Manchester University
Oak Leaves

October 20, 2017


Although college can be hard in the beginning, it is important for first-years to stay on track by following their own personal survival guide.

Photo courtesy of MU Marketing Department 



Sophomore Gives Advice to First-Years in School Survival Guide 

Evan Harris 

Transitioning from high school to college can be smooth for a good portion of first-years, rough for some, or downright traumatic for others: getting up early for 8 or 9 a.m. classes; sitting through one, two, or even five lectures a day; worriedly listening to professors explain upcoming exams; taking diligent notes; making presentations; and worst of all . . . writing three-to-five-page essays over philosophical thoughts or over a lengthy Shakespeare comedy that is due first thing in the morning.  

You’re probably shaking in your $200 Nikes just reading the previous sentences. 

To everyone who is excited to come to college and believes it is easy, it never too late to rethink those thoughts. For the brave souls who want to survive at Manchester without graying prematurely or ripping out hair, professors and upperclassmen are here to hand you a floatie, so you don’t drown in a sea of stress. 

Pay close attention to these tips, and don’t dare say you were never warned.

1. Staying up until 2 or 3 in the morning or chugging energy drinks to pull all-nighters the night before a test or major assignment to finish it is just completely unreasonable. “I always tell my students they cannot afford to wait until the last minute to do assignments or study,” says Eva Sagan, instructor of mathematics.
Procrastination gets you nowhere, and pulling all-nighters is not the solution. That just makes things worse if you crash and happen to miss that deadline. A solution: at least do the assignment a little bit at a time about a few days before the deadline, and avoid looking like something out of “The Walking Dead” in the morning.

2. If you are currently struggling with a class, and don’t think you need help, swallow that teaspoon of pride you have like cough syrup, and drag yourself to study tables, seek help from your professor or get a tutor. This is a major problem among first-years whose grades are hanging on by a thread. 

“Always check out study tables before you give up on a class,” said sophomore Kelleen Cullison.“They have them for a reason, and tutors have to be there, so you might as well utilize it.”

3. Stay out of trouble and choose your friends wisely! This point cannot be stressed enough. There are too many people every year that find themselves at the hands of friends who will use others for their personal convenience. Don’t be a fool; you have an intuition for a reason: use it! Some people bring the immature, drama-starting high school mentality along for the ride . . . beware of those people, you’ll thank yourself later.

4. GO TO CLASS! This is in all caps for a reason! There are too many people who either simply choose not to show up, or think the class is too difficult or mentally draining and vanish into thin air. Those skipping class constantly are also the same ones complaining that they’re failing classes and are forced to drop out. 

“Please keep the skip days to a minimum,” said sophomore Cheyenne Heath. “But also allow yourself to take mental health days and take good care of yourself, and don’t fall behind.” 

As Heath said, taking mental health days is a great way to gather your thoughts and relax your mind. If a class is too difficult, talk with your advisor about your options, and if you decide to just simply skip class for no legitimate reason, you should not have signed up for the class in the first place.  

5. Make some friends, but, referring to the third point, beware of the company you keep. Friends are necessary, especially if you’re over three hours from home. Being anti-social and shut away in your dorm room will solve nothing, and will make your experience miserable.  

Now is the time to take your first year slow, because you’ll be in another cap and gown before you know it. Enjoy the time you have now as first years, but use this advice as a guide, and you won’t end up like the many who wish they had a warning.