St. John’s 101

College is an experience like no other. Some see college as the first stepping stone to a successful career, while others see it as a four (or possibly five) year-long party. No matter what one may believe college is about, all incoming freshmen should know a few things about what to expect out of college and what to prepare themselves for.
First, there are the laptops; the mere mention of a free laptop has most freshmen salivating at the keyboard. Students can bring their laptops into class every day
– a pleasure that may seem tempting, but can certainly be distracting. These popular freebies are not always worth the imminent conversations on AOL Instant Messenger or the wasted class time spent on Facebook or MySpace.
While the Laptop Program has many good intentions in ensuring that students have access to SJU’s wireless technology, most students have used it for a means of entertainment and ‘instant messaging’, particularly during classes.
David Callan, a junior Communications major at St. John’s, recommends to “try not to spend time online in class.” If you really do need it, (especially for some classes where typing out the notes might be faster than jotting them down) then of course use it, but not at the cost of trailing off into hour-long conversations. That may seem nice for now, but come finals week you will be wishing you had just waited until after class to chat online. The laptop can be your best friend outside of class, and your worst enemy in the classroom.
Do not abuse this privilege. Secondly, make sure you can afford the cost of textbooks. More importantly, make sure you actually buy the books too. Some students think they can get by without buying books. More often than not, they end up putting themselves at a disadvantage and falling behind quickly.
If, like most college students, you are looking for a discount on books, search for used ones. Often times, used textbooks are in pretty solid condition, especially online and at the University bookstore.
In regards to shopping for books, deals are often more abundant online than at the two local bookstore giants (the University’s and Ed’s). Check sites like to see if the books you need are available at discounted rates.
The most important thing to note about college is that it flies by, so make sure to make the most of your experience here. There are many clubs, associations, and groups on campus that cater to whatever your interests are. A college student has the rare opportunity to grow within a community of educated peers, so be sure to make as many friends as possible and to make time to give back to the University. Do not become one of those students that just goes to class and runs straight home or to the dorms; any graduate that has done that in the past will tell you that they missed out by doing as much. College is meant to be a meaningful experience. No one should deprive him or herself of that.
Also, think about working. St. John’s offers work-study programs in which you can work on campus and you get to pay a little less for tuition. It is also a good idea to look for a job or an internship off-campus. It will give you the experience you need to survive in the real world, where 40-hour-plus workweeks mean little time for you to sit back and relax. The upside of jobs or internships is the ability to network and possibly receive a full-time position in your field of interest when you graduate.
Then again, working means time management. “Students should work only if they can keep up a good GPA,” said Nelson Ho, who is studying at St. John’s to become a Physician’s Assistant. The number one priority that students should have at any university is grades. Take care of inflating that GPA before looking for an outside job.
Socially, the party aspect for college freshmen is the ultimate rebellion, as students gain independence. One thing students and prospective students should always remember is to have fun, but not get “caught up” in the party scene. Lack of a social life can be a drag, but lack of an education hurts a future more than a person can imagine.
If someone decides to participate in the local party scene, there are places located near campus that are fun atmospheres for going out. St. John’s is also beneficial because it is very close to New York City, a dream escape for college students.
All freshmen are searching for new friends, and there is a Web site out there to aid the process of meeting new people. One of the best necessities for any St. John’s freshman is a Facebook account. It may sound silly, but having a Facebook can offer you some benefits. Having an account allows a student to not only keep in touch with old friends, but provides the ability to find new friends. If someone were to ever miss a class, a quick search on Facebook to find classmates makes it easier for someone to ask for notes or assignments they may have missed. These new friends can become your study buddies, and perhaps even friends for life. Finding people that you can say “hi” to and talk to before and after classes will make the college experience more easily adaptable.
College can seem intimidating. For some, it is because of all the increased academic demands and new responsibilities. With this guide, however, your first year may very well be a piece of cake.