Open letter to the class of 2018

This is what you’ve waited your whole life for: college. You’ve dreamt about it. You’ve watched countless movies portraying the stereotypical “college experience.” But you don’t know what it’s really like until you’ve set foot on campus, spent the first night in a residence hall, eaten at Dalton, and attended your first college class. From one Highlander to another, here are some tips to help you navigate through your first year of college.

Know where the resources are and when to use them. Every student pays for college. That chunk of change not only goes toward paying your professors to teach to you, but it also pays for the almost unlimited resources that are free to students. There’s the counseling center, which can help you get though the tough transition to college. The Learning Assistance and Resource Center can help you get that “A” on your next CORE paper. Are you still unsure of what to major in? Check out career services in Walker Hall. There are almost too many to name, so check out the website for a full list.

freshman 2018
“Make all different kinds of friends. Make friends that want to party on a Friday but also make friends you can study with in Young.” Photo from: Radford University

As you’ve likely already realized, college is a lot of fun, but it’s a lot of work too. In order to help you get those good grades you need to put your classes first. Get to know your professors; they are willing to help you. They’re required to hold office hours just to benefit their students and to help them succeed. Go to every class. At the end of the semester, attendance and participation can help you go from that “B” to the “A.” Actually participate in class. Ask questions even if you think it’s a “stupid question.” It’s better to raise your hand and ask than to miss a question on the test.

Make friends in your classes. They’ll come in handy when you’re up late studying. Don’t wait until the last minute to study. Start looking over your notes a couple days before the test. At the very least, look at them before the last class before the test. That way you can ask the professor to clarify a topic you’re unsure about. Make it a habit to do your homework when you get it, not five minutes before the assignment is due. Set up a schedule. Work on schoolwork throughout the day, between classes, and until around five p.m. That way you can take the rest of the night off and have time to hang out with your friends.

Make all different kinds of friends. Make friends that want to party on a Friday but also make friends you can study with in Young. Having a variety of friends will mean you’ll never get bored of hanging out with the same people. Get involved on campus. Find something you’re passionate about; you’ll find people that like the same things as you do. Take chances. Don’t just stay in your room every weekend; but on the other hand, don’t party all the time either. Make sure you make time for your friends but learn to balance a social life and a school life. Go to events on campus. If you go and don’t like it, at least you’ll get free food. On the other hand, don’t just stay on campus. I’m sure you have heard of the numerous things to do in the city of Radford. Explore some. Hike the cascades, walk down to Bisset, or float down the New River.

Whatever you do, be sure to make it a memorable year. The first year of college is one you’ll never forget. Make sure when you look back on your college experience that you can say that you’ve had the time of your life.