Advice from a former freshman: How to thrive at Stevens

I started writing for The Stute as a spur of the moment decision. I saw an ad on Facebook, and wrote a short, 600-word essay about how I felt about starting college. It was a “sure, why the heck not” kind of thing. A year later, I like to think that I’ve changed, thanks to that spontaneous choice I made.

Hi, I’m Audrey. I am a sophomore Business and Technology major. Every week for a year, I wrote about my experiences as a freshman at Stevens; how I felt moving in, how I felt when classes were tough, and how I felt when my favorite seniors graduated. I wrote about my major, the dining hall, homesickness, my friends, and the activities I participated in.

You are reading this for advice, so let me give you three tips. First, it is okay if you find Stevens tough. You are at an engineering school. Whether this was your top choice and you ED’d, or this was your safety, classes will be challenging. At Rutgers, your friends might be taking maybe four classes, but at Stevens you’ll be taking six or seven, most of them math or science. The course load gets to everyone.

However, what you can do is find people to help you get by. As important as it is to study and stay career focused, you need to let go and take breaks. When the TAs and professors screw you over, you will want someone to rant to. You need friends to tell you where there is free food, a change in assignment deadline, or what the easiest work study jobs are. Making friends may seem daunting, but everyone can do it.

Go to the club fair and talk to every club representative. Becoming friends with upperclassmen is that easy, because, in general, they want you to join their organization. Go to ‘Meet the Greeks’, join a sports team. Get the numbers of people in your classes! You’ll need it. When you have the same interests and hobbies, it’s easy to find something to talk about. Stevens has so many organizations, from professional societies, to ethnic clubs, or just interest based ones such as stand up comedy. If you are in your room just sitting, you are doing it wrong. Talk to your RA or orientation leader if you are having trouble connecting with others. Utilize your resources! Everyone feels like you. Don’t think that you are weird or alone when feeling nervous, excited, or homesick! Everyone goes through it.

The final tip I have for you is that you have to live your freshman year your own way. Don’t copy me, your cousin, or the movies. Sign up for the things that you think are cool. Play sports, go to your RA’s floor activities, go to parties, and take all the pictures you can! The most important thing you can do as a freshman is be proactive, and actually doing. Take advantage of the opportunities presented to you, and know when to turn them down.

It is unlikely that your freshman year will turn out the way you expect. Coming in, I thought I would be more involved in certain activities, friends with certain people, and doing certain things. Some of my predictions came true, but many did not. I attribute so much of who I have become to luck and timing. Choosing to ditch my orientation group for Rita’s allowed me to meet one of my best friends. Going random (I know you guys didn’t have that luxury) allowed me to meet my roommate, honestly the best fit for me. Be open. Be spontaneous. Go with your gut, but sometimes also the flow. Now might be the only time in your life you get that chance, and your future self will thank you for it.