Keenan Thungtrakul/Senior Reporter
I remember coming into Embry-Riddle as a freshman and being naive, scared, and shy. I asked myself after the parents said goodbye, “how will I be able to fit in?” I turned to my roommate and asked him the same question. “We’ll find a way,” he said. After the first three weeks or so of class, I started to sense where I might be able to get a sense of belonging here in this school for nerds. Coming in with a large amount of credits, I found myself taking classes that mostly sophomores would take.
While I had my share of the required engineering freshman classes (EGR 101, UNIV 101, etc.), I found myself alone a lot. The other freshmen in my class sections kept to their predefined groups, making it harder for me to assimilate into the Embry-Riddle community. It took a whole semester for me to forge the bonds I have now with the friends in my closeknit support group. As a fellow student who has gone through the scares and the joys of freshman year, I know the emotions and questions that you may have. My top three tips for any freshman student can be summed up in the following statements:
Strike a balance between work and play.
The above statement was originally given to me by my youth pastor. As a freshman, I’ve wanted to get involved in any way, shape, or form, just to test the waters. This desire backfired since I found my schoolwork to be too much of a burden. Remember that the goal of college is to get an education while having fun. Striking a balance between work and play will significantly reduce your overall stress when it comes to academics.
Form support groups and find your niche.
For me, I relied on religious groups on campus as well as friends back home for support. Those that practice a religion can find support from others that share your beliefs. You will find that the people in these groups do care for you and will give you support when you need it. Even if you aren’t religious, there are still clubs that will welcome you.
Attend the Fall Activities Fair, where you will find the clubs that are right for you. At first, I didn’t know what clubs would fit me, but after exploring around the Activities Fair, I was able to find my niche on campus. Without that niche, I doubt I would have been able to have the friends I have now who are with me every step of the way.
Do not over-stress about being a perfectionist.
Yes, I know we pay big money to come here. However, that does not mean every hour outside of class is spent either in the books or sleeping to catch up on lost Zs. Academics are important, but they should not dominate your college life. Again, there has to be a balance. Sure you can study all the time and get that 4.0, but you’ll find yourself isolated. Take it from me: I got involved with three clubs my first semester and was still able to get a 4.0. If I can do it, that means you can too! I didn’t have to study all the time, and I made sure to have fun and enjoy myself now and then too!