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Ask 5: What Do You Wish You Knew Before Starting College?

Image courtesy of University of Wisconsin- La Crosse Facebook

Image courtesy of University of Wisconsin- La Crosse Facebook

Emily Markham, Multimedia Editor

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The transition from high school to college is not always an easy one. Some students are starting a new chapter of their life, the first chapter where they are considered an adult. Mistakes are bound to be made, and it is likely they will change their mind for what seems like a thousand different times. While no one is ever completely prepared for this transition, these returning UW-L students gave some thoughts and advice on things they wished they knew before beginning this journey in their lives.  

Incoming students will meet a lot of new people during the first year of school, some people will stay in your life and others won’t. Sophomore, Haylee Stachow, looks back on her first year saying, “The friends that you meet the first week of college are most likely not the people you will end the year with. Good friendships take time! You will meet the right people as you go.”  

College is not just about meeting new people. It is also about trying new things, figuring out what you like and what you may not like. Rachel Gallo, a senior, talks about allowing yourself to experience all that college has to offer, “It’s okay to change your major a million times and try out different classes…it’s okay to try out different activities. There’s a lot of new clubs and organizations at colleges and it’s always fun to try something you never knew existed.” 

Although there is a lot of fun to be had with these new friends and experiences, there are some realities that will be faced that are not so exciting. Cellular Biology major, Sam Korger, discusses the work aspect of school, “Coming into a science major, I wish I would have understood that weekends don’t exist if you want to ace a course. I also wish I had understood how important office hours really are for your comprehension of new materials and exam preparation.”  

College is an opportunity to build the best version of a student’s self, which includes surrounding yourself with people who help you do this. Senior, Erika Ward, remarked, “It’s best to show your true colors. It’s easier to meet likeminded people that way. The only person’s opinion that should matter is your own.” 

In this time of transition for students taking care of yourself is extremely important. Sophomore Dani Goff talks about her first year away from home, “I wish I knew…how hard it can be to take care of yourself physically and mentally when you live on your own. At home, it’s easy because your parents cook for you, take care of you when you’re sick and try to make sure you get enough sleep, but when you’re on your own it’s very easy to get so caught up in studying or hanging out with friends that you forget to eat or only five hours of sleep.” 

College is a time of new everything—new friends, new experiences, new classes, a new you. Keep in mind that students may not love every minute of it, but this is the time in student’s lives to make mistakes and change their mind until satisfied.

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Ask 5: What Do You Wish You Knew Before Starting College?