1. How many credits should I take next semester?
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As we are all counting down the days to return to campus, students are looking forward to meeting new people and reuniting with old friends. And then, there is the freshman.
We have all been there. The eagerness and excitement have been slowly building up through months of summer vacation, all waiting for this moment. I understand the anxiousness, enthusiasm, and insecurities. The opportunity to meet new people and explore a new area is very intriguing. But let's be real, you are here to make memories and get an education. So here are a few pieces of advice from a former college freshman.
1. Don't be that freshman who follows their significant other to college
This is the boy or girl who simply can not think for themselves. The 17-year-old puts their own personal goals and interests aside to sacrifice for a six-month high school relationship. This will more than likely end at an end of semester transfer after the relationship has been tested for a month or two in college life. So if you want to really enjoy your freshman year, make your own decisions and do what is best for you.
2. Don't be that freshman who lets their parents pick their major
"You are not going to school just to waste my money."
This is a statement you might have heard from your parents. As true as it might seem, this is definitely not a good way to start your college years. If you are not majoring in something you can see yourself doing, you are wasting your time. You can major in biology, go to medical school, and make the best grades. But if deep down you don't want to be a doctor, you will NOT end up being a good doctor. When it comes to picking your major, you really have to follow your heart.
3. Don't be that freshman who gets overwhelmed with the first taste of freedom
Yes. It is all very exciting. You don't have a curfew, you don't have rules, you don't have anyone constantly nagging you, but let's not get carried away. Don't be the freshman who gets a tattoo on the first night of living on your own. Don't be the freshman who tries to drink every liquor behind the bar. Don't be the freshman who gets caught up being someone that they aren't. My best advice would be to take things slow.
4. Don't be that freshman who starts school isolated in a relationship
I'm not telling you not to date anyone during your freshman year. I am saying to not cut yourself off from the rest of the world while you date someone. Your first year on campus is such an amazing opportunity to meet people, but people are constantly eager to start dating someone and then only spend time with that person.
Be the freshman who can manage time between friends and relationships.
5. Don't be that freshman who can't handle things on their own
It is your first year on your own. Yes, you still need help from your parents. But at this point, they should not be ordering your textbooks or buying your parking pass. If you need something for a club or for class, YOU should handle it. If you're having roommate problems, YOU should handle it, not your parents. This is the real world and college is a great time for you to start building up to be the person you want to be in the future, but you can't successfully do that if your parents still deal with every minor inconvenience for you.
6. Don't be that freshman who only talks to their high school friends
I know your high school was probably amazing, and you probably had the coolest people go there. However, I believe that college is a great time to be on your own and experience new things. Meeting new people and going to new places will allow you to grow into a more mature person. There is a way to balance meeting new friends and maintaining friendships with childhood friends, and I am sure you will find that balance.
Everyone knows college students are forced to penny pinch. Universities, such as Western Washington University, charge fees to every student whether or not they use the amenities they are being charged for. For example, at Western Washington University, students are charged upwards of $1,681 added to tuition for one academic school year. This includes, health center, multicultural center, legislative fund, and the list goes on.
Whether you take part in any of these things, you're charged.
It is no secret that the cost of tuition is at an all-time high, but there are no signs of it slowing. This is because universities are hiring professors they can't afford, paying professors that will never interact with a student personally but through a TA, and building/renovating buildings that are not necessary. The highest paid professor makes more than $100,000 a year.
To pay that one professor, it would take the full tuition, of more than five students to have enough money for the university to pay them.
That is disgusting.
Western has about an 18:1 student to faculty ratio, that sounds great, to all who do not attend. I consider paying a professor over $100,000, then building a new multicultural center to be living beyond the universities needs. Of course they receive donations, but with all the extra fees the university forces on you, living within your means really equates to ramen, wearing the same clothes every week because buying new ones would be too expensive, and memorizing how much a sweet tea at McDonald's costs after tax ($1.09 in case you were wondering). "My name is Cheyenne and I am addicted to McDonald's sweet tea." OK, moving on.
The university itself does have resources such as the food pantry, and the occasional clothing swap throughout the dorms and campus. But as a college student, as prideful as I am, I would turn down those resources, as I have in the past. That being said, that doesn't mean other students wouldn't also turn down these resources.
The universities need to lower their costs of attendance. That is nothing new, we all know that. But after breaking down how much the university actually spends on professors who only interact with students through their TA's, it wouldn't be terrible to start to demand a change from our universities to not only stay in their budget but to decrease some of the expenses students have to pay.
If that means not building a brand new building, I'm sure we will all live, if it means professors actually teach their classes and give students their money's worth, I am totally down for that.
Many of us pay for college ourselves or through grants, and scholarships. Every $100 that can be saved by the university reducing these expenses will not only make the students happier but will also make achieving graduation and reaching the degree we are paying for easier to receive.