Whether you are deciding where to take your talents next year or just perusing the college websites to learn more, understanding the freshman experience is a must. Freshman year is a time of learning, adjustment, and excitement, but knowing how to maximize these aspects will put you well ahead of the game.
As a junior looking back upon my transition into college and my year as a freshman, I have found a number of things I would do differently and other things I would highlight and recommend. Over some time, I have compiled a list of how to achieve that Freshman 15 without gaining those notorious 15 lbs.
1) Do not be afraid to venture outside of your comfort zone: Many times as a freshman I found myself joining organizations without knowing anyone prior. While it was initially scary, I began to realize if you have an interest or passion in something, the organization will likely be very welcoming!
2) Meet the people in your dorm and surrounding dorms: As a freshman, everyone is in the same boat. You come from all backgrounds and have unique experiences. Share them! The friends you meet freshman year will carry on throughout the course of your time at USC and perhaps your life!
3) Attend the USC Football Games and Tailgates: Football season is an integral part of USC. It brings the entire student body together for a common cause and the campus is transformed into a huge BBQ! It is a great time to meet new people, and catch up with friends. It is an amazing experience. One that you must just experience for yourself.
4) Network with Alumni via Career Center: Reach out to alumni to ask them about their experiences and how USC has helped them in their career. You will gain valuable insight and perhaps a future job!
5) Attend the Career Fair: Even as a freshman, most industry recruiters return to USC each year. Establishing a repertoire with them and a solid first impression will show that you are motivated and serious about their company. You never know, perhaps they will offer you an internship!
6) Join student organizations: I cannot stress enough. Involvement will enrich your academic career and allow you to figure out what you like as a person and academically. These are also great resources to turn to if you have trouble with your courses or just looking for recommendations or advice.
7) Swipe Upperclassmen into Dining Halls: We upperclassmen remember what it was like to be a freshman, but no longer have a university meal plan. We all appreciate a dining hall meal once in awhile and it is a great way to connect with people.
8) Visit a Professor in Office Hours: Many professors want students to be active inside and outside of their class. A professor that knows you take your education seriously will often appreciate your efforts. They all perform research and are happy to talk about their work. If it is something you are interested in, perhaps ask to join their team!
9) Participate in Intramural Sports: I played basketball in high school and wanted to continue in college. I have played intramural sports and have won a championship. Not only are the shirts awesome, but intramural sports allow you to try different things like indoor, outdoor soccer, and flag football!
10) Apply for Internships: Outside of the Career Fair, generate a resume and have it reviewed before applying to internships or jobs. Many companies do not advertise freshman internships, but will not likely turn down a strong candidate regardless of your age.
11) Take advantage of USC hosted events: USC hosts events throughout the year whether they are concerts, festivals, or campus-wide activities. These are great ways to relieve stress and get to know other students!
12) Attend other USC sports events: Even though football steals the spotlight at USC, there are other sports programs that are also very exciting to watch and show your USC pride! Plus they are free and offer free giveaways to students!
13) Do not be afraid to get help in classes: Courses at USC are unlike high school and will require more time and effort. However, if you find you are struggling, there are plenty of tutoring services hosted by upperclassmen on almost every subject. These are one on one and will definitely help you get that A in the class.
14) Participate in class: Asking questions and providing input in class will help the professor recognize you as an active student. You should not leave a lecture without getting your questions answered or harboring any confusion.
15) Use a calendar or planner: One of the biggest things I had to adjust to was time management. With so many opportunities around you it is easy to over commit your time. Using a calendar to write down your schedule will help you plan out each day and determine exactly when you are free and upcoming deadlines.
Hope this list helps keep you busy and can guide you through your freshman year! If you have any questions please ask!