A College Do-Over? Some Advice from College Seniors

Check out these tips and recommendations from some Luther College seniors. 

What's Your Best Advice for a First-Year Student Just Arriving on Campus?

(Katie) Don’t be afraid to say hi! Making new friends helps overcome homesickness as you adjust to your new life at college and provides a wonderful support staff of people who you can hang out with and create all sorts of new memories together at events on and off campus. Particularly, don’t be afraid to befriend upperclassmen. They’re an invaluable resource when it comes to finding the best study spots, beloved local restaurants, and fun classes to take.

(Anna) Go to the Activities Fair, but only sign up for the things you ACTUALLY see yourself interested in. Sometimes organizations will rope you in and you get too involved. Start off small, then add more if you have time. Also, make time to eat regularly. It's a little thing, but if you're not fed, your brain doesn't work properly for your classes.

(Connor) Join a club. It's a very easy outlet to find people who are interested in the same things you are and it’s one of the best places to make friends.

What's Your Best Tip for Managing Your Time/Homework and Your Social Life?

(Katie) I highly recommend checking out the academic support website and printing off tools like a Time Management Plan and Semester at a Glance files to help you organize your schedule and find that balance between homework and relaxing with friends. I’ve printed and filled out these schedules every semester since I started at Luther and they have been a tremendous help!

(Anna) Find people who have the same work ethic as you do. Whether it’s one hour/week or consistently, find people you like to study with. Then you get the best of both worlds in finding people like you and those who can help you with classes.

(Connor) A little piece of work can go a long way. They don't have to be big, but take chips out of your larger projects. Cramming won't be beneficial in the long run, but doing a little at a time will.

What Is the Best Way to Make New Friends?

(Katie)  Finding new friends can definitely seem daunting, especially when you’re far from home and new to the area. However, once you realize that every other first-year student is in the same boat as you, it becomes much easier to break the ice and simply reach out to someone new and say hi. In my experience, I’ve found that joining clubs or a musical ensemble, attending concerts, sports games, or any other campus-sponsored event where you’re surrounded by like-minded individuals is a great way to bridge that gap with someone you don’t know and make a new friend. You already have one interest in common, so it’s often quite easy to start a conversation and build friendships from there.

(Anna) Introduce yourself. I know it's scary but totally necessary. Say hi to people often, and get to know people in your classes, especially for your major. Most likely those people have similar backgrounds or goals as you, which is pretty cool to see in others.

(Connor) Join clubs! I started one my first year. It now has roughly 30 regular members and I know each of them well. It brings a room full of people together who like the same thing as you. Focus on the commonality and build off of it.

What Are Some Must-Have Items for Your Dorm Room?

(Katie) I think it’s nice to have either a string of Christmas lights or fairy lights to hang around your room. Sometimes the overhead light can feel a bit harsh, especially late at night, so having a softer, alternative light source for your room is definitely worth the purchase, It also creates a nice calming atmosphere to help you wind down from the day. I would also recommend bringing posters, tapestries, or photos to decorate the walls. They will give your room personality and make it feel more like home.

(Anna) A fan for white noise. The walls of a residence hall can be thin and you can hear everyone doing anything in their rooms. Robes for in and out of the shower are also necessary.

(Connor) I keep a fold-out table in my room to give myself a different place to work away from my desk. It's honestly helped me focus a lot and I don't have to leave the comfort of my room (p.s. make sure you have enough space, too. Space is important.)

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