Advice from Recent Graduates on the College Experience

Is college in your near future? Does it make you feel excited and nervous at the same time?

The good news is that everyone else feels the same way you do. Another piece of good news is that we’ve collected some thoughts, ideas, and tips from recent Luther graduates on how you can get the most out of your college experience.

Here’s what they have to say as they reflected on their own experiences:

“Don't be afraid if you don't know what you want to do with your life. I came in thinking that I knew, and I changed my mind. Be open to every opportunity that comes your way.”

—Catherine (Gehlsen) Hillestad ’14

“Use your advisor to help gain a solid foundation for your career-path goals, get involved in several different organizations and clubs, and meet as many people as you can. You never know when you’ll run into them again and how they might benefit your future either as a friend or as a colleague.”

Erin Spanczak ’12

“First-year students should invest time in creating and maintaining meaningful relationships. The students, coaches, professors, and staff that I met continue to be some of my greatest friends, supporters, and advocates.”

—Kim Horner ’11

“Take the opportunity to try the things you're interested in, even if you don't think they're what you want to pursue for a career. Fit in a just-for-fun class or an extracurricular you're excited about. You might surprise yourself with what you learn.”

—Miriam Harries ’16

“Be gentle with yourself. You're working hard and it can be easy to neglect yourself in the process. Give your full self to what you love while making time to take care of yourself. Celebrate the wonderful people and beautiful place that surround you.”

—McKenna Campbell-Potter ’16

“Study hard, get involved in activities, explore your mind to its limits.”

—William Hatungimana ’16

“Relax and enjoy your first semester (or year), take time to figure out what you like and don’t like and what options are available for you during your sophomore year and onward. Focus on the possibilities rather than the ‘what-ifs.’”

—Emily Sena ’15

“Get involved with something, anything! Be willing to try new things on top of furthering your existing passions. Those involvements are a great way to start to feel like you’re really a part of the school and make your transition into college life that much easier.”

—Emily Betts ’15

“Take the extra twenty minutes in the cafeteria to laugh with your friends or indulge in a quick nap. Take your studies seriously, but always remember to take care of yourself.”

—Cate Anderson ’14

Take risks and try at least one thing that scares you. It might be a class, an extracurricular, talking with someone you wouldn't normally talk with, or attending an event.

—Laura Harney ’13

“Build relationships with your professors. They’re available to help you if you’re struggling. Plus, they’ll write letters of recommendation for you, and the better they know you, the better their recommendation will be. I can’t count the number of opportunities I was considered for because I spent time outside of class interacting with them.”

Jake Wittman ’12

“Go in with an open heart and mind, and enjoy the ride of learning. Take an unexpected class that you might not ace. Also, drink plenty of water, get good sleep, and don't wear pajamas to class.”

—Kendra Swanson ’07

“Pursue everything that you think is fun, weird, or interesting. If you want to take that awesome- looking class on linguistic anthropology even though you’re a physics major, take it! Be curious about the world around you. Try new things and meet new people.”

—Karin Maxey ’07

“I recommend finding a place where you enjoy studying and carving out time every day to go there.”

—Jen Gipp ’04

“Do your reading. Your professors will appreciate it, and you will learn a lot.”

Jennifer Tomscha ’04

“Keep your mind open in your studies because you never know what class will pull you into a different, inspiring line of inquiry.”

—Katie Sopoci Drake ’01

{ Return to Inside College Admissions for more posts. }

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