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Things to do before the end of your freshman year

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The Spectrum

As my freshman year of college comes to a close, I've compiled some things I wish I hadn't waited until months into my second semester to do, in the hopes that you can learn from my mistakes.

Do things by yourself

Sometimes, your friends aren't going to want to go to the same club meeting as you or won't be with you when you pass a career fair in the Union. You will need to brave your professor's office hours without a buddy. The people you generally hang out with won't be interested in everything you are, and that's perfectly fine.

But it's not OK to miss out on opportunities that could be life changing or career-launching simply because you don't want to do something on your own.

Learn how to use the library

Make sure you go to the library and figure out how to print and how to find and check out books. Bring a friend if you're nervous. You'll feel much more secure when you get that 20-page take-home exam if you know how to use the resources UB has available to you.

You won't know how the library ticks until you go there. I didn't even know which floors of Lockwood were silent until there was a month left in my freshman year - and I wish I had explored sooner.

Actually go to the library to study and do work

There are many libraries on campus that are good places to study, each with a different atmosphere, so there's bound to be a fit for you.

I waited until the last two months of my second semester to start going to the library to do work. Turns out, you get way more done when you're not trying to focus amidst the loud bass, raucous laughter and six people asking you questions about your day - all things that come along with attempting to accomplish work in your dorm.

Connect with a professor

It's beneficial to form a close professional relationship with a professor early on - preferably one who specializes in your major or a topic in which you're interested. When you suddenly need a letter of recommendation in your second semester for a scholarship application or summer internship and have no one to ask, you will wish you went to your professor's office hours or took the time to ask him why he is passionate about what he teaches.

Figure out how to navigate the tunnels

There are multiple ways to get to where you need to go at UB. Explore the tunnels in the fall semester so you don't have to travel outside in the freezing sleet and snow because you don't know any other way to get to your classes.

I honestly didn't know you could get from Talbert to O'Brian without walking outside until about three months into my second semester. Sometimes it is faster to go outside (like when you have to run from Alumni to Cooke in 10 minutes), but knowing your inside options is good, too.

Exercise

It can be very easy to gain weight in college. You spend most of your time running around like a crazy person and, unless you set aside time to work out, you might not get to it.

Be committed to staying healthy. Workouts can help you relieve stress, too. Also watch what you eat. When you're busy, your highest priority might not be counting calories. If you take care of yourself, you will spend less time sick.

Lose the fear

Go and do something.

Don't sit in your dorm room every weekend with a bag of microwave popcorn and Netflix as your peers meet new people. Make connections and put your name out there for future opportunities. The most important thing I've realized in my past year at UB is how fast the time goes. Don't be scared that others will judge you - take the risk anyway.

email: alyssa.mcclure@ubspectrum.com


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