Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Advice for First-Year Students from Older Students

We here at GSC wanted to give some advice to the Freshmen in Gemstone since we know how tricky the transition to college life can be.  We figured who better to get advice from than the people who have been in your shoes. This summer we reached out to upperclassmen and recent graduates asking for any advice they had for first-year students and we’ve compiled their responses to help provide some tips for the overall college experience, how to navigate Gemstone, and anything they wish they had known sooner! Hopefully this helps get all the first year students off to a great start!

The Overall College Experience

“Check your email. Frequently.”  
 -Ed, Class of 2015

“Keep your door open as much as possible and stop in to talk to people in your dorm on your way back from class...Doing homework or hanging out in the lounge also helps with getting to know people.”    
 -Scott, Class of 2016

Make sure to attend office hours if you're struggling with concepts in a particular subject. Since professors and TAs usually get the most students coming into their offices right before the exams it’s a good idea to go to office hours as soon as you're having difficulty.”   
 -Jeannette, Class of 2017

 “Capitalize on every opportunity available to you! Sign up for lots of clubs and organizations, attend as many school-wide events as you can, and get to know your professors--oftentimes, they will become your best mentors. College is the time to explore the unfamiliar, so take some risks to meet new people and have new experiences.”

-Lara, Class of 2017

 “Enter everything with an open mind and remember you can complete anything you want. It's important to really make the college experience something to remember.”   
-Lauren, Class of 2016

“Make mistakes and don't be afraid of failing a few times, because the college experience really is about growing as a person and making new friendships and connections. Put yourself out there, take a few risks and you will be surprised to find out what you are capable of :) ”
-Alex, Class of 2017

 “ It's easy to get swept up in all the extracurriculars and commitments you might want to do all at once, but your academics always come first.”   
-Melanie, Class of 2017

“Take a breath, forgive yourself, and then try to develop a positive relationship with yourself.”   
-Ben, Class of 2015

“Your GPA is not more important than your well-being! Sleep (at LEAST six hours a day!), love life, and work for the purpose of learning and not getting a specific grade and the rest will fall into place.”   
-Becky, Class of 2016

“You can never have too many "interesting facts" about yourself”   
-Ed, Class of 2015

Don't be afraid to be yourself. Really.”    
-Rayna, Class of 2017

Advice for Gemstone

“During team formation, don't be afraid to join a team that may have nothing to do with your major or career plans. Working on a project that is in a different field than your major can broaden your academic experience--and it's nice to have some variety.”  
-Brian, Class of 2017

“Pitch your ideas regardless of how insane they might seem. Sometimes the craziest ideas make for the coolest projects.” 
–Scott, Class of 2016

“Find a project that you're passionate about and really get to know your teammates. A good relationship with teammates is half the battle of a successful project.” 
- Lauren, Class of 2016

“Don't go through the program with tunnel vision focused on your final thesis: take the time to step back, appreciate the process, and recognize what invaluable skills you've learned. You're going to meet a lot of smart, driven people, and you're going to gain a lot of experience that you wouldn't get with any other program.”  
 -Lara, Class of 2017

“It is incredibly valuable to form connections with many peers in your cohort as well as across cohorts. I have learned so much from older cohorts ranging from Gemstone lessons on team success/common failures and how to grow from them to advice on graduate/professional school applications to general life lessons.”   
- Alex, Class of 2017

“Go to Gemstone Java on Mondays and get to know the staff because they are there as your resource.”   
-Jeannette, Class of 2017

“You might have heard rumors from upperclassmen or friends that make you worried, but give everything a fair shot before you decide your opinion on it!”    
-Becky, Class of 2016

“Participate in GSC-hosted events and bring your friends”   
-Ed, Class of 2015

“Use the Gemstone team rooms to study late at night! There are usually Gemstone students studying for the same midterm, or doing the same homework set. Also, you can't beat that commute.”  -Melanie, Class of 2017

“Don't lie to Dr. Skendall. She'll find out.”   
-Ed, Class of 2015

“As a Gemstone grad, I can say the whole process was challenging but totally worth it. I'd do it all again.” 
–Ben, Class of 2015

What I Wish I Had Known Coming into UMD:

“How much more awesome it is than I expected”  
 -John, Class of 2017

“I wish I'd known just how many different people you're going to meet, from all walks of life. Since Maryland is such a big school, I'm always meeting new people, and I'm constantly impressed by their accomplishments, their goals, and their diverse backgrounds."  
-Lara, Class of 2017

“There will be people who accept you for who you are, there is no need to try and completely reinvent yourself when you get to college” 
-Ed, Class of 2015

“Don't be scared of looking/acting "like a Freshman." This is the time to make the most out of a fresh start and embrace new challenges. Plus, being a Freshman is a get-out-of-jail-free card when it comes to embarrassment, because, really, no one expects much more from you.”  
 -Melanie, Class of 2017

“Always check where you classes are and who is teaching them. Ask around in your major if the professor teaches well or you could end up with a 25 minute walk to a class that makes no sense.”  -Jesse, Class of 2017

“I wish I had known that joining a club is not a binding commitment. I was very selective in the clubs/organizations that I chose and applied to because I was scared just to drop out after a meeting. I love the clubs I am involved but do wish I could have experienced what other clubs were like as well.” 
–Alex, Class of 2017

“UMD obviously is a pretty big school, which means that students have to take the initiative and often seek out the opportunities themselves. Be proactive and pursue as many opportunities as possible.”** 
 -Brian, Class of 2017
**Check out the First Look Fair in two weeks on Wednesday and Thursday: September 16th and 17th to see the many extracurricular activities, groups, and clubs UMD offers.

“That I had more than enough time for extracurricular activities.” 
–Ben, Class of 2015

 “I wish I had started exploring study abroad opportunities earlier. I really want study abroad, but with my majors and course schedule it seems highly unlikely. I feel as though if I had been aware of this and started thinking about it when I came into UMD, it would be completely possible with adequate planning.”  **
 -Alex, Class of 2017

**There is a Study Abroad Fair Thursday, September 10th at 3pm.  Be sure to check this out even to get a general idea of what study abroad is like and how it can work.  If you know you want to study abroad tell your adviser ASAP and they can start working with you to make a four-year plan that works with a semester abroad.

"It's okay to change your major or not know exactly what you want to do."
-Kym, Class of 2017

 “What you want to do, what your major is, and what you end up doing may not be related at all. Go with what you enjoy.”  
 -Ed, Class of 2015

No comments:

Post a Comment