5 Tips for First-Year Students from Seniors


They remember how nervous they were on their first day of classes at Westminster; they remember battling homesickness, meeting a stranger for a roommate and seminar class — and now, suddenly, they’re seniors. While any senior will tell you they don’t have it all figured out (just ask about post-graduation plans), the senior class has learned a lot since first arriving on campus and would like to share some hard-earned wisdom with you. Here are five pieces of advice from seniors who wish they could tell their first-year selves the following:

1. Set goals
You already know the importance of setting both long-term and short-term goals. Goals give us focus, measure success and provide motivation. However, micro goals are just as important. Think about what you want to accomplish in the next day, the next hour or even within the next five minutes.

“When you start to feel overwhelmed by a busy week, take one day at a time,” Rachel Bade said. “Focus on daily goals and try to add in small breaks when you can to help you get through the week.”

2. Prioritize your health
College can be stressful and overwhelming at times, so remember to always take care of yourself first. “Make time for working out and eating healthy,” Allison Moulton said. “It helps you feel better physically and mentally.”

Alex Rauscher said she wishes she would have taken better care of herself by getting the right amount of sleep. “It really does make all the difference academically, physically and socially,” Rauscher said. “The more sleep you get, the more energy you have and the more motivated and healthy you are to get everything done.”

For more tips on healthy living, the Wellness Center is a great place to go and can provide emotional, mental and physical support.

3. Balance your time
Finding the proper school and social life balance is essential in college.

“Learn to balance your fun and your studies,” Shelby Ledgerwood said. “It’ll help you in the future years here. Know that it’s okay to say ‘yes’ to having fun instead of studying mindlessly for hours.”

4. Learn how to study
Studying is something you’ll do a lot of in the next four years, so it will benefit you to develop strong study habits now.

“Find out where you study best so you can actually focus,” Marissa Hackbarth said. “Then, use the time you would’ve spent procrastinating to do something fun or relaxing.”

5. Take advantage of new opportunities
Westminster provides countless ways to gain new experiences. Whether it’s studying abroad, joining a club or participating in campus events, there are plenty of ways for you to take advantage of what Westminster has to offer.

“Get involved,” Ledgerwood said. “Don’t throw yourself overboard with extracurriculars, but don’t be scared to try something new either!”

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