Freshman 101: 10 Tips For Starting College

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” –Nelson Mandela

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I remember it like yesterday, arriving with a nervous excitement ready to decorate my room. I remember running errands with my mom before I left and running more errands with my dad when I arrived. I met new people and settled into what would be my home for the next 4 years… at Stanford University.

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Stanford was we’re I met my best friends,

where I grew closer to God,

where I matured and learned from amazing professors 

and where I met my husband, Rocket! 

~~~

Eleven years later, my younger sister is now going through the same nervous excitement, embarking on a new adventure.

Now, it was my sister’s turn and instead of being just excited, I was sad. Every time I came home, she was always there and now she is embarking on her own journey. My mom teared up and was quiet, as she slowly walked away from her last child entering college. I texted my sister multiple times for the rest of the evening to check on her, knowing one day I would be sending my own kids to college.

I remembered the day my dad left me at school. It hit me all at once…I was actually being left alone far away from family. My dad and I embraced in an emotional goodbye and that was it…alone, yet such an amazing experience awaited me.

My sister is the youngest in our family, the baby, and as we finished helping her move in and decorate her room, I found my excitement growing for the start of her college journey and shared some advice to help get her started.

My  Advice:

  1. Attend office hours even if you have a great grade. Professors love to talk about class materials and give advice on life.
  2. Get to know a professor. While I was at Stanford, I had the privilege of taking a class about personalities, leadership and negotiating from a professor who loved getting to know his students. To this day, whenever I am in town I meet with him and his wife.
  3. Get involved early. Attend as many meetings and events as possible because that’s where friendships begin.
  4. If a class looks interesting, try it. When you graduate, you will wish that you had tried more of the quirky classes.
  5. Look for an on campus job early. The best are the kind that give you downtime to continue studying (while getting paid!) like the library, intramurals, alumni office, etc.
  6. Party smart. Use the buddy system. Go to a party with a friend and don’t leave the party without them. Never return to an opened drink or accept a drink from someone else. You have no idea what could be in it.
  7. Be comfortable with your values and stick to them. You really aren’t missing out even if you don’t just “try it once.” If you think it’s a good idea, you can always try it later.
  8. Get more than one opinion. If one advisor tells you no, seek out others to get a full idea. My freshman year, I had one advisor that didn’t allow room for exploration. So I sought another’s opinion and I’m so thankful I did.
  9. Find a Christian fellowship on campus. My family and I are Christians and our relationship with God is very important. Some of the best times I had at Stanford were with Cardinal Life, a Christian fellowship. We met every week, went to church together, hiked in the foothills, attended concerts, and traveled on weekend trips. With Cardinal life, I grew closer to God as well as my peers. I received great advice from my mentor in the group and it made my college experience infinitely better.
  10. Enjoy every final, paper, project, and book on that extra long reading list. As challenging as it may be, attending college is a privilege, so enjoy the beauty on campus and even the small dorm rooms because in 4 years you will graduate and have so many wonderful memories!
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Proud Alum returning to Stanford. 

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