Words of wisdom from an upperclassman

With any new experience, it takes time to acclimate to your new surroundings and truly get the flow of how things work. College is no exception to this rule. As a freshman, it shouldn’t take you long to realize college is not the same as high school. Your parents aren’t around to make sure you make it to class on time, and teachers will not remind you that you have a five page paper due Friday. If you begin to feel overwhelmed, never fear. You’ll get the hang of things in no time. However, here are a few pieces of practical advice from a seasoned pro that may make your adjustment to college life a bit easier.• Go to class. I’m sure you’ve all heard it before, but this really is the easiest thing you can do to guarantee yourself a better college experience. Sure, some of your professors may not have an attendance policy, and playing video games may be more exciting than your Monday morning history class, but you must fight that urge to skip. You aren’t paying tuition to sit around in your dorm room, are you? So get what you paid for, and go to class! Select professors have even been known to give extra credit just for showing up when half the class is absent. Those extra ten points might just help you out when final exams roll around.• Participate in class. This might sound cheesy, but it can really improve your grades and make class more interesting. It may have been the cool thing in high school to sit in the back of the room and pretend like you would rather be anywhere else, but that’s not how it works here. If no one but your professor spoke during the entire class period, class would get boring quick. Professors appreciate when students participate in a positive manner, and they remember it when it’s time to record your final grades. Sometimes just speaking up a few times in class is enough to bump your grade that two extra points between a B and an A.• Turn your assignments in on time. Your high school teachers may have been relaxed when it came to deadlines, but your college professors expect you to be adults. Many professors will lower your grade by an entire letter just for turning in a paper a day late; other professors may not even accept late assignments. The quickest way to fail a class is by not turning in assignments.• Don’t procrastinate. If your professor gives you an entire month to work on a research paper, don’t wait until the night before to start your research. Staying up all night to write a paper is no fun, and your roommate probably won’t appreciate it, either.• Take advantage of the Writing Center. If you aren’t comfortable writing college-level papers or you aren’t sure how to format your paper using MLA or APA style, the Writing Center will help you immensely. Make sure to schedule your appointment several days in advance. Trust me, going to the Writing Center two hours before your paper is due will not help you a bit. As an added bonus, some teachers will even give extra credit for making a trip or two to the Writing Center.• Leave your door open. When you live in a dorm, the best way to meet people is by leaving your door open. You never know when someone will randomly stick their head in your room and strike up a conversation about a poster on your wall, or the TV show you are watching. This strategy could help you meet the majority of your friends on campus.• Don’t park in upperclassman or faculty parking spaces. Over the weekends you are allowed to park near the dorms. However, parking anywhere other than freshman lots during the week will earn you a ticket. More than five tickets in one semester will cause you to lose your parking privileges for the entire semester. Besides, tickets can get expensive, and it’s hard enough for the rest of us to find parking spots as it is.• WCU stands for “We Carry Umbrellas.” 40% chance of rain means it’s probably going to rain. The rest should be self explanatory. Walking up the hill in the rain stinks.• Wear comfortable shoes. We live in the mountains, and you’ll be doing a lot of walking. High heels are not suitable walking shoes. • Take advantage of all WCU has to offer. Go to the gym or sporting events, participate in intramural sports, catch a movie in the UC, or go on a trip with Base Camp Cullowhee. When you live on campus, you never have an excuse to be bored. There are activities and events each and every day. You pay activity fees as a part of your tuition in order to provide the majority of these events, so why not take advantage of what you are paying for?