As a rising senior, there are so many things I wish I had known as an incoming freshman. In 2018, I was a scared, overwhelmed freshman wondering how the heck I was going to fit in at this massive school. Everything seemed to be coming at me so fast, and I didn’t know exactly how to process and enjoy all of the unique things freshman year brings.
Therefore, I am going to provide a few pieces of advice that every freshman should know before taking on their first year at UW-Madison.
1. Open your mind to new and potentially scary opportunities.
Coming to campus and moving away from home is a really intimidating idea. Being in a new place with new people can be overwhelming. However, no matter where you are from in the world, at UW-Madison, everyone will have one thing in common: They are Badgers.
Historically, Badgers are risk-takers and adventurers. Obviously you’ll want to keep up that reputation, right? I suggest introducing yourself to as many different groups of people as you can. There are people from all over the world here, and having connections from all over the world is a really incredible thing. Hearing different opinions from people that came from different places has been one of the most valuable pieces of my education thus far. Don’t be afraid to throw yourself into situations where you don’t know anyone. This is how some of my coolest stories at UW-Madison came to be. You can learn so much from making yourself go out of your comfort zone.
2. GET INVOLVED!
Now, I know this sounds completely cliche, but it is SO important. I started getting really involved my sophomore year of college, and one thing I regret is not doing it freshman year. There are so many different groups, clubs, jobs and roles on this campus that can give you really cool experiences. Not to mention, if you start building your resume now, you’ll be able to avoid a lot of stress as you get to your junior and senior year.
In addition, getting involved can automatically give you several different groups of friends. The experiences you have early on in college can really shape how your college career goes in the future. The more you get involved early on, the more you will have to talk about in future interviews or conversations. Again, I know it sounds so cliche, but there is something for everyone on this campus. There are clubs for something as specific as enjoying cheese, so get out there and get involved!
3. Live in the moment.
As I look back on my past three years at UW-Madison and look forward to my very last year, one of my biggest regrets is not enjoying the moment more often. In college, it is so easy to get carried away with looking forward to the next semester or next year. There are so many exciting things that come with growing up. However, as you get older in college, there are more and more responsibilities placed on you.
Freshman year is a time where you get a peak into adulthood, but don’t have to quite worry about it yet. You will meet new people, go to new places, try new foods and accept new challenges because you are in a brand new stage of your life. My advice to you, incoming freshmen, is to enjoy that newness. Being a freshman provides you with the opportunity to build your own story. You are on your own for the first time in your life, and you get to make this new life whatever you want it to be. Don’t take it for granted and don’t wish for it to be over, because as soon as it is over, you cannot get it back. Live in the moment and enjoy your life as a freshman for what it is: new and exciting.
Welcome to UW-Madison, and I can’t wait for you all to experience being a Badger, because it is truly an honor.