OPINION: Freshman tips from DSU junior

Graphic by Jade Cash.

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Freshman year can be the best and worst time for a college student. Everything’s new and exciting, but it’s also different and overwhelming. Unless you have a plan.

“Having goals in college can be a great way to stay focused, motivate yourself, and keep your priorities in order when things get stressful and overwhelming,” said Kelci Lynn Lucier in an article on ThoughtCo.

Four points to consider when setting your goals are classes, books, food and making connections.


One of the first things you should plan is your class schedule. For starters, don’t take more than 15 credits per semester unless there’s a reason to speed up your education or you’re confident in your overachieving abilities. Unless you have no life outside school, anything over 15 credits is just fuel for stress and lack of sleep.

Another important part of planning your classes is deciding which ones to take during which semester. As a freshman, most of your classes are going to be at the basic 1010 level, but you still have to decide which ones will be better suited to you. You can decide based on what subjects you’d be better equipped to study as far as your interests and past high school experience are concerned, or by getting a recommendation from your adviser.

Also, make at least one appointment with your adviser per semester. You’d be surprised at all the resources they can give you for writing, studying, picking classes and beyond, and meeting with them can give you early bird access to registration each semester. If you need a reminder about how to get in contact with your adviser, go to https://advisement.dixie.edu/advisors/.


Once your classes are sorted out, books are usually next on the list of things to worry about. You could wait until you get the syllabus in each class before you go to the campus store and look for each set of books, or you could go to campusstore.dixie.edu and search for your books ahead of time by class and professor. Looking ahead of time gives you the advantage of planning your book budget and beating the line by getting all your books on the same day.

Other ways to beat the line include going between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. — when everyone’s either sleeping in or in class — and avoiding going during lunch. Noon is the worst time to go to the campus store during the first couple of weeks because everyone has the same idea as you about going during their lunch break.

When buying books, you also need to remember to choose between renting or buying. If you’re strapped for cash, the cheaper option is to rent, but if you have enough money at the beginning of the semester and want a little extra cash later, buy your books and sell them back during buyback week at the end of the semester.

If you’re looking for other options, you can check to see if the campus library has what you’re looking for, shop on places like Amazon, or check local online yard sale groups for the books you need.


Food is key to survival in college — and life, obviously. Plan a budget to meet your food needs or buy a meal plan; a meal plan is already required if you’re living at Nisson Towers or Shiloh Hall.

If you’re in need of free food, you can also go to campus events such as Pizza and Politics. If you go to events just for the food, it is a good idea to stay for at least 20 minutes so you can support the event and avoid the walk of shame when you leave.

Making connections

According to an article on honorsociety.org: “Socializing with your peers is a key part in making the most out of your college experience. College is not just about growing academically; it is also about learning who you are as an individual.”

My closest friends have been the ones I’ve made by joining clubs and organizations on campus, and there are plenty to choose from. You can find said clubs and organizations either on https://blazerlink.dixie.edu/organizations or on the diagonal during club rush.

Socializing on campus is also a great way to network. One of my professors helped me workshop my first published short story and nudged me in the direction of the Dixie Sun News, which is how I gained my current position as the copy editor. Don’t be afraid to socialize with professors, especially since some of them are likely professionals in the areas you want to go into.

Plus, a good set of friends can help you set and reach your goals where classes, books, food and making more connections are concerned. They can introduce you to new people, give class suggestions and book recommendations, and tell you their favorite places to eat.