What I Wish Someone Told Me Freshman Year
1. Haters are gunna hate
Haters are everywhere, at work, in your classes, in your residence halls and walking through campus. Haters come from insecure people who don’t know how to mind their own business. They get mad when someone else excels at what they’re lacking. Instead of working on fixing their situation, they hate.
People who don’t know the answer in class, hate on that one person who sits in the front row and answers every single question. Instead of studying harder or preparing for class, haters sit in the back and snicker. Haters try to diminish accomplishments and belittle their peers. They twist positives into negatives to make themselves feel better. If someone is hating on you, don’t be upset, pat yourself on the back. Having haters means you have done something right, you have succeeded where someone else feels like they’re failing.
2. Get involved
Whether you’re a commuter or resident, there is plenty of opportunity to get involved. Within the residence halls you can join hall council and quad council where you meet with people who live in the same building/quad as you and discuss ways to make life on campus better. Outside of the residence halls, there are clubs, organizations, fraternities and sororities for nearly every interest. You can find a list or clubs and activities on campus here: stonybrook.edu/sblife.
Even if you’re not much of a joiner, there are still plenty of ways to get involved, like getting a job on campus. Working on campus is a unique experience because you’ll have the chance to interact with your peers, professors, faculty members and prospective students. It’s a great way to network and build your resume. Visit the Faculty Student Association office in room 250 of the Student Union to get a job application. Once you fill it out, it’ll be sent to all areas of campus that are operated by FSA.
3. Be who you are—and own it
There used to be a Resident Assistant in my building named Jessika and when she introduced herself, she would say “Hi I’m Jessika with a K!” She was loud and animated and NOONE ever forgot her name. She found what made her unique and used it to brand herself. There was a kid in my class who had 6 toes, I have no idea what his real name was because everyone just called him Six or Six Toes, that’s even how he signed my yearbook. The point is, figure out what makes you special or sets you apart from the crowd and use it to your advantage. Being know for something strange is better than not being known at all, especially in a big school like Stony Brook.
4. Ask and you shall receive
If you want something, ask for it. What’s the worst that could happen? The person says no? So what?
All the most powerful people in the world just ask for or even demand the things they want. If you can’t make your professors office hours, ask to set up a meeting at a different time that works for you. If you feel you deserved a higher grade, fight for yourself (with facts) and ask them to change it. I’ve even had classes where the students admitted they were totally overwhelmed and asked the professor to move the test back and the professor agreed. The truth is, most professors will be more than accommodating and are pretty flexible.
In all areas of your life, being confident, knowing you deserve to be heard and simply asking for the things you want will get you far.
5. RELAX, its not that serious
College is the most impermanent time in our lives. Everything is constantly changing—not only physically with all the construction on campus and the moving in and out of res halls, but also in terms of emotional connections and intangible experiences. People you see every single day one semester may have graduated or be studying abroad the next.
The four years (give or take) you spend here go by in the blink of an eye. There just isn’t enough time to stress or worry or get upset about things. One bad test grade or even one bad semester won’t make or break you. With a few exceptions you can always retake a class or boost your grade with extra credit. College isn’t like high school where you know everyone, your mistakes don’t follow or define you. If you mess up, admit to it, move on and be sure you don’t fall down the same path in the future.
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