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What Did Seniors Wish They Knew As Freshmen?

Approximately 8,000 wide-eyed freshmen will officially start their four-year journeys at Penn State today.

Whether it’s the world-class academic programs or the 107,000-seat Beaver Stadium, Penn State has plenty of things that you just can’t find at other big universities. There’s so much to do, learn, and experience throughout your four years as a Nittany Lion, so the official beginning of your college career can be as intimidating as it is exciting.

With that in mind, our senior staffers decided to share some words of advice for the incoming freshman class.

Anthony Colucci

Everything will shake out, so stop worrying so much.

The more you worry about your classes, the worse you’ll do and the worse you’ll feel. The more you worry about not having enough friends, the less comfortable you’ll be trying to make them. The more you worry about finding the right org to set you on the right path for your career, the more you’ll question your own passions. There’s no use in stressing over what you’re “supposed” to be doing because usually, you’ll just end up distracting yourself and making what’s already a difficult journey seem even harder.

I came into college high-strung about the grades I thought I needed to get and persistently focused on the things I thought I needed to do in order to be successful here and in life. Thankfully, along the way, I’ve met a handful of incredible people who have helped me realize there’s much more to this experience than using it as a stepping stone to life as an adult. They’ve made it unforgettable, and I hope you find your own version of that.

So let go, and allow yourself to stumble across the people and things you wouldn’t think you’d vibe with, and see where they take you. It sure beats the worrying.

Also, no matter how much you know about wrestling, nothing beats attending a dual at Rec Hall.

Mikey Mandarino

I can’t pick between the three bits of advice I’ve thought of, so I’m just going to share them all: These next four years won’t be perfect, be true to yourself, and just say yes.

First of all, I’m sure all of you have been told that college is the best four years of your life. While that’s true, it won’t be perfect and there will definitely be some hard times along the way. You may not get the grade you were shooting for on that tough exam, and you might get rejected when asking the girl or guy you like out on a date. Take the good with the bad, and learn how to handle and grow from the hard times.

Secondly, be true to yourself — and I mean that in the truest sense of the term. When I was in high school, I was pretty much scared to look at my own shadow. Other people’s perceptions of me shaped my entire identity and personality, and I had next to no self-confidence because of it.

Some criticisms you’ll receive are valid, but I’ve gotten so much better at blocking out people who judge me for certain aspects of my personality. In college, your closest friends will embrace every single one of your quirks and interests and love you no matter what.

Lastly, don’t wait for good things to fall into your lap and sit around your dorm/apartment on a Friday or Saturday night. My good friend Ryan Haines based his senior column on this idea, and it really spoke to me. Your most fond memories of college won’t be the nights you stay up ’til 3 a.m. watching “The Office.” The experiences you share with others will truly be the best times of your life, so enjoy them whenever you can.

Attend every Penn State sporting event you can — especially the home football games. Join that club or organization you really liked at the involvement fair. Hike Mount Nittany. Go to that party or tailgate you were invited to. You should obviously find a nice work-life balance here, but for the love of God, just say yes.

Frank Scaramuzzo

Be sure to make time to talk to your professors. My experience speaking with them after class or at office hours is invaluable. Professors are here to help. They’re human beings just like you and me, and getting to know them is something I wish I started to do sooner!

Emma Dieter

I wish I knew more about the importance of crafting your college career toward your life goals. I know that might seem kind of vague, but that’s just because your future (as of right now) is kind of vague, too. As a freshman, you might have an idea of what you want to do, but you’re often not completely certain. And that’s okay.

It’s not always about what you want to do, but about who you want to be. So when I say craft your Penn State experience toward your life goals, I don’t necessarily mean to pick clubs that are in line with your major (although that can be part of it). Get involved with the things and find the people who you feel line up with what you want to get out of life.

This might seem like a hippy-dippy type answer, but it’s something I wish I had been told as a freshman. Do the things you want to do — don’t wait around for things to fall in your lap or for friends to agree to try out a club that you want to try out. Go out and make these four years the best four of your life.

Jim Davidson

I wish I’d known that there’s no rush. Things — your interests, your friends, a feeling of comfort — fall into place here. Soon you’ll stop searching and start enjoying.

Also, chicken parm night is the best in the dining commons. Don’t miss it, because you’ll miss it. Also, don’t ask Anthony Colucci about this, because he knows nothing.

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Posts from the all-student staff of Onward State.

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