Surviving and thriving your first year at Gustavus

Emily Seppelt – Lead Copy Editor

If you’re reading this article, that means you’ve already grabbed a copy of your student newspaper and are on track for a great year (wink wink). But where do you go from here? In the coming weeks and months, you will be provided with a plethora of resources, offices, events and acronyms that all take forever to learn. While all these things are important, hearing from a variety of students about their experiences and advice is also invaluable.

As a now senior at Gustavus, I have been through the wringer of the college experience, and I had it much easier than you (considering you are entering college amid a now two-year pandemic). There are so many things I wish I had been told, or that I could of absorbed earlier. I definitely can’t fit it all into this one article, so I’ve highlighted the advice and experiences that have stood out to me the most. And you’ll just have to pick up another copy of the Weekly next Friday to read more.

Firstly, college is going to fly by quicker than you could ever imagine. Just yesterday I was a baby First-year, and 2022 seemed to be forever away. As my dad so eerily reminded me as he drove away from campus at the start of this semester, the next time he will be on campus is when I graduate. The point of this story is that oftentimes we become so busy with classes, homework, work-study, extracurriculars, sports and making time for ourselves and our friends that we can forget to cherish the time we get to spend on this campus. So soak it all in while you can and try to remember what it felt like to be a brand new Gustie.

Secondly, and this one is important to remember- it is just going to suck sometimes, especially in your first year. Everyone ends up facing some kind of issue- whether you miss home, you’re having a difficult time adjusting to college-level courses, making friends or just on the struggle bus in general, it is ok. If everything went smoothly in your first year at college, let alone your first semester, I’d like to hear your secrets. Even when it seems like others are doing perfectly it is just not true 100% of the time. In fact, it is normal to have a hard time in a totally new and foreign environment. Who would’ve thought?

Thirdly, please, for the love of Gus, GET OUT AND DO THINGS. The biggest mistake you could ever make is the hole yourself up in your room. Yes, I know it’s scary, and yes, I know your room is probably really cute and comfy. But you have to step out of your room at least once in a while. I can tell you right now with confidence- it is going to feel really awkward and cheesy at times. Trust me- it feels pretty weird and embarrassing to square dance in a parking lot in 80-degree weather.

However- no matter how awkward and nervous I felt, the square dance was a blast and certainly helped me to come out of my shell. Any event can be that for you. It may feel repetitive but you

never know who you will meet when you take the leap and go to that crafting event, or take that weird-sounding class. I decided to take Swedish on an absolute whim and met one of my closest friends on campus as well as a fantastic faculty member whom I never would have known otherwise.

Lastly, be prepared to be unprepared. The craziest and most unexpected things happen on a college campus and no one can predict what will happen next. Which is super exciting. And also super terrifying. You just never know what will be thrown at you next, and all you can really do is go with the flow.

A time will come that it will begin to downpour while you are in class, and you just have to laugh as you walk across campus back to your dorm. You will meet a lot of interesting people, some of whom you will love and others that you will loathe. If nothing else, your four years at Gustavus will certainly be some of the most memorable of your life. Best of luck to you all, and I hope you have a great orientation weekend and an even better year.

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