Alumni offer seniors advice for their first year of college

As the end of the school year approaches, more and more seniors are beginning to anticipate their first year of college. The new fall semester is likely to bring new school jitters to the members of the Class of 2013, no matter how confident they feel now. Luckily, McNicholas alumni were more than willing to share their college wisdom:

You can go your own way

While there is nothing wrong with meeting up with hometown friends for lunch on campus, Class of 2005 graduate Rachel Heyl does not advise students to dorm with them. “Don’t dorm with friends. Let the university pick for you,” Heyl said.  “It will allow you to make new friends and not lose your current ones.”

Nina De Salvo, Class of 2011, warns students to avoid awkwardness in the laundry room if possible. “If you don’t know how to do your own laundry, learn it now! It was embarrassing how many people I had to teach how to sort and wash clothes,” De Salvo said.

Many students are used to having their own room, and dorming can be a huge adjustment. Ashley Schneider Neltner, Class of 2007, wants to remind students that they can always fall back on their family for support. “Don’t forget to call home from time-to-time, especially if those at home send you care packages,” Neltner said. “When all else fails, you can always rely on your family.”

Hanging tough, staying hungry

College students are constantly on the go, which makes fast food a tempting option. Michael Humphries, Class of 2007, warns against taking advantage of the convenience of fast food too often. “Eating Chipotle more than 6 days in a row is a really bad idea,” Humphries cautioned. “Vary your diet just a little.”

Kelsi Corcoran, Class of 2009, also knows that choosing the right food for the right situation is important. For late night study sessions, she suggests energy drinks and comfort food. “Red Bull and Velveeta Mac and Cheese help with all-nighters!” Corcoran said.

Empire state of mind

As easy as it may be to stick with people who are similar, alumni encourage students to engage with people who are different. “Attend as many groups and activities as you can, especially those with which you believe you disagree,” Gary Rose, Class of 1982, said. “You will learn much more by discussing things with folks whose opinions differ from yours than by discussing things with people who share your opinion.”

Maggie Ingram King, Class of 2005, thinks that college is the perfect time to explore new things and learn about yourself in the process. “Take classes on subjects that sound interesting to you, even if they aren’t part of your major, volunteer in the community, learn to play an instrument. It doesn’t matter what it is, just do it. Exploring is half the adventure,” King said.

Dylan Barth, Class of 2009, wants to discourage students from ruling any opportunities out, whether they are big or small. “Some of them won’t work out in your favor, but all of them will teach lessons that will later define your character,” Barth said. “College is fast, and can be measured by the experiences you had when you got out of your comfort zone.”

Come sail away

Donna Radloff Burns, Class of 1988, encourages students to study abroad, no matter how daunting it seems. “It will set you apart in your professional endeavors,” Burns said. “Your experience in the global market will make you a phenomenal asset to any organization.”

Class of 2005 graduate Molly Dineen agrees that studying abroad is an excellent experience, but advises students to gather information about the studies early on. “Start to explore your options starting the first year,” she said. “Many wait too long to make it happen.”

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