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Reflections from a first-year student

Posted 11:16 a.m. Wednesday, June 7, 2023

UWL student Lilly Ninneman

First in a series: How she realized college wasn’t scary. 

By UWL student Lilly Ninneman. Ninneman wrote this post during her first semester of college in a First Year Seminar course. She’ll be a sophomore at UWL this fall.  

Starting your first year of college can be very scary. At least I know it was for me. I didn’t know people, I was scared to reach out, I was scared about class work, and I had this image in my head that all professors were mean and scary.  

Man, oh man, was I wrong. The first time I realized that college really was not that bad, was at Eagle Fest. My mom and dad nagged me for weeks about how important it was to get involved in clubs. Part of me knew it was true. It would help me meet new people and find people who have the same interest of me. However, I wasn’t exactly sold. I had no intention of joining any clubs actually.  

This is until I went to Eagle Fest. Walking around looking at all the clubs and the members behind the tables made me realize something. As I watched the members joke around, smile, and have fun, I realized that joining clubs and being involved does do exactly what my parents said. It helps you make friends, have fun, relax, feel like home, and be happy.  So, I did exactly what my parents wanted me to do.  

And I am so thankful I decided to listen to them. I signed up for two clubs this semester. One club for my major and one club for something I am really passionate about. I was scared to go to the first meetings. In fact, I contemplated skipping them. Again, I was terrified to meet new people. But after hours of nervousness, I decided to go, and it was a BLAST. I finally felt like I met my people. It felt cozy, welcoming, fun, and relaxing. My plan is to go every week! Going to these clubs helps me have a moment of relief in my busy weeks. I'm excited to see what else campus has to offer as I learn more about UWL!  

Yay! I solved my belonging problem. I met new people and got involved with clubs. All my problems are gone now, right? Wrong. I still need to tackle the image of mean and scary professors that lives in my head. So far, I haven’t actually came across any mean professors, so my mind has relaxed a bit. I was very happy when I went to the first day of all my classes. Each and every professor informed us that they WANT us to come in and talk to them and that they WANT us to succeed. Man did it feel good to hear that. When I need extra guidance on an assignment or in class I will make sure to email my professors and ask to stop by during their office hours. Another good way to help me succeed in classes is to find study buddies and get to know the people I sit by! 

I’m excited to check out the tutoring center in the library. I will for sure use that resource when I am struggling and need extra help! I already feel a little bit of pressure creeping up on me as the workloads get heavier so I will be sure to use the counseling and testing center here on campus if I need to talk to anyone! Overall, UWL has treated me well so far, and I can’t wait for the semester to progress.  

This post was originally written in Fall 2022.