By Ashley Fries

Kutztown University Photo courtesy of Alex Snyder
Kutztown University
Photo courtesy of Alex Snyder

First and foremost welcome back all returning students! I hope you all had a wonderful summer and are ready for the upcoming academic year.

   However, through all of the chaos of moving in, getting all required materials and of course the excitement of college, we have new students in our midst.

   Whether you are a freshman or a transfer student I am sure you have worries about how you are going adjust to college life at Kutztown University.

   Beginning college is a scary and exciting time. There is so much to worry about, be excited about and experience. But at the base of it all, you are here to learn.

   The secret behind experiencing all college has to offer and still thriving academically is balance.

   The most important piece of advice I have to offer is go to class! I know the new found freedom of college is exciting, a temptation to let loose and do everything you could never do before. Do not get carried away with this. This is the worst thing you could do.

   Trust me when I sat the honeymoon period of college will wear off and you will be left with regrets from ‘going wild,’ for lack of a better term.

   Go to class everyday and do all of your homework right from the beginning. The first semester is where many students fall behind, and once you fall behind in college, it is extremely hard to catch back up.

   You could easily find yourself in your senior year trying to fix mistakes from your first semester. It is all about balance.

   You can still go out and experience all college has to offer. Just be smart about it and remember academics come first. You are here to learn and are paying thousands of dollars to do so. Do this and you will not fall behind.

   Second, eat right. I know the temptations of the unhealthy food surrounding you will be hard to ignore. You do not have to all the time, but again, be smart about it.

   Ever heard of the dreadful Freshman 15? It is not a ghost story. It is reality, and it could be you. It is hard to eat well on campus, but it can be done and you will thank yourself for it after a few months when all of your friends have gained the aforementioned 15 pounds and you still weigh the same.

   There is a wonderful salad bar in the Academic Forum that is a smart, healthy option. There are also healthy sandwich places at both South and the SUB.

   Third, get an umbrella and/or rain boots. It rains all the time in Kutztown. Not to mention the fact that campus tends to flood fairly easy. Trust me, you do not want to get caught in the infamous KU tsunamis!

   Sitting through class soaked to the bone is not a college experience you need. If you do not take this advice, you will remember when you are soaking wet.

   Make as many friends as possible. Just sit down and start talking there is no time to be shy! The more friends you have, the better your experience here will be.

   You will build a support system of people to make you laugh when you are down, help manage your stress, give advice on that project you are struggling with and just make memories with.

Main Street Photo courtesy of Alex Snyder
Main Street
Photo courtesy of Alex Snyder

   The friendships you make here could be lifelong. Just go out and say hi; you never know who you will meet or how they will help you.

   Fifth, utilize all of KU’s academic resources. Go to the Library, get help from the librarian and go to the Writing Center. However, the most important is to meet with your professors. They are your best tool for success and they are here to help you. They all have office hours and email addresses. Communicate with them! Ask questions, have them read your paper before it is due, get advice and just connect with them.

   We have amazing professors here that can help you succeed as well as become your friends and mentors. They are here for your benefit; use them!

   Sixth, utilize all that KU has to offer socially. Get involved early. Join as many clubs as you want.

   Whatever it is you like to do, do it! There is no way you are the only person on campus who has a particular hobby. If sports are your thing, do them. Go to the gym, use the pool, use the Rec-Center and go to MSU movie night.

   Look for anything that is going on and give it a try! The more you get involved with campus life early on, the more you are going to feel at home here at KU.

   You will make friends, you will find out what you like, what you do not like, and, overall there’s really no harm to it!

   But remember rule number one! Make sure you do your homework and go to class too.    

   Finally, just go out and have fun. Experience everything you can. You are only in college so long, and trust me, it will fly by. You do not want to be graduating and wish you would have done something.

   Now is the time to live, to experience everything you can.

   If you have never had sushi, go to TK Sushi House, never played billiards? Go try it. Someone will help you learn.

   At the end of the day, college is an experience meant to be experienced. Just be smart about it, and be safe.

   If you have questions about anything, find a fellow student or a professor; most here are very friendly and would be more than willing to help you out.

   One last word of encouragement: If you feel overwhelmed, lost and nervous, it is okay. That is how everyone feels at first. You will be feeling comfortable and right at home in no time.

   With that, I wish you the best of luck beginning your time at Kutztown University. I hope you can soon call it home and you fall in love with it as much as I have.

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