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A Word from Upperclassmen: 10 Things Upperclassmen wish they knew as Freshmen

Updated: Aug 4, 2020

Featuring: Oliver Pour BU'22, Student Body President and

Ashya Singh BU'22, President of FinTech Club at Boston University


graduating students

College is for many students a turning point, a place to go find themselves and shape who they will become. It is inevitable that in this new environment college freshmen will make mistakes however INTA+ tutoring is here to help! Here at INTA+, we value the learning process and mistakes you make along the way, which is why we made this guide, to show you some that we made too. 


10) College is Different for Everybody 

We all expect to come to college and have it play out exactly like the movies. In reality, every school is different and every student is unique. Students get caught up in finding their group of friends straight off the bat.

Don’t place too much emphasis on your first semester friends or the nasty professor you get for that mandatory class you need to take. It takes time to find the people you want to stay friends with. Taking classes your second semester or sophomore year of college has its benefits like finding out which professors are “easy graders” or the best at explaining the material. 

Don’t be afraid to eat alone! Your friends aren’t always going to have the same schedule with you and you need to make sure you’re taking care of yourself. It’s also okay to feel homesick and miss how your life was before college. Try video calling friends and family from home more often but remember to still try and be involved in college life!


9) Take Time to Meet your Professors

Although some of them may seem a bit wacky, getting to know your professors and even attending their office hours every once in a while has serious benefits. The first benefit is getting tips for tests that other students might not get during class hours. If a professor sees that you care about doing well, they will make sure you do well in their class. Your professor will most likely be teaching another course later on in your college career so establishing the connection early is a way to get ahead of the game for those high-level courses. It’s also a great way to find internships or receive letters of recommendation. Most professors are well established in their fields and are very connected to the industries they teach. 


student raising hand in class

8) Don’t be Afraid to Ask Questions

We get it, not knowing anyone and suddenly having all of the attention on you in a class full of strangers is scary, but you are not alone. Everyone is scared of their first semester and the only way to get by is jumping in headfirst. Asking questions ensures that you stay on top of the subject matter and don’t get lost in the fast-paced classrooms. 

Everyone is afraid of asking that stupid question, seeming like the dumb kid in their class, but we guarantee you that half of the class had that same question and the same fear as you. Asking questions leads to understanding concepts and that results in your success. 

Want to get remembered by your professor in a 100 plus person lecture? Be the one that asks the questions! 

7) Don’t be afraid to switch your major

More people than you would think switch their major in college, in fact, 1 out of 3 college students switch their major within 3 years. Some people even switch their major 2, 3, 4 times! College is for you to figure out what you are passionate about and what you see yourself doing for the rest of your life. It’s hard to think that you have everything figured out at 18, but by taking classes across different subjects in your freshman year of college, you can start narrowing down on what you’re interested in.

“I switched my major after finals week at the end of my freshman year and I was the person who thought she’d never in a million years switch their major. I was so stuck in that mindset and it took me an entire year to realize that it wasn’t the one for me. Don't feel tied down to the expectations you think people have of you, do what you love.” (Ashya Singh BU’22)

It’s okay to not have everything figured out. You can switch your major whenever you want and if you have multiple interests, then minor! The worst thing is regretting your choice of major after college and wishing you did more of what you wanted instead of what you felt you “had” to do. 


6) Compromise

In college, compromise is key, between close living quarters, new friends, and tight spaces it can be easy to catch yourself arguing over miscellaneous problems. One of the first things you’ll learn in college is how to compromise, whether it is fighting over who gets the closet or what dining hall to eat at it is important to remember that college is all about making memories and learning how to let things go.  


students sitting on grass

5) Learn how to manage your time effectively

Between clubs, work, class, and just hanging out with your friends it is extremely important to learn how to manage your time. A successful college life relies on how much time you put into it. Keeping a planner, managing important dates, and saving room for your time are all ways to help keep yourself in check and put you on the path to success. It is okay to take a break and it’s important to remember to have fun. By being smart with time management, you can ensure that your grades are where you want them and you’re still getting the college experience you want.

Creating a study schedule is so beneficial in ensuring your retention of information. By setting aside time every day to study rather than cramming you not only will feel like you are doing less work but will actually have a comprehensive grasp of the material rather than having a bunch of words memorized. This is the key to acing all of your exams. 

If you want a more in-depth article about time management check out our previous blog post.


lecture hall with empty seats

4) Go to Class 

The one thing college lacks is a set schedule, you are no longer urged to go to any class, take an exam, or finish your presentations. The pressure is on you now. You may not realize this syllabus week, but going to class is the difference between passing and failing most of the time. By putting yourself in the classroom you are taking the first steps to a successful college career and relaying to the professor that you are putting in your best effort. 

We all have that friend who never goes to class and most of the time that friend is not the one singing his or her exam. With online classes becoming implemented more and more, it’s easier than ever to just mute your lecture. Don’t! Blocking out class time and actively taking notes is the best way to ensure you retain the information from your classes. 


3) No. One. Cares. 

Literally no one cares. Trust us. People in college are way too involved with their own busy lives to care that you wore the pajamas you slept in to lecture or rode your bright red scooter to your chem lab. It’s always hard to get out of your head but the faster you do it, the less carefree and more fun your life will be. Join that club! Wear that outfit! Do whatever you want, this is college, not high school for crying out loud.


2) Look for Job Opportunities On and Around Campus

For some people, college may seem like a lot, but having a job brings a set schedule back to your life that college life lacks. Not only will this make you feel more motivated but it will also provide you with some extra spending money to go out with your friends, treat yourself, or just use to get something other than dining hall food.

Many schools offer work-study programs where you are guaranteed a job on campus. On-campus jobs work with your exam and break schedules so they definitely have their pros! If you’re located near a city or college town you can apply for internships around campus to boost the all-important resume. Getting a job near campus is also a great way to make friends because odds are your co-workers will be students too. 


1) Get Involved

Our #1 piece of advice! Whether your campus is big or small it can feel easy to get lost. But by getting involved in clubs, teams, and other organizations such as greek life on campus it will make you feel a lot more at home. Plus, these can be great resume builders.

“There’s a club or organization that fits YOU. College has hundreds of unique opportunities for students to explore and be a part of a group that fits their own interests and passions. Keeping an open mind at the beginning of your freshman year will help you see a broader picture of different chances to get involved. Step out of your comfort zone, you got this!!” (Oliver Pour BU’22)

Sign up for any clubs you find cool and go to their introductory meetings! Give them a chance and then pick the ones you’re really interested in to get more involved with. It gives you a chance to make friends with people who you normally wouldn’t be able to meet and you can even get other friends to join clubs you think they would like!



We hope you remember these 10 things this fall semester and know that INTA+ tutoring is by your side!


 
INTA+ Tutoring

 INTA+ Tutoring provides peer tutoring services. We are a platform that connects students who excel in classes with those who are struggling in them. Through INTA+ Tutoring, students will get more efficient and direct help on their assignments, quizzes, and final exams. Grades shouldn’t be an obstacle for achieving your dreams. Find an INTA+ tutor and get closer to receiving your dream GPA now!

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