Monday, July 11, 2011

Courtney Mariano

Hello all,

Since I have just finished my first year of college, I’d like to share my experience and advice with everyone, especially the upcoming freshmen. First, take advantage of all the programs your school provides, like tutoring or academic advisors. No matter what class you’re taking, if there is tutoring offered for it, I would suggest signing up since extra practice or teaching doesn’t hurt and you can drop the session if you really feel it is not a good use of your time. And as a freshman, thinking about majors and future schooling may seem so confusing. So look into setting up a meeting with an academic advisor at the school to talk about your interests and class planning. And if you already know what you want to do in the future, perhaps joining a professional fraternity for law or business will help.

Adjusting to college academically may be tough for some. When choosing classes, I just advise that you do all of your research. Look at class times, and see if you like to take classes in the morning or afternoon and if you don’t mind big gaps in between classes or if you would rather have back to back classes. If there are rate my professor type of websites for your school, you may want to take a look at those just to see what to expect (although you should not believe everything that is written). Also take into account final schedules to avoid back to back finals, unless you feel you can handle them. I met a few people that definitely struggled during their first year. So, although a lot of people will advise this, learn how to balance your social and academic life. There will be times when you would rather go out with friends than study for a midterm, but just be wise in your choices. You will get the hang of it and will know when to hit the books and when to have fun.

In the beginning, you definitely want to explore all your options and try to get involved. I personally wish I got more involved towards the beginning of the school year because once I joined a group, I began meeting a bunch of different students other than freshmen. This is a great way to meet others with the same interests. So try to go to that activities fair that the school should hold during the first week of school and take advantage to talk to members of each group you are interested in. And once you realize what groups you like, get involved to get the most of your experience and make the most of the time you’re spending.

Living with others might seem terrifying, but definitely go into it with a positive attitude. I did this, and luckily it worked out for me and my roommates are some of the closest friends I have. You may not become best friends with your roommates, but just try to make the best of your living situation since you’ll have to stick with it for a year. Also, don’t be shy when addressing any problems you may have. Big or small, I learned that it is easier to resolve issues in the beginning. I advise that you all try to get close to your floormates as soon as possible. These are the people that you will probably see the most, and they may be able to give you advice about classes, majors, or groups to join and they can be there just for random conversations.

Best of luck to all of you, and feel free to contact me if you have any other questions about UCLA or college in general!

Courtney Mariano

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