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Reflections from a first-year-student

Posted 11:37 a.m. Friday, June 16, 2023

UWL student Lilly Ninneman, left, walks with a friend through campus. She advises students to "go out and meet people! I promise you everyone is feeling the exact same way, so don’t be afraid to be the one to approach others."

Second in a series: Advice for future students … ‘buckle up’ and start living these tips now

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.   

Dear Future UWL Student:  

Congrats on starting your first year of college! I know it may feel like you’re not going to make it, and it’s completely terrifying. But don’t worry, I’m here to tell you all the things you need to know. Consider it a little inside scoop from one terrified student to another! Let’s get straight to the goods: 

1. When you say goodbye to your parents, DON’T go back into your room and sit around. Unpacking can be saved for later when everyone is turning in for the night. Instead go out and meet people! I promise you everyone is feeling the exact same way, so don’t be afraid to be the one to approach others. I promise once you meet some people and make friends this whole college thing will feel a lot less scary!  

2. Go to Eagle Fest!  Eagle Fest is Friday, Sept. 8, 2023, at UWL, and involves live music, entertainment, food, fun and meeting people from UWL student organizations. It is a great way to meet people who share the same interest, and some of the clubs are so much fun! For crying out loud, we have a CHEESE CLUB at UWL. Okay, so now that we have talked about getting involved, let’s get down to the school part of your journey.  

3. Professors are not actually scary and mean. That’s an old myth to get you scared for college! All the professors here at UWL want you to succeed and want you to learn! Raise your hand, participate in class activities, go to office hours, and visit the learning center at the Murphy Library.  

4. Take it from someone who was too afraid to visit the tutoring center during her first semester here, go to the tutors! Check out the tutor center. Take advantage of all the opportunities here at UWL. I surely didn’t when I first got here, and I regret it a lot. Everyone at UWL came here to learn, they want to get something out of their schooling just like you and me, so don’t be embarrassed about asking questions. The chance is someone else is wondering the same thing you are!  

5. Here is the weird thing about college, the more involved you are, the more successful you’ll be. So again, don’t just sit in your dorm every night! Join some clubs and make tons of friends! It will keep your mentality positive, and you’ll do better in classes!   

6. Alright, last big piece of advice, STUDY. I’m sure you’re used to getting by on the fly in high school, but you aren’t in high school anymore, hot shot. Take time to study and prioritize your schoolwork. You are paying to be here and paying to take the classes you are enrolled in. Whether you think it’s a useless gen ed (no gen eds are useless) or a class related to your major, go to class! Don’t waste your money and don’t waste your professor’s time.  

The amazing thing about starting college is that your life is now up to you! From here on out it’s only your choices and what you decide to do day-by-day. So, make some good habits from the start! It’s going to be a bumpy ride for the next four years, so buckle up and start now!  

See our story on how one student transformed a 1.6 G.P.A. into six, full-ride graduate school offers. One of the keys was learning how to prepare for class. 


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