Moving to a different city, having a roommate for the first time, navigating the surplus of freedom. Sounds like freshman year.
Before college, students dream about this new-found freedom. Once it’s a reality, the adjustment can actually be quite challenging.
Halfway through the first year, most freshmen are well aware of this. Add in the expectation of performing well in classes, becoming involved in clubs and community engagement, and college can quickly become overwhelming.
“Something I find challenging is finding a balance between my academics and extracurriculars,” said freshman Rachel Jeneff, an exercise science major. “In terms of academics, I thought it was going to be really hard to get to know the faculty, but something I really love about Georgia College is how easy the professors are to talk to and how much they try to get to know us. They all know my name and care about my success.”
Math professor and GC alumni James Baugh imparted advice on how students should be aware of the opportunities available to them.
“Attend class, even those that you might not like or might not pertain to your major,” Baugh said. “Remind yourself that even if you’re spending someone else’s money, you’re paying to be here. This is not something just to get through. College is something where you’re trying to get back as much of your money in knowledge and experiences as possible.”
Baugh said he believes that there are many unique features the first-year experience offers that should be cherished before they’re gone.
“It’s in your best interest to make full use of all the learning assistance and resources that you have in each course,” said Baugh.
A universal piece of advice upperclassmen have for freshmen is to get more involved in activities on campus. For junior Beth Renfrow, a liberal studies major, it is important for students to take time to explore their interests.
“A common misconception [about] college is that you have to know exactly what you want to do coming in,” said Renfrow. “I suggest that freshmen take their time and try new classes, maybe one that seems scary but exciting. No one should be afraid to branch out.”
Senior Lauren Hovey, a psychology major, said that freshman year is full of firsts.
“Having that feeling of the blank slate where you get to do a lot of firsts that maybe you didn’t have in high school,” she explained. “Things like getting involved in your dorm and having a roommate make freshman year very memorable.”
“My mind was everywhere that first semester,” said senior William Paschal, a management major. “Coming from a big city like Atlanta, Milledgeville was a culture shock. It takes a while to get used to not necessarily having a set schedule like in high school.”
Paschal emphasized that each successive year in college is a learning experience, adopting new tips and tricks along the way.
“Four years fly by fast,” Paschal said. “Don’t let it fly by you.”