Incoming students: Do what works best for you

Chloe Kersh

So, all 51,331 of us are back in the figurative saddle. Maybe college is new for you, and right now you’re navigating community bathrooms, unspoken J2 etiquette and a tsunami of syllabi; or maybe you’re an old-timer and right now you’re noticing that every other student on Speedway is starting to look really young. Well, whether you are white-knuckling the reigns, or leaning back in the saddle, a few pieces of somewhat-niche advice can’t hurt. After all, who knows what the next few months will bring?

Only you know how busy you want to be.

Everyone has an ideal level of busy. For me, that is being involved in exactly two organizations and taking 15 hours. No more, no less. For some people that may be taking 21 hours and being involved in four organizations. Still others may be at their happiest in no organizations and 12 hours. Don’t feel pressured to join a culture of over-committing. Do what works for you.

Watch where you sit.

If you live in a dorm and have a choice of only two resting places — your desk chair and your bed — try not to watch TV or Netflix at your desk. By winter exams, you will be habituated to relaxing at your desk instead of focusing. 

Don’t ignore your interest in classes you’re taking for core credit. 

Just because your Native American history course counts for your American history core credit doesn’t mean you should write it off. If you are interested in a class — research certificates, minors, departments, professors, centers — this is the time to get a grip on your passions, so don’t ignore non-major classes.

You should probably do the reading.

No explanation for this one, just a tried and true recommendation. 

Do your research on companies attending the career fair.

When I collected employer comment cards from a career fair, the number one comment they made was that students didn’t know nearly enough about the companies they were interested in. If you choose to attend a career fair, be sure to do your research. 

Go to the Blanton Museum of Art.

Seriously, how am I a junior and just attended the Blanton for the first time last week? Drop your backpack off in your dorm or apartment and make the trip. It’s free for students, and the moment you walk in, you’ll feel calmer, more collected while surrounded by the cool blue glass in the atrium. It’s a great place to take a break from your routine. 

Remember to take this semester one day at a time, even if your Google Calendar is showing an entire week of activities. Be kind to yourself and others, and know that you can only do your best. Congratulations on being back in the saddle, and best of luck on your journey.

Kersh is an international relations and global studies and liberal arts honors junior and vice president of the Liberal Arts Council.