The Keystone Slant: On advice to incoming KU freshmen

By The Keystone Staff

Transitioning from high school to college can be intimidating. There is less structure, more freedom, and it can be easy to become overwhelmed. However, as long as you’re prepared, every student will be able to succeed here at KU.

Studies have shown that the single most important factor in academic success is simply whether or not students go to class. Since many of your classes may not require attendance, it may seem okay to skip class every once in a while, but over time those absences build up and skipping becomes a habit. Ask yourself: Is that extra hour of sleep really worth a failing grade?

If you do end up falling behind, don’t freak out. Talk to your professors for extra help or for deadline extensions. In most cases, they will be more understanding than you think. Falling behind can feel like the end of the world, but with the right attitude it doesn’t have to be. Just remember that it’s not over until that final grade is posted.

That said, it is important to remember that academics aren’t everything. What you learn outside the

classroom can often be more valuable than what you learn inside the classroom. You don’t have to overwhelm yourself and try to join every single club, but you should find an organization or two that you are passionate about. If you obtain a leadership position you’ll learn even more, and it will look great on your resume. Joining clubs and sports teams are also great ways to build relationships with people who share your interests.

There are a wide variety of organizations on campus, and that list is always growing. But if clubs aren’t your thing, you can always pursue your own interests and projects. The great thing about living in a small town is that there is a small and supportive community to encourage your success in whatever it is you’re passionate about. You can start a band, do volunteer work, draw or paint, write poetry and stories or create a research experiment. Whatever you do, there are plenty of knowledgeable professors and people in town who can help you accomplish your goals.

The stereotype of the broke college student is not a myth; if you’re strapped for cash, move off campus and get rid of your meal plan as soon as possible. Take advantage of the dollar store and use your student ID to get grocery stores discounts. You should try to get a part-time job, on or off campus, and always avoid buying textbooks from the KU bookstore. When you do have some extra money, it’s always nice to support the small businesses in town.

Above all, take care of yourself, your university, your peers and your town. Be safe, don’t drink excessively, walk with friends at night, clean up after yourself and treat everyone with kindness. Access to the gym and the mental health services at the health center is included in your tuition and fees; college can be a confusing and stressful time, but you can always manage your stress levels with these services.

Overall, KU is what you make of it. Going to school in a small, somewhat rural, town can be charming and communal or it can be incredibly boring. However, if you get involved, go to class and do what makes you happy, you’ll have a great time and make lots of memories.

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