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5 Things I Wish I Knew As a Freshman

If I had a time machine that could take me back to my freshman year at MTSU, you can bet I’d do a few things differently.

To start, I’d probably study a little more and drink a little less MTSU Chocolate Milk. Who am I kidding, it’s impossible to drink less of our chocolate milk. It’s delicious. I have many lactose-intolerant friends who risk it on the stuff.

But with a new class of incoming freshmen joining our campus community this fall (Hello, Class of 2024!), I figure that this is the perfect time to go over a few things I learned during my four years that will help you get the most of your college experience.

Utilize state-of-the-art resources

Students, faculty, staff and guests circulate among three of the four floors of MTSU's James E. Walker Library in this file photo. The facility is celebrating its 20th anniversary this fall and conducting a special fundraiser, the "20 for 20" campaign, to expand services for the university community. (MTSU file photo by J. Intintoli)

Students, faculty, staff and guests circulate among three of the four floors of MTSU’s James E. Walker Library in this file photo. The facility is celebrating its 20th anniversary this fall and conducting a special fundraiser, the “20 for 20” campaign, to expand services for the university community. (MTSU file photo by J. Intintoli)

I’m not going to lie; it is easy to become quickly overwhelmed with the amount of resources that MTSU provides you. Whether it be our Writing Center to help you with essays, the James E. Walker Library for access to hundreds of thousands of physical and digital media items, or the Career Development Center to keep you on the right path to success, there’s a lot to take in.

My first tip to you is to explore MTSU’s website and discover the sort of stuff available to you. Write down the ones that you believe will come in handy and how to take advantage of them, that way you can easily refer to your list if you ever need help with something.

Here are some of my favorite “lesser-known” resources!

Go for the learning, not for the grade

MTSU management students respond to a question from social entrepreneur and author Matt Tenney, who was giving a guest lecture about the value of servant leadership Thursday, Oct. 17, inside the Business and Aerospace Building classroom. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

MTSU management students respond to a question from social entrepreneur and author Matt Tenney, who was giving a guest lecture about the value of servant leadership Thursday, Oct. 17, inside the Business and Aerospace Building classroom. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

It is tempting to focus solely on doing what it takes to earn A’s or B’s in all of your classes. The basic goal for anyone attending college is to walk out in a few years with a degree. But college should be much more than that.

Inside the classroom, take in as much knowledge as you can. Don’t simply cram information into your brain for a test, as you won’t actually learn anything. If you pay attention in class, study, and seek additional information, the things you learn will have a greater impact as you graduate and enter into a new career.

Another thing to consider is that your professors are some of the greatest resources you’ll meet in your life. These campus leaders have real-world experience and skills that they devote their time teaching to you. Get to know them, visit during office hours, and use them to your advantage!

Learning is not only done within the confines of the classroom, though. Joining student organizations, finding leadership opportunities, and attending on-campus events and lectures presents additional ways to grow and add value to your degree. 

A huge benefit of attending MTSU is that our campus community is home to over 20,000 people, not including our expansive alumni network. The opportunity to learn from each other is there, you just need to get out there and take it!

Put yourself out there…

In this fall 2017 file photo, a DJ entertains the crowd of MTSU students attending the Crash the Commons event held on the Student Union Commons. The event includes live music, free food and host of other activities to welcome new students to campus. (MTSU file photo by Eric Sutton)

In this fall 2017 file photo, a DJ entertains the crowd of MTSU students attending the Crash the Commons event held on the Student Union Commons. The event includes live music, free food and host of other activities to welcome new students to campus. (MTSU file photo by Eric Sutton)

You’ve probably heard this advice a lot, but take it to heart. Step outside of your comfort zone. 

Seriously – college is the perfect place for you to try new things and figure yourself out as an individual. For most incoming freshmen, this is your first time doing things on your own, so take advantage of these opportunities.

Attend a meeting of a student organization you may have an interest in. Learn more about other cultures. Have healthy debates about what goes on in the community. MTSU’s student population is incredibly diverse, presenting you with the awesome opportunity to learn new perspectives and grow into a more well-rounded citizen.

… but don’t forget to take care of yourself

Students work the exercise machines at the Campus Recreation Center at MTSU. (MTSU file photo by J. Intintoli)

Students work the exercise machines at the Campus Recreation Center at MTSU. (MTSU file photo by J. Intintoli)

On the other end of the spectrum, some people go in and join as many groups as possible and try to balance a hectic schedule with their homework.

Going to college is an investment in your future, so make sure to take care of yourself! Practice a healthy lifestyle by eating right and being active, utilize Counseling Services as needed, and take some time to relax and reflect on all of the amazing things going on in your life at the moment.

You have an army of supporters behind you

The 2019-20 MTSU freshman class — the Class of 2023 — gathers on Horace Jones Field in Floyd Stadium for a group photo as part of University Convocation, the President’s Picnic and MT Athletics Fan Day Saturday, Aug. 24. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

The 2019-20 MTSU freshman class — the Class of 2023 — gathers on Horace Jones Field in Floyd Stadium for a group photo as part of University Convocation, the President’s Picnic and MT Athletics Fan Day Saturday, Aug. 24. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Finally, and perhaps my biggest piece of advice, understand that no one is hoping that you fail. In fact, most leaders on campus, whether it be advisors, professors, or support staff, do what they do solely because they believe in you.

If your paper is heavily criticized, your professor is trying to challenge you to improve and succeed. If a class is particularly tough when it comes to certain topics, there’s probably a good reason for it. Chances are, it is probably something you’ll need to fully understand for your career.

These people care about your development as a student and professional, so that when you graduate and move onto bigger things, you’ll be inspired to pass on what you learn to the next generation.

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


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