4 People to Know During Your First Year

4 People to Know During Your First Year

U.S. Army veteran Jay Strobino, new bachelor's degree in exercise science in hand, gets a hug from retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Keith Huber, left, as Huber's assistant, Pat Thomas, looks on during MTSU's fall 2018 afternoon commencement ceremony in Murphy Center. Huber, MTSU's senior adviser for veterans and leadership initiatives, has been advising Strobino on post-graduation career options with the help of the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center on campus. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

FACT: There are a ton of people on MTSU’s campus. I’d say somewhere between … 12 and 1 million people? Taking off my “Captain Obvious” hat and replacing it with my Student Voice hat (definitely one with the spinny thing on top), I advise you to meet as many people and make as many connections as possible during your college years.

When coming into your first year, however, meeting a ton of people can be overwhelming. It’s a good idea to focus on a few specific groups of people before getting to know every single person on this campus. I have heard, however, that if you successfully learn every name of every student and recite them perfectly, you get a building named after yourself. Don’t fact-check that.

If you’re looking for a list of people you absolutely should get to know, you’ve come to the right place. These people will help you through every step of your time here and beyond! Plus, if you remember their favorite snack, you may end up friends for life!

Meet your fellow bright 8 A.M. faces

Southern Poverty Law Center's Lecia Brooks

Lecia Brooks, director of outreach for the Southern Poverty Law Center, provides MTSU social work students with an accelerated version of her campuswide evening talk on “The Rhetoric of Hate and the Art of Resistance” in a Peck Hall classroom. (MTSU file photo by J. Intintoli)

With over 20,000 enrolled students, I wish you the best of luck if you attempt to meet each one of them. The students you should definitely meet, however, are your classmates. The benefits of getting to know your classmates, especially early on, are enormously impactful. Not only will you likely be in classes with them until you graduate, but you’ll also have an instant study group for every test and trustworthy partners for every project.

My suggestion is to create a group chat for every class and invite whoever wants to join into it. You’ll quickly be asking and answering questions about homework, setting up times to study at the library, or even planning fun things to do outside of class! This is an awesome way to make friends if you aren’t super outgoing during the early hours of the day.

Don’t bite the hand that teaches you

Johanns Frederick Litzenberger-Rivera, left, a junior MTSU video production major, talks camera angles with Robert Gordon Jr., an associate professor in media arts, before shows started on the Who Stage at Bonnaroo 2019 in Manchester, Tenn. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

Johanns Frederick Litzenberger-Rivera, left, a junior MTSU video production major, talks camera angles with Robert Gordon Jr., an associate professor in media arts, before shows started on the Who Stage at Bonnaroo 2019 in Manchester, Tenn. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

Your professor is your friend, and I even wrote an article about it! It’s called “How to Make Your Professor Your Biggest Ally.” I highly suggest you read it, but if clicking links isn’t your forte, then I’ll give you the Reader’s Digest version.

No matter what class you’re taking, make it an early point to introduce yourself to your professor. You’ll want all your professors to remember you in a positive way, so that’s the best way to make a good first impression. A firm handshake and a smile are all it takes.

As you progress through the semester, remember to stay engaged in the lectures and participate fully when given the opportunity. Once the semester is over, your working relationship with a professor doesn’t necessarily have to end If you showed a strong work ethic and positive attitude in class, there’s a good chance a professor will write you a letter of recommendation or refer you to awesome research opportunities!

Make your adviser (aka ‘Academic Parent’) proud

Kristen Janson, computer science adviser for the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, talks in her office with senior Josephine Campos in this file photo. (MTSU file photo by J. Intintoli)

Need to know which classes to take? Did you stay up all night in a panic, thinking that you aren’t on track to graduate? Never fear, your adviser will keep your head on straight for you. MTSU has advisers that make it their goal to support you and put you in the best position to succeed during and after college. Plus, they seriously care about you getting the most of the college experience.

If you’re ever feeling uncertain about something, just schedule a quick appointment with your advisers. They’ll help you set up short and long-term goals for growth and be your accountability partner until you reach them. Seriously, advisers are too pure for this world!

Most majors will also assign you a faculty adviser, which are not utilized enough. These advisers will answer any questions you have about career options for your major. If you’re ever feeling uncertain about your degree choice or want tips on breaking into the field, you should definitely reach out to this person to pick their brain.

I’ve refrained from saying it, but I can’t hold it in. I strongly ADVISE you to get to know your ADVISERS. HA!

Meet the neighbors

Student Arielle Harris, center, moves into Corlew Hall with the help of a group of friends during the August 2015 We-Haul student move-in event. (MTSU file photo by J. Intintoli)

If you’re planning to live on campus, this should be an easy one! Getting to know the people who live in your dorm, especially if they live on your floor, is a great idea. For the next year, you’ll be passing each other in the hallway, hanging out together in the common areas, and possibly even brushing your teeth together.

The most important person in your dorm to meet, however, would be your Resident Assistant, or RA. If you ever have any problems with your living experience, your RA is always available to help you out. Plus, they are going to know MTSU and Murfreesboro like the back of their hand, so feel free to solicit their advice on classes, restaurants, and things to do around town!

Living away from your family can be rough at first, but it won’t be long before you develop a group of friends that becomes your big, happy Blue Raider family!

I know I’ve thrown a lot of must-know people at you, but remember to take as much of college as you can, carefully. You typically won’t need to go out of your way to interact with all of these people, but it’s always smart to be aware of them and put yourself in a situation to work together. MTSU provides an awesome environment where collaboration and interaction are strongly encouraged, so make sure to take advantage and expand your network!


Author Kobe Hermann is a senior at MTSU, majoring in management in the Jones College of Business and minoring in business administration. The views and opinions expressed above are his own.