Student to student: What I learned freshman year
SARAH HASSEN, 20, Puyallup, sophomore, Pacific Lutheran University. Plans to major in music and English literature, become an English teacher.
"Prepare to be open-minded. Even if you come in with a major in mind, if something else interests you and you have room in your schedule, take the class. I took a short-fiction class and I fell in love with English literature.
"The workload is intense; prepare to read and study more than you did in high school.
"Take advantage of all the resources offered to you. A writing center, tutors and especially your professors. I didn't like to ask for help at first. People see professors as being there just to teach a class, and that's it. But they are a greater resource than incoming freshman sometimes realize. They respect us; they view us as people, learning people. But you have to ask for their help."
LINDSAY DUBLER, 19, Bend, Ore., sophomore, The Evergreen State College. Studying educational and social reform, hopes to move into animal-assisted therapy.
"Have a good idea of who you are as a person, what you're willing to change and what you stand by. It's important to give this some thought, because you will be challenged at every level by other people. That's one of the great things — the diversity and the different ways of seeing things. But to make good on that, you have to know where you stand.
"Look carefully at housing options. There are big differences in noise, how study time happens, drugs and alcohol, all that. The best thing is to get in touch with people already on campus. Make contact and most of the time, they'll be happy to talk to you."
JESSICA BOGH, 20, Woodinville, sophomore, University of Washington. Considering a concentration in mechanical and industrial engineering.
"My closest friends have been the people I met in my chemistry class: the 'second-row groupies.' We had study sessions, online-test-stress frenzy ... they helped me keep my sanity. During your first year you will be taking many classes with the same people because you have similar academic tracks. Making the connection with them gives you a study help, someone you can relate to, so you can keep going. But it all starts with introducing yourself.
"Over the course of my first year, I realized that there is help for just about every problem a freshman can have. But more often then not, freshmen do not go to professor's or TA's office hours or ask questions. If you want to make your professor's day, visit or ask a question — you will see their faces light up."
DANNY FRANCOEUR, 19, Agoura Hills, Calif., sophomore, UW. Majoring in music.
"I came here a little nervous, to say the least. The beauty is that everyone feels the same way — remember that. So: Hit the ground running! Academically, emotionally, socially ... get excited when you get to school, and put yourself out there. This will make you that much more comfortable in the end.
"This is your new home — get on a bus and explore. Suck the city or town dry....
"But also: Watch yourself. You are now alone to some degree, and that means something. Don't drink and not sleep and do drugs and go nuts too much ... it catches up with you, my friend."
STEPHANIE HAUSMAN, 19, Kent, sophomore, Washington State University. Plans to major in chemistry.
"If the college has a class related to on-campus resources, take it ... In a transition program — whether it's social, academic or in the Greek system — you'll make new friends within your own major or area of study. Also, because the academic rigor of work changes from high school to college, you'll have help making that adjustment.
"It's really important to keep an open mind about your roommate until you actually meet. E-mailing, instant messaging, even talking on the phone before you get to campus does not tell you who they really are."
— Kimberly Marlowe Hartnett
Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company