Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Do’s and Don’ts of a Successful Freshman Year

By Josh Baltzell, EPPS Freshman

One might ask coming into their first year of college how they are going to manage their time? Incoming freshman might even wonder how to balance classes and extracurricular activates. As a collegiate athlete and a once undeclared major I can offer a few bits of information to the incoming class of freshman.

First off, if you are coming into college as an undeclared major don’t stress about it too much! My best piece of advice is focus on your core classes. Regardless of what major you decide on and what school within UT Dallas you are in, everyone has the same 42 hours of core classes. A freshman in college can NOT go wrong trying to finish these classes first.

Second, if you, like me, are going to participate in extracurricular activities, find out ahead of time when they are going to meet when you are planning your schedule. For example, I have golf workouts in the early mornings; therefore I cannot take 8 a.m. classes. However, since I am already up, it is very easy for me make it to an 8:30 or 9 a.m. class. 

When you are signing up for classes realistically evaluate yourself. Are you really a morning person or do you just wish they you were? If you are bad at time management and tend to procrastinate a lot, don’t take an online class. Make sure to plan your schedule according to your personality.

Lastly, learn a valuable real life skill your freshman year --- good organizational skills. As a golfer for the UT Dallas team, I know that I am going to have extra commitments. Frequently, this semester I found myself having to miss classes because I was away at a golf tournament or was going to need time to practice. Whatever activity you choose to partake in, make sure you keep a list of the things you need to accomplish that week. Have an outline of your assignments, meetings, practices, and tests. You’ll find yourself less stressed because you know what the week has in store. 

Also, in my case, having to travel for golf provided me with a way to get to know my professors outside the classroom setting. For example, I had to talk to my CRIM professor about missing class on multiple occasions because attendance was required. When explaining that it was for golf, he learned my name and was later able to remember me specifically and ask me about the golf team.

College is a completely different experience from high school. As long as you are able to come in with an open mind of what you want to accomplish and are able to set realistic goals for yourself, you should be able to make the most of your next four years at the university

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