What I wish I knew as a freshman

TORCH+PHOTO%2F+Brenden+Willsch

B_WILLSCH

TORCH PHOTO/ Brenden Willsch

The start of the school year brings the incoming class of 2025 with it. In other words, wandering around campus are a group of brand new freshmen who, luckily, will get to have a relatively normal four years at St. John’s — assuming another pandemic doesn’t sweep through the world anytime soon. But, also wandering around campus are the sophomores who didn’t experience freshman year since many were online in 2020. They are practically new students on campus as well. 

As a senior, I now find myself reflecting back on my normal years at St. John’s and the things I wish I knew or am glad I did know as a first-year student on campus. So here’s some tips for all those new students wandering around campus this semester!

Take advantage of the city!

At St. John’s, we’re only about 40 minutes from Manhattan via public transportation, so take advantage of this! There are many amazing things to do (literally, I have an ever growing list of things I need to do) so make sure you head into the city and have fun, especially if you’re not from the area. And not just in Manhattan – every borough has some exciting activities. Queens has many attractions that are worth a visit, such as the Queens Botanical Garden and the New York Hall of Science. A quick google search can land you with a laundry list of places to visit. 

The first semester of my freshman year, I went in and did some things in the city, but not as much as I now wish I did. Now, I go into the city at every chance I get. I don’t know where I’ll end up living in the future so I don’t want to miss out on exploring the five boroughs of New York when I have the chance and the time to do so. And the best part is, you don’t need to spend a ton of money. Pay for the subway and go sit in a park and read or do school work. It is affordable and you can explore numerous parks and areas throughout the city by doing this! But seriously, email me if you want fun things to do ([email protected])!

Get your work done early.

What tends to hold us back from going out and doing fun things? All the homework we let pile up. If you avoid procrastinating, you’ll have more time to go enjoy yourself. Freshman and sophomore year are the best times to go out and explore because the workload tends to be less. Core classes lend a little bit of a break from strenuous major courses which gives you more time on your hands. So my advice is get your work done at the first chance so you give yourself free time. 

This was something that held me back freshman year. I was not super on top of my work and so I didn’t always have the time to go out and explore as much as I wanted to. Now, I get my work done at the first opportunity, or I at least make a plan for when I’ll have time to get everything done. Thursday, after I get out of class, for example, I try to get my work done for that Monday class right away. Then it is off my plate, I don’t have to worry about it and I have time to enjoy myself.

Put yourself out there.

Yes, I know this is easier said than done. We’re not all social butterflies and might not be comfortable going up to random people to make friends. But try your best to step outside your comfort zone. Start up a conversation with someone in your class for instance. You might make a lifetime friend and find a buddy in your major! Ask for people’s Snapchats and invite them to grab lunch. Sure, you might end up never seeing each other again, but you also might end up making a new friend.

I was so worried about not making friends in college, but everyone really is in the same boat when you first get here. No one is going to reject a possible friendship, so give a conversation a go. I love that I can run into people on campus and have conversations with them even if it’s not a close friend, just someone I briefly spent time with freshman year. It’s just great to walk around and see friendly faces! Being in a new place away from home with a bunch of new people can be scary, but just put yourself out there a little bit and it’ll go a long way.