10 tips for surviving your first year of college
While the Class of 2011 is busy getting ready to graduate, we asked Bryn Adler '11 if she had any advice for the new incoming class. With four years of experience behind her, it's no surprise that Bryn knows the secrets to surviving college.
Without further ado, here are 10 helpful tips for navigating your way through your first year of college... from a senior who's been there!
- 1. Embrace the estrogen
We have a saying at Simmons: "It's not an all-girls school without men, it's an all-women's college without boys." Skip the stressing, ladies. It's Boston, and there's certainly no shortage of men. Participating in a learning environment that is specifically for empowering women is an unbelievable advantage. Class becomes a unique experience, one aimed not only at learning but at creating professional, successful women. Plus, we have clean bathrooms!
- 2. Find your T legs
The T will be your best friend and worst enemy. But don't take all four years to get to know your way around the city. Boston is home to fantastic neighborhoods that offer different restaurants, shops, and theaters, and staying in Fenway is really only fun until the end of baseball season. Master the rainbow of lines and the city will really become your playground. (Map of the MBTA).
- 3. Professors aren't your parents, they're your peers
This isn't high school; your professors will treat you as professionals, as long as you give them the same courtesy. If you work with professors in this capacity, it will open doors to opportunities outside of school, including networking possibilities and professional communities.
- 4. Just because it's there doesn't mean you should eat it
We all know the threat of the "Freshmen 15," but there are bigger digestive dangers in the dining hall. A few notes: the fruit is always a good choice, the fish never is; only eat the mac and cheese if your body is already part cheddar; and you will never taste anything as good as one of Estella's omelets.
- 5. Yes, you will have to intern, and yes, it will be unpaid
Simmons prepares you for the job market, so starting junior year, utilize your campus resources to make sure you nab an internship that will give you some real-life experience on your resume. Does this mean potentially working part-time for no dough? You bet it does. It's all part of the learning process, folks, and any skills you acquire in internships will come into play in your schooling.
- 6. "Do not shrink from life and do not shrink from choices"
The above quote is from alumna Gwen Ifill '77, a political moderator and journalist, during her 2009 Commencement speech at Simmons. She said, "The stakes are too high. And you are, after all, Simmons women." While at Simmons, become a student leader by involving yourself in any programs of initiatives that you're passionate about. It will give you the opportunity to influence the administration, as student leaders are given a large amount of responsibility, and it's a great way to support what you love.
- 7. Manage your budget and your time
College for most people means two things: a lot of time and very little money. Your schedule may seem wide open, but trust me when I say that pulling last-minute all-nighters is neither fun nor productive. Similarly, blowing your savings on pizza and cabs in the first week will land you in a sorry spot for the rest of the semester. Learn to budget, it will serve you well.
- 8. A good friend is better than therapy
There's nothing more surreal than that first moment after your parents leave and you're stuck thinking, "Well, what do I do now?" Here's the answer: meet new people. It's terrifying to make new friends in a strange place, but you'll be unhappy if you don't. These new friends are going to bring out things you didn't even know you had in you. And they will become your sisters. (Watch: Class of 2014 Move-in Day)
- 9. Red for Red Sox, green for Celtics, yellow for Bruins, blue for Sharks
Boston's energy is exhilarating, and most of the time it grows from the immense sports fan base we have. Even if you're not that into sports, go to a game, professional or collegiate, and familiarize yourself with the culture. Take it from someone who was a freshman when the Sox won the World Series, the rush goes to your heart, and you are forever loyal to Boston sports.
- 10. Never miss a chance to make a memory
College is a big investment, and a Simmons education will take you to great places. But remember, this experience is just as much about doing the wrong thing; you're going to skip class, stay out late, make regrettable decisions. I'm not necessarily advocating it, but it's amazing the kind of experiences you'll have when you say "yes." Be safe, but make mistakes and make memories, they will live with you forever.
Bryn Adler is a senior communications-writing and editing major with a double minor in English and cinema and media studies. Originally from Brentwood, N.H., she came to Boston with dreams of journalism. She is the features editor of The Simmons Voice, a member of Academy and Lambda Pi Eta, and is a Bookbuilders of Boston scholar. She also currently interns in the Simmons Marketing Communications Office. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter @bryn_adler, or on her website.