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Seniors Give Advice To Incoming Freshmen

The Class of 2023 only has a few days left as Penn State students. Soon enough, the senior class will be swapped out for a wide-eyed, excited, and probably nervous class of freshmen.

Both groups are heading into a brand new chapter of life. Luckily, Onward State’s seniors have some words of wisdom to help ease the nerves of the incoming freshmen. Hopefully, our advice will help the Class of 2027 get off to a great start in Happy Valley.

Larkin Richards

You already know the deal with the cheesy advice. But what I want to share has to do with believing in yourself. College can be full of comparisons and debilitating imposter syndrome. You’ll fall guilty to it, which is normal, but overcoming it matters the most.

The success that you foster is up to you. There’s no one here telling you to join clubs or go to class. This is fully in your hands, so don’t waste a moment. You can relax and take it one day at a time, but work hard. These four years are here to teach you, prepare you, and welcome you to the best version of yourself. Understand that Penn State is the best place in the world to grow. Don’t peak here, but love yourself here. That’s what I did, and I wouldn’t change a single moment.

Grace Cunningham

The first month (or longer) of freshman year will probably be hard for you, but it’s hard for everyone. It’s a huge adjustment, so give yourself some grace. It’s important to put yourself out there, say yes, and try new things freshman year. That can also get pretty exhausting, so if you feel like you need a night to sit in your dorm room by yourself and watch a movie, you’re probably right.

If you’re having a hard time adjusting to college life or just missing home, talk to the people around you about it because they’re probably feeling the exact same way. I can’t tell you how much better I felt after telling my now-roommate and fellow staffer Ava Brendgord that I missed home freshman year. “Me too,” she said. And my life has gotten exponentially better since then.

Ava Brendgord

The best advice I can give to someone starting their journey at Penn State is to talk to everyone. Talk to the people who sit next to you in class. Knock on your next-door neighbor’s door and introduce yourself. Strike up a conversation with the person in front of you in line at Starbucks. Don’t be afraid to talk to anyone and everyone freshman year.

Adam Babetski

I already gave out some “sage” advice in my senior column, and, in blog terms, I’m technically dead. OK, fine, I’ll come back as a zombie for a minute.

My advice for freshmen is not to overdo it. No one has any idea what they’re doing when they first set foot in State College. Everything will feel new and exciting when you arrive, but you’ll quickly realize that you’re overwhelmed. After all, your high school didn’t have 45,000 students, did it? You’ll feel the need to fit in with a group, any group, and to have it all figured out before anyone else does. It never hurts to be ahead of the curve, but don’t let the weight of expectations start to crush you. 

Your first year here is all about getting situated and learning what works and what doesn’t. You’ll make mistakes that you’ll almost certainly recover from and be better for it. There’s a good chance that the friends you make your freshman year won’t be the friends you’re with when you’re a senior, and that’s fine. There’s so much to do and see on this campus that, as long as you keep looking, you’ll find what you’re really here for.

Colleen Nersten

Apply for the random scholarships you’ll get emails about. Even if you don’t think you’re qualified, you’re probably one of the only people applying, so you’ll get it. Trust me.

Explore downtown and the surrounding area whenever you get the chance. There’s a lot more to Penn State than the little bubble of campus. To start, Bellefonte rocks and so does Rothrock State Forest.

Gabe Angieri

My advice is to focus on you. It doesn’t matter what Joe down the hall is doing on a Friday night. Do what YOU want to do. As cliche as it sounds, you only go to college once. Spend your time here the way you want.

Also, believe in yourself. Penn State offers so many opportunities, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t make the most of it. It doesn’t matter if your mom and dad believe you can do all these great things. You need to believe that you can do it.

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