What I Wish I Knew When I Was A Freshman at UNH

What I Wish I Knew When I Was A Freshman at UNH

As a senior, the inevitable reflection begins. There are a lot of things I didn’t know during my freshman year. Some are silly, others more serious. Let me just say that I have LOVED my time at UNH. I do not have regrets. I just wish I had figured some things out sooner rather than later in my college career.

For starters:

  • Dining Dollars: You’ve got to use them up before the last week of classes because all that’s left to buy at that point is gum and Powerade.
  • Philly is open for “late night.” I didn’t know that for a while.
  • Unsure about nutrition in college? Talk with a Nutrition Educator/Counselor at Health Services.
  • Any English majors out there — you can easily double major in women’s studies if that interests you. This realization came too late for me, but I did get my minor.
  • Take advantage of T-Hall Lawn. I wish I had sat out there more often than I did.

What I Wish I Knew When I Was A Freshman at UNH

With regard to studying habits, here are some dos and don’ts:

  • Definitely do not take energy drinks. They really mess with you.
  • Avoid all-nighters. Your brain needs sleep so that it can remember information.
  • DO take advantage of coffee, if you like it. I thank coffee for many nights of successful paper writing.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your professor is a good place to start. And if you need help with your writing, visit the UNH Connors Writing Center.
  • If you’re like me and do not understand the sciences very well, review your notes within 24 hours of taking them. This will help you avoid panicking before midterms and finals.

What I Wish I Knew When I Was A Freshman at UNH

Sports:

  • You do not need to be on a sports team to remain active and fit during your four years. Take advantage of group fitness classes at Campus Recreation. I learned about the spin class my junior year. It’s a terrific workout and fun to do with other people.
  • I joined the UNH Rowing Team my freshman year and stopped after returning from my fall semester abroad during junior year. I realized I wanted to do more with the remaining year and a half, and rowing just wasn’t for me anymore. While I stopped working out at 5:30 a.m. every day with a team, I did not stop exercising. It’s important to remember you can maintain a healthy and active lifestyle even if you aren’t on a team.

Go abroad if you can:

  • I was fortunate enough to attend the Cambridge Summer Program and London Fall Program. Spending about six months in the U.K. absolutely enriched my understanding of travel and different cultures. While abroad I learned that I am a very capable traveler, enjoy independence and am very curious about and interested in other cultures.
  • If you already know you are interested in studying abroad, be proactive! Tell your advisor during your freshman year that your hope is to go abroad. This way, you can plan accordingly with courses and discovery requirements.
  • You have many options. There are UNH-managed study abroad programs and UNH-approved study abroad programs. Basically, there are few limitations on where you can travel.
What I Wish I Knew When I Was A Freshman at UNH

On Westminster Bridge in London with the Houses of Parliament behind me.

Get involved early on:

  • I know you’ve probably been hearing this, but I must repeat it: These four years FLY BY. Trust me. As a graduating senior, I don’t know where the time went. Therefore, get involved early in your college career.
  • I suggest taking freshman year to acquaint yourself with your university. Attend a lot of student org meetings and volunteer groups, and get to know your likes and dislikes. By sophomore year, join students orgs and groups that you plan on sticking with until you graduate. This demonstrates commitment and consistent interest. For example, I joined Sandpaper, UNH’s undergraduate creative nonfiction publication, my sophomore year. I am now the managing editor of the publication. I learned a lot, and this experience, along with many others, solidified my goal of working in the editing/publishing industry.

It’s also OK if you start something your senior year…

  • I interviewed for the wellness blogger position at UNH Health Services at the end of my junior year. For my entire senior year I got to write biweekly blogs relating to student wellness. This was considered an internship, and I even received academic credit for my spring semester, counting it as an English major internship. During this year I picked up blogging as a new skill set, formed great connections and learned how to operate WordPress, a valuable tool. My point here is that it is okay if you wait a little bit to partake in internships or on-campus jobs. There are many to choose from. Find what your interests are, apply and see what happens!
What I Wish I Knew When I Was A Freshman at UNH

A photo I took on Main Street of a UNH sunset. Classic.

Other thoughts:

  • Go out on random weekends! And weeknights! You won’t have this option once you graduate, so find a group you are comfortable with and have fun.
  • You don’t have to drink to have fun. UNH has a lot of events and you can find them all on WildcatLink.
  • Always, always, always use student discounts.
  • Make that connection with your professor. Go to office hours.
  • Keep your phone charger on you.
  • Keep a First Aid kit in your dorm room. You never know.
  • Don’t go to class if you are sick. Instead, rest and call Health Services.
  • Feeling stressed? That’s OK. Talk to a Wellness Educator/Counselor at Health Services.
  • Read Student Health 101, UNH’s health and wellness magazine.
  • Try not to skip 8 a.m. classes.
  • Make your dorm room yours; decorate and express yourself!
  • Do not underestimate your workload.
  • Get out of your comfort zone.

What I Wish I Knew When I Was A Freshman at UNH

I can happily say that I’ve learned a lot, grown a lot and am very ready for the next step in life because UNH prepared me well. Take advantage of this beautiful campus and all it has to offer you. You won’t regret it.