Hi 2019! If you’re reading this, you’re probably going through one of the exciting segments of Student Orientation, or maybe even NRB! Regardless, welcome to RPI! I know that myself and all of the current students are very excited to meet you all! I’d like to take this time to provide you with some advice that I think will help you all out over the upcoming year. Take this from a former freshman that had quite an interesting year. From meeting incredible people and taking part in amazing student activities to joining the exciting roller coaster of the Student Senate and unintentionally landing up in the midst of a spring election crisis, I think it’s safe to say my year wasn’t average. So, here are my five tips that I believe will help you make this year your best yet!
Don’t be afraid to say hi to anyone and everyone. College, especially freshman year, is one of the few venues of life in which almost everyone is new to his or her surroundings and to e each other, and, therefore, it is completely acceptable to say hi to those around you, even if you weren’t introduced to each other before. Who knows, the person sitting next to you in class or the dining hall or even that club meeting may become one of your best friends, but you won’t know unless you start with a ‘hi!’
It’s okay to be the ‘Over-involved Freshman.’ It’s no doubt that time management is one of the most important skills you need to know (or learn) for college—class responsibilities and homework can be a big burden alone, so extracurriculars should be included in time not needed for studying. But, with that in mind, it’s not the end of the world to join multiple clubs at the start of the year. With about 250 student organizations at RPI and about a dozen new ones being formed every year, attending meetings of many different groups is a great way to ‘window shop’ clubs and find those that best fit your interests and personality! Just make sure that, when your classes get tough, you pick the ones you’re most interested in and focus the majority of your time on what matters most: schoolwork.
Stuck on a thought or idea? Go for a walk. With hours of back to back homework, projects, meetings, classes, and/or studying, you will eventually hit a mental roadblock and won’t be able to keep focusing. Or, maybe after a long day, you may feel stressed or annoyed with something. One of the best ways to deal with either of these issue is to take a walk through campus. We’re lucky to be living full-time on an incredibly photogenic campus, even during the middle of winter, and it’s in our best interests to take advantage of that. The change of scenery, weather, and the movement will all play into helping you feel better and getting you back to being as productive, or lack thereof, as you need to be!
Don’t let anyone rain on your parade. People you meet at RPI, and at any point in life, may have different life experiences that may give them a different outlook on any given situation. Sometimes, sadly, some individuals will have a more negative view on a topic than you do, and that is totally alright. But, if you’re feeling confident or excited about a class, a project, an extracurricular, or any upcoming event or opportunity, don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. Often times, the best way to get the most out of an experience is to approach it with realistic positivity and to do your best to enjoy all of your time at RPI.
Take advice with a grain of salt. This last piece of advice ties similarly with the previous one in that, once again, people may have had different experiences that can impact the advice and guidance they will give to their peers. This goes for items as small as laptop choices to as large as picking majors and finding a company that best fits you. Remember that, even though all advice can be useful in some form, it’s also important to keep your intuition at hand because, ultimately, you are the one who knows what’s best for yourself.
So, with that in mind, feel free to take this entire editorial with a grain of salt! Try these pieces of advice if you’d like and, who knows, maybe you’ll be the one writing an advice article to the Class of 2020 in a year’s time! Best of luck with your first few months; enjoy everything that RPI offers during SO and NRB, and I look forward to meeting you all come August!