University of New Hampshire class of 2014, welcome to Durham. (If you are knew to the blog and UNH be sure to check out Surviving UNH, our page on surviving college life in Durham.) You are now apart of the Wildcat family and if I may give you one major piece of advice: have as much fun here as you possibly can. Before you know it the next four years will be over and you are going to be stuck in the real world taking orders from eight different bosses, if you’re lucky enough that is to land a job right out of college. Hey don’t worry, that “fantasy” is at least four years away so we can ignore that until the second semester of senior year.
People often say that college is the best four years of your life and judging from my own personal experiences over the last few years those people are probably right. I could list off all crazy nights I have encountered, but we can save that for another place and time. Instead I would like to share a little advice for the freshman and new students.
Do not be afraid to try new things, both socially and educationally. College is a fresh start from high school, most people here don’t know you, and quite honestly don’t care who you were in high school. Nobody cares that your football team won the state championship and nobody knows if your only friends were mom, dad and your Xbox. I am not telling you to change who you are entirely, because being yourself may be the most important thing in the world, but don’t think that you can’t make a few changes. When I entered UNH I was a history major and had never written for any type of publication. Then I created a blog just for the heck of it and landed a column here in TNH. Things don’t always go according to the plan and you have to be able to accept that fact.
Freshman, you are about to have more free time than you know what to do with. There are those students who can manage their time properly and those who will be on academic probation faster than you can recite your SAT score. Procrastination will be your worst enemy, especially since your parents aren’t around to hassle you to do homework. Also, professors really don’t care whether or not you do your work, or even go to class for that matter. Motivation will be your best friend. If you can be self-motivated enough to do your work ahead of time, than there is no excuse not to get passing grades. When all is said and done college is actually pretty easy if you can limit procrastination and stay motivated.
Now that you know how to pass any class you take here we can discuss the other part of college, the social aspect. One of my professors once said that he believed social skills one learns in college far outweigh anything you will learn in the classroom and I couldn’t agree more.
Take advantage of your surroundings, go out and have fun. A night out around campus truly can ease the stress that college courses may bring. Sometimes taking a break from schoolwork is what you really need for success in the classroom. For some people taking a break might be hiking through College Woods and for others taking a break includes a bottle of cheap vodka, loud music and a dirty basement. In college those are both viable and respectable options. When else in your life will you be able to say that?
The “real world” is coming faster than you think so get all that recklessness out while you can. Just be careful how far you push it, there is a fine line between cutting loose and being that roommate who needs a babysitter every Friday and Saturday night. Don’t be that guy everyone watches being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon on Main Street. Be rowdy, have fun, but also know your limits.
I guess what I am trying to say is this, when you look back on your college career do you want to remember being social or sitting alone in your dorm room playing videogames all day? There are so many opportunities here at UNH to take advantage of, from the different student organizations to simply going outside and joining in a game of ultimate Frisbee on Thompson Hall Lawn. Join a student group, if there isn’t a group for you create one, attend the MUB movies, go to the sporting events, and take advantage of what UNH has to offer because this is the one time in your life you will truly be able to do what you want.
Enjoy your time here at UNH, have fun and most of all:
Stay classy, not Umassy,
The New Hampshirite