Making the most of freshman year

Blake Rozelle ‘20, Pace University

Some students may know exactly what they want to do or have no clue. It’s important freshman year to take the classes necessary to find where you want to head.

Explore different majors

I knew what I wanted to do going into school. I took a lot of general education classes when first coming into school, which only proved to me that I was going for the right major. Other people may find the opposite. Some people go in for a business degree and find that in the first two courses that it’s not for them. Have an open mind for everything and go based on what feels right.

Find a club

Each campus is typically filled with many types of clubs. Find at least one club that interests you as a starting point to find a community to fit into. For example, I began at a club called WPAW, where we do radio, video, and photos. I went there as a freshman and got on the executive board as treasurer. At this point, I’m a senior and president of the organization. I’m glad that I explored clubs as a freshman, so that I could work my way towards what I’m doing now. 

Get to know your department

Just like finding a community through a club, you can also connect with students in the same academic department. You’ll all be taking a lot of the same courses, so it’s good to know everyone’s faces and names.

I started working in my department as a media lab manager. This allowed me to work with the film equipment that I would be using for my projects in the future. I also became very involved in helping events in my department, so I got to meet most of the professors and a lot of people from the department. At this point as a senior, I know most of the students and professors and have been able to film many projects with them because of the connections I’ve made. The more people I’ve met, the more I’ve been able to expand my work and try new things. 

Get to know your professors

Getting to know your professors can be a good opportunity in many different ways. At the end of the day, they may be recommending you for a job in the future. Professors are different than high school teachers. They are typically more open to talk about anything and get to know you quite well.

Some of the professors at Pace have been great mentors for me. I spend a lot of time with them in and outside of class – we eat together sometimes, and they’ve even helped me with my film shoots. They’ve given me great experience and recommendations for the real world after college. 

Don’t be afraid to be open

It may be scary at first when arriving at school. No one knows anyone. Everyone is in a new environment, which is very intimidating. But being yourself will help you find a group that you enjoy being around. A lot of college students try to be someone they are not so they can “fit in” but end up being unhappy with the groups they find. There are all types of people in college, so just be yourself and find the people you like!

Enjoy your time

Lastly, take advantage of all the time you have in college. The time goes very fast once you get into a general routine. Days become weeks and weeks become months. Try to do something different every week to keep it interesting. I’ve found that the more robotic the weeks are, the less I enjoyed them. My favorite moments in college have been the most spontaneous ones. Spend time with new friends. Go on a hike. Go to all the school events. Freshman year is possibly the best year of college, so make sure to take advantage of it.

Winter Break Tips

Jaadyyah Shearrion ’20, Cambridge Rindge and Latin School

Welcome to winter break! If you’re in your first or second year of high school, this might feel like the perfect opportunity to kick back and relax after a long semester. Or, if you’re like me, you might be a little bored for the next few weeks. Luckily, there’s a few small things you can do to turn your break into a productive (and fun) couple of weeks.

Discover your passions

Hopefully, if you’ve downloaded the CollegeFindMe app you’ve noticed that there’s a section on your profile just for passions.  You may be thinking “how is this better than homework?,” “why would I put what I like on a possible college application?,” and “why should I start my application now?!” I know I felt that way when I was an underclassmen. I would always think “I’ll do it later.” But, in sharing your passions, when it comes time to submit applications colleges will be able to see the real you, not just test scores.

Filling out your passions is so quick and easy. All you have to think about is what exactly you like to do. The app has some of your favorite things; baseball, drawing, sailing, acting, and that’s just to name a few. Doing such a small task over your winter break sounds a lot better than your looming homework assignments. You will also sleep better around the time for application deadlines knowing that you’ve got a head start. 

Find the right fit

When it comes to college searching most don’t know that your feelings about your high school matter as well. Do you go to a huge high school and don’t like how many students are in each class? Then you would probably like a smaller college. Did you find that you aren’t getting the help you need in your classes? Try looking for a college that has a ton of student resources. Not everything has to be academic either. If you grew up in a small town and you want to see what it’s like to live in a big city, look for colleges in urban and metropolitan areas. 

Explore new paths

It’s pretty hard trying to figure out what you want to major in once you’re in college. To make things a bit easier, think about what your favorite classes are. I know sometimes you end up liking more than one class, and that’s fine. What narrows down your search are questions like “would I enjoy a career in this subject?,” “what exactly does it mean to study this subject?,” or “what kind of job could I have if I studied this subject?” Follow what you have a passion for, even if the major isn’t the most common, like Astrobiology, Nannying, or Wildlife (I looked these all up and seriously, they’re real). If you are still unsure of what you want to study, we explore a new major on our blog every Monday!

Read

We hear the collective groan that just spread across the nation. Yes, the CollegeFindMe team wants you to read. A lot of young people don’t like reading mostly because our schools don’t let us read things we actually want to read. Books that may not interest everyone like 1984 by George Orwell, Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, and other boring age old cautionary novels that force us to think critically. But that’s not what we’re asking you to do.

Read something that tickles your fancy. If you’re interested in how Kylie Jenner went from a model to a business woman, read up on her financial success. If you believe in aliens maybe you could read some declassified UFO documents. If you like to produce music read about Dr. Dre’s music career and his inspirations. Just because it isn’t traditional literature doesn’t mean it doesn’t count as reading. Remember that quote from your physics class? “An object in motion stays in motion.” Imagine your brain is the object and reading is making it stay in motion. While school is inactive your brain would be active by reading over break.

If you’ve chosen to apply one of our suggestions to your life that’s fine. Regardless of how you spend your winter break, make sure to relax and have fun aside from just being productive. From the CollegeFindMe Team, have a wonderful winter break!