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How to Ace Beginning College

by Kathryn Cambrea
The first day of school is a paradox; what will occur is unknown, yet it’s all familiar. I have been experiencing it every year since I was four years old. But my first day when I was 18 was completely different from the ones preceding it. That particular Tuesday in September of 2018 marked my first day at college, at St. Thomas Aquinas College.
If you’re afraid of what to expect beginning your first year at a college, it’s alright! In fact, there’s nothing wrong with being nervous. Just remember that you have a privilege that not everyone can afford. You’re going to school to pursue a dream! To be who you want to be!

The first day

The very first day is odd. I commute to school, and the parking situation was entirely new and different. I felt like an ant. I walked up to the school with this foreign self-perceived maturity I did not feel in high school; I was officially on an entirely new phase in life. I made sure to find the rooms of all my classes so that I would arrive to each one on time. I recommend arriving to school early and locating all the rooms of your classes to avoid stress right before each class starts. Also, do not hesitate to ask upperclassmen where to go; you are guaranteed to find someone who will help you.

Talk to people

If you want to make friends, you have to immerse yourself in the environment. Talk to the people sitting around you before class starts. The halls are also a great place to make friends. Peers waiting outside a classroom are waiting for the same professor and are going to be in the same class all semester: get to know them! Your conversation can start out quite simply; introduce yourself or just talk about the class. I met many of my college friends this way.

Importance of attitude

Go to the dining hall, café, or any place where you can eat and socialize on campus. Chances are you’ll have breaks between your classes or long stretches of time when they’re finished or before they start. Use this time to order food or some coffee. If you walk into these rooms thinking that you have no friends, the outcome will reflect your attitude. Smile and talk to the people waiting in line, try to locate familiar faces, and make the move to ask someone to sit with you or to walk over to a table. Walking into these places on campus may seem daunting on the first day. It was for me. But I quickly began looking forward to lunch every single day at school to see my friends. You will definitely not meet all of your college friends on the first day, but it is a starting point. Use the first day as an opportunity to learn more about clubs on campus and any upcoming trips and events.
The entire college experience is an opportunity, and it’s best to enjoy it right away to maximize it. In addition to friends I made on the first day of classes, I also made friends on a trip the first week. You only make more as your college journey progresses.
Kathryn Cambrea is a Nyack News & Views intern. She attends St. Thomas Aquinas College.

Nyack People & Places, a weekly series that features photos and profiles of citizens and scenes near Nyack, NY, is sponsored by Sun River Health.

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