I decided to do something different. I wanted to get involved. I joined several clubs and organizations for pre-med (I was a pre-med student at the time) and I also joined a fraternity. This provided me (almost instantly) with people who shared a lot of the same interests I did. I would go hang out with friends for hours, had people I could study with, and was overall a happier person.

Morale of the story, your experience in college is exactly what you make of it. You have to take risks to get rewards (and really by just joining an organization is the risk really that big?). IUPUI has 300+ student organizations to get involved with (including PRSSA) so there are bound to be something out there for you.

3.       “C’s get degrees” is a terrible approach to college. And in general, pay attention.

While it’s true that a C will get you by in most classes, it sure as hell will not impress the grad program you’re applying to, or the dream job you were wanting. Starting this philosophy in college will have your mind slowly warp to doing only the bare minimum for a job. With employment rates not looking too great, you can’t afford to have this attitude in the workplace.

It’s important to pay attention in all of your classes, even the ones that seem pointless. I promise you, there is a reason you have list electives and when you look back over your college career, you will realize that all of them have helped you out. At best you can use everything you learn to further your understanding of your field. At worst, you are that much better at Jeopardy, and those people bring in cash.

Take notes, stay focused, and only miss class when necessary. And if you do have an emergency your professors are more than likely extremely understanding. I only had one who wasn’t (and he doesn’t work here anymore.)

4.       Don’t get into a dialogue with the professor during lecture.

IT. IS. SO. ANNOYING. Chances are if you are asking the professor a series of related questions, they have either:

  •     Already been answered;
  •     Will be answered if you can just hold your horses; or
  •     Have absolutely nothing to do with what the professor is lecturing about.

If the first case is true (and the prof *will* let you know) then you need to pay more attention and ask for clarification after class is over. If it is not the first case then it is the other two, which means you need to please stop talking.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for asking questions and simple clarifications. They move the class forward and let the professor know about topics they need to go over again or cover more in depth. The problem becomes when you ask a series of questions that lead the conversation nowhere. It frustrates other students and annoys the professor, (plus your outfit on the first day didn’t exactly leave the best impression.)

5.       Finally, and most importantly, Be YOU!

Yes, I know this sounds lame and cliché but think about it. In high school there was a limited pool of people who could become your friends. You had to conform somewhat to blend in and feel like you belong. And while nothing can replace your high school friends, your college friends will be so much closer. As long as you are you, there is bound to be someone else you could get along with without having to give up who you are. Jump in, hang out with people, try to make friends and if it doesn’t work then it just doesn’t work.

So that’s it for my list, I hope you enjoyed it and took the importance of it. I also hope my jokes weren’t too lame. Sorry if they were.

Don’t be afraid to hit me up on twitter, @error217 or on Facebook. Just let me know you read the article so I don’t think you’re just some random stalker person (it happens.)

Keep on keepin’ on,

Garret D Walton…

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