Sunday, August 26, 2012

Welcome to SMC - First Week Survival Guide

To the class of 2016, I only have one thing to say to you...

Okay, so maybe that's three things, but I just want to make sure you know how thrilled the SMC community is to have you! Now that you have officially settled in and completed your orientation, you are ready to experience all that SMC has to offer!
College is a wonderful time of exploration and self-discovery, but before you start to quote Socrates and listen to an insane amount of Bob Marley, you have to get through your first week. To help you out, I've decided to put together a First Week Survival Guide, full of tips and tricks to help you survive your first week at SMC!
First Week Survival Guide - Tips and Tricks to Having a Successful First Week as a College Freshman
1. Know Your Schedule - During the first week of classes, you are not expected to know the ins-and-outs of all the academic buildings and you may have trouble finding your classrooms. This is completely normal and expected, but knowing your schedule is extremely helpful. There should be a new and improved version of your class schedule in your mailbox, so make sure you pick that up and carry it with you as you travel from class to class. It's almost impossible to memorize all of your classrooms on your first day, so in order to prevent any unnecessary mix-ups, make sure you are well prepared with your schedule in hand.
2. Don't Be Afraid To Ask For Help - This tip is extremely important! As a Freshman, it may be intimidating to walk up to an upper-classman or professor and ask them for help, but know that the SMC community is so open and supportive! Everyone here wants you to succeed, so make sure you take advantage of that and seek the help you need, whether it be asking for directions, acknowledging that you will need a professor's guidance during a challenging course, or having a peer look over one of your first college papers. Also know that professors have office hours and email accounts for you to utilize, so make sure you reach out to them if you need to!
3. Introduce Yourself to Anyone and Everyone - The greatest way to get to know someone is to start off with hello! There is no need to be shy! Everyone in your freshman class is in the same boat as you, so they will want to get to know you! You are going to meet many people with diverse interests and opinions, so make sure you embrace that, too. At college, it's okay to be different. In fact, the great thing about college is that you are appreciated for the things that make you you, so make sure to branch out and introduce yourself to anyone and everyone!
4. Make a Visual To-Do List - When you have a visual, you are more likely to accomplish the tasks that you set to get done. I personally find this very helpful in listing my daily duties and making sure that I fulfill them. I organize my to-do list on my whiteboard by listing my schedule in one section and my activities in another, but any kind of visual that works for you will do. Here's what my to-do list looks like right now:

5. Let Your Professors Know You - The great thing about St. Mike's is that we have such small class sizes, so professors are really able to know their students on a personal level. Participate in class, give them a hello when you see them, and even shoot them an introductory email if you feel so inclined. Your professors want to get to know you as a student and as a person, so make sure they know who you are!

6. Find A Good Study Space - Your first week is a time for you to figure out what works and what doesn't when it comes to your studies, so the best thing you can do is find a study space that works for you. If you find yourself getting easily distracted in your room, take a walk to the library and explore! There are so many different spaces in the library for you to use, so take a look around each floor and try out different seating areas. This may seem silly at first, but it's something that really works if you want to find the spot that works for you. If you find that the desk in your room is the space for you, then use it! Find the space that you feel gives you the best work ethic, and you will be set for the rest of the semester!

7. Take Breaks When You Need Them - If you want to make sure your time at the library is well spent, take a breather every now and then! Go for a walk around campus, get a coffee or a milkshake at the Knightstand, or just take some time to talk to some friends. Your brain is going to need some rest, so make sure you give it the rest it needs. Just don't go overboard. There is a fine line between procrastination and taking a break, so try not to cross it!

8. Check Out the First-Year Friday Videos on Youtube - I can't stress enough how helpful these videos are during your freshman year, especially during your first week! They're only a few minutes each and they are great for helping you discover SMC and Burlington! Here's one of the most recent First-Year Friday Videos:

9. Have Fun! - You are going to learn so many new things and meet so many new people, so make sure you really take time to enjoy and have fun with it! This is your time to experience your first week of college to the fullest, so don't stress, commit to your studies, and enjoy yourself!

I wish you all the best of luck and truly hope that you have a great first week! Stay true to yourself, enjoy your classes, and know that the SMC community is here for you! I hope to see many of you around campus, and welcome to your new home! :)