Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Tips to Ace Your Freshman year with ease

Thursday, August 18, 2022
Graphic by Emma Kratky

Hey, Redhawks! Attending a new school and living in a dorm can lead to some extremely fun experiences and memories, but can also be intimidating at first — so props to you for making it this far! Here are some top tips and tricks for a smooth transition to a new school and living environment.

For all Southeast students, especially incoming ones, I highly recommend downloading the Southeast app (search “Southeast” on the app store and look for the app with the red dome logo). It has lots of helpful information including arrival times for campus shuttles, your grades and an entire section devoted to fun activities where you can meet new friends and start getting integrated into campus life and more. If you’re looking to get involved on campus, Southeast is hosting an events fair Aug. 20, 2022 , which is a great way to learn about different clubs and activities around campus to get involved and make friends.

Speaking of making friends, the first few weeks of college are a time when everyone is trying to meet new people. Take advantage of it! Go to all the activities you can (especially events that your Resident Adviser (RA) hosts on your floor if you live in a dorm), and introduce yourself to new people. If you feel comfortable doing so, leaving the door of your dorm room open allows people to pop in and say hi, and you might just make some new friends! Music Education senior and former RA Ella Crader says that (especially post-quarantine) doing things like eating or hanging out in common areas instead of your room is a great way to make new friends.

Crader also said that it’s normal not to meet all your closest friends when you first move in.

“Those inner circles will ebb and flow,” Crader said. “Its ok that not everyone you meet has to be your ‘best friend forever’, and you don’t have to meet all of the people that are going to influence the rest of your life in the first month of college.”

If it's your first time living in dorms, it might seem like a lot to take in. I totally get it! If you have a roommate, Crader recommends you fill out the roommate contract — it’s an easy way to have a structured conversation about boundaries. Some specific things to discuss may include:

-What time you both usually go to bed, and if you want a set “quiet hours” or lights off time (Side note: I recommend investing in string lights or desk lamps for if one roommate wants the lights off before the other).

-If you’re comfortable with daytime and/or overnight guests, and how much advance notice you want when your roommate is having a guest over.

-What noise level you are OK with in the room?

-What appliances/items/food are shared, and what isn’t?

-How often you want to clean and who does what cleaning?

If your roommate ever isn’t respecting your boundaries, Crader said that you shouldn’t be afraid to talk to your RA.

“The RA position is there to be a non-judgemental third party mediator position, and to help relieve those conflicts before it becomes something that could damage a friendship you’ve built up or make a living situation unbearable,” Crader said.

If you’re nervous about eating and snacking in dorms, don't worry, I got you! If you’re looking for shelf-stable, low prep foods, I recommend granola bars, microwave popcorn, mug cakes, instant oatmeal, mac ‘n cheese and any chips or snacks that you like. If you have access to a fridge, some dorm-friendly snacks I love are cheese and crackers, sandwiches (a small panini press is worth the investment, IMO), yogurt, hummus or salsa to dip veggies or chips in, and cereal with milk.

College homework can seem daunting when compared to high school; however, there are several ways to make your workload more manageable. I recommend keeping a calendar — keeping all of your due dates and homework in one place is key when staying on top of your schoolwork. It’s also good to make sure you have a focused space for homework. I highly recommend Kent Library!

Crader says her No. 1 tip in terms of schoolwork is just to go to class, both to meet other students, and to get to know your professors, who can be a huge help if you don’t quite understand the material. She also says it’s important to put your school life before your social life.

“Nothing good happens after midnight. So if you’re like oh man, I have a really big test in my 8 am class tomorrow, but everybodys playing Mario Kart in the lounge, and it’s like two in the morning, you can skip the Mario Kart. Mario Kart will still be there next semester, even if you have to retake that class because you missed the test,” Crader said.

Hopefully, these tips provide you with the information you need to rock this semester. You got this, Redhawks!