Attention freshman! You’ve heard it countless times: “College is going to be a whole new experience.” It sure is, but luckily you have the Daily Cardinal staffers to share our wisdom to you as you enter this new chapter of your life.
“As a freshman, I lived in Witte and spent a lot of time in the southeast area of campus. I wish I had known to take advantage of the Lakeshore path!! It’s the perfect place to destress and makes for a gorgeous walk or run no matter what the season is!” — Zoe Bendoff
“No matter what it looks like on the outside, everyone is looking to make new friends at the start of college. Reach out to people you think you will mesh with. Talk to strangers in student areas. Go up to people's dorm rooms when their door is open. Most importantly, always say yes! Being a freshman in college is one of the rare opportunities in life where no one knows who you are or what you were like in your youth. Take advantage of this opportunity to branch out and become the person you want to represent.” — Em-J Krigsman
“As a freshman, you automatically suck. But the good news is, all the other freshmen suck too! Making friends with your upperclassmen is the best thing you can do to get ahead in classes, find cool study spots and develop lasting relationships with people who share your interests. Join a student org, a fun sports club (May I suggest our women’s rugby team?) or even get a campus job in a department you’re interested in! Soon enough, you’ll be invited to sit at the cool kids table on the Terrace — not by yourself at a dining hall.” — Addison Lathers
“I wish I knew that it is okay to be nervous. It is okay to walk into a lecture hall full of strangers and be scared to sit in the front or talk to the person next to you. College is filled with new experiences, and being scared is part of it. Put yourself out there and be scared - you never know what opportunities will come from it.” — Samantha Benish
“Extract the most joy out of your time spent physically in Madison. Take in all the snow and rain you'd otherwise never get to see. Be more present in classes and lectures: You'll end up missing the weird buildings on campus. There'll be a "shrine" somewhere in the deepest reaches of a building called Vilas Hall. Make every second spent there count. Prepare to step out of your comfort zone. It will be mortifying and even unfortunate at times, but you'll come out a better person. You'll face situations where you work as hard as you can and fail miserably. It'll hurt. You'll think more about why you want the things you want and it'll probably be for your best. You'll experience loneliness but gradually meet many people in many different ways. Some will be a flash in the pan, some will stick around and some you may not always like as much. Either way, they'll be good people. Appreciate them.” — Anupras Mohapatra
“Adulting is hard, but lean on your friends and don’t be afraid to ask the people you love for help. On the day you move in, there will be a time when you are alone in your dorm room, wondering how and where to get dinner. You’ll be ok! Everyone there is in the same situation and is trying to get through the first couple of weeks. Don’t be afraid to Google how to use Tide pods, or ask your house fellow about connecting to the internet. Don’t be afraid to lean on others especially when you’re in a new environment. Your upperclassmen are always here to help, too!” — Hope Karnopp
“Where you start is not where you’ll end, and what you do is not who you will be. If you’re avoiding your passions, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Find what you love and let everything else follow — I didn’t find my community until I joined the J-School my junior year and everything has fallen into place since!” — Samantha Henschel
“Having a SOAR would have been a solid start in the first place, but personally I just wish I had a better idea of the variety of clubs and whatnot that were available to me before I arrived on campus so that I wouldn't end up joining the Cardinal in the Spring when I first learned about it. Also, a bus line schedule would have been good because I still don't have even the slightest clue when those usually arrive and pretty much just walk everywhere as a result.” — J.J. Post
“The biggest thing I wish I had known coming in as a freshman, that I just picked up in a trial-by-fire manner, was how to properly manage my time and commitments on a weekly basis. It’s something that I am still continuing to develop, but I remember that my learning curve during the first few weeks was a little rough. Another thing that I wish I knew as a freshman was that you never have to actually read every single assigned reading for a class. There were probably 50 readings that I read my first semester that were just huge wastes of time because they were not essential to the class at all.” — Cole Wozniak
“I wish I knew how to study for exams as a freshman. My advice is to start studying early - a few weeks before the exam - and review the information in smaller chunks. Find the areas on campus that work for you. If you like a louder study space, try the unions or College Library second and third floors. If you like a quieter study space, try renting a study room or look for a quiet floor at the library.” — Gina Musso
“You have time! It's totally okay to not have things figured out yet. You're growing and changing so much as a person, it makes sense that your life plans may still be in a state of disarray. Just try to absorb as much of this experience as you can: talk to interesting people, pursue passions! This is exactly the time to be untangling yourself as a person.” — Joyce Riphagen
“As a freshman I wish I knew more about lecture halls. Basically, all the lecture halls are on an incline. When it snows, people’s boots get wet and once you’re sitting, all the ice starts to melt off your boots. The same happens to everybody else around you, and the water will start to drain down the lecture hall, getting all your backpacks, coats and shoes wet. For this reason, I recommend sitting towards the top of a group of seats. That way less water ends up on you. I prefer sitting towards the front of the classroom, and it’s still possible to sit towards the top. A lot of the lecture halls have a horizontal walkway free of seats to help the flow of students. Just choose the first row of seats in a front section, right below the walkway.” — Grace Hodgman
College is going to be a wild time! Hopefully we have given you some knowledge that will help you over your next few years. Learn lots! Have fun! Get involved! Join the Daily Cardinal!