| 03.18.2018

One-eighth of the way there – Lessons learned by a first-semester freshman


As the fall semester draws to a close, it”s time for freshmen to turn the page on the first chapter of their college career.

This semester has been an eventful one for many and it has proven to be quite educational both inside the classroom and out. Here are a few lessons I learned from the perspective of a seasoned freshman.

Austin Maas

First, textbooks are a financial curse that can easily be avoided. I, like many, attempted to be proactive with the purchase of my textbooks and fell into a costly trap. What isn”t explained when you fork over hundreds of dollars for your textbooks with plenty of time for them to arrive is that, at any point prior to the first day of class, the required text for a course can change.

Often, a professor will tell you exactly what book you need the first day of class and whether or not you actually need to purchase it. To avoid any unnecessary spending, wait until the end of the first week of school to purchase your textbooks. By that point, you will most likely be able to determine whether or not the professor plans to use the text and to what degree.

Also, if you”re a team player and know that you”ll be in a class with a friend next semester, split the cost of the textbook and enjoy the financial stability of joint custody.

Second, your health is still a priority. It”s no mystery that some of the dining options on campus don”t exactly provide the healthiest or appetizing options, but going hungry is not a viable alternative.

Spend a little time thinking about what you”ve eaten throughout the day.  Your diet can really impact your energy level and leave you without the necessary fuel to stay up all night studying – not that I”m condoning all-nighters.

Sleep is possibly the most important aspect of a college student”s life. Going without sleep not only impacts your immediate productivity, but over time it can impact your health in adverse ways.

Unfortunately, sometimes there just aren”t enough hours in the day and an all-nighter is the only option. In that case, it would be wise to invest in a few short naps throughout the day just to give your brain a little break.

The nice thing about being a college student is that nobody will judge you for taking a nap at 5 p.m. because everybody”s been there at one point or another.

Third and finally, getting involved on campus really does help you make the most of your experience. As much as the idea is shoved down our throats as freshmen, it is grounded in truth.

I hate to admit it, but the university staff knows what they”re talking about. Being involved with a club or student organization is rewarding and extremely educational. If you find the right club for you, you”ll discover that you”d much rather go to your club activities than your actual classes and your time spent in extracurricular activities can be just as, if not more, rewarding than your classes.

One of the biggest lessons I took away from this semester has been the understanding that finding a like-minded group of people who are pursuing similar goals can inspire you to work harder than ever and give you a platform for sharing your success. Find that group of people, and let their achievements drive you to accomplish a thing or two yourself.

Austin Maas can be reached at arg-opinion@uidaho.edu  or on Twitter @austindmaas

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